Marilyn Monroe's Death: Conspiracy Theories And What Allegedly Really Happened

By | August 3, 2020

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(Getty Images)

By the time of Marilyn Monroe's death in 1962, she was one of the most sought-after and successful actresses of the era, but success didn't equal happiness for Monroe. For most of her life, she was dismissed as a brainless beauty despite her considerable talents, and her final years were fraught with bad relationships, drugs, and depression. Monroe's cause of death was initially deemed a "probable suicide," but a lack of evidence has fueled conspiracy theories for decades, implicating everything from UFOs to the Kennedy family in her death. We'll likely never know the truth about her untimely demise. We can only think of what could have been.

Death Of A Superstar

In Monroe's final years, her severe depression and insomnia left her dependent on amphetamines to get out of bed in the morning and alcohol and barbiturates to get back into it. This literal cocktail of illness and self-medication threw a wrench into her once-sterling career, and she was soon fired and sued for $750,000 by 20th Century Fox after a chronic respiratory infection delayed production of 1962's Something's Got To Give. She was eventually rehired at the behest of co-star Dean Martin, with production set to resume in October, but tragically, it was not to be.

On August 4, 1962, Monroe spent the day puttering around her Brentwood estate, where she had a therapy session and a meeting with a photographer to discuss a spread in Playboy. Around 3:30 the next morning, Monroe's housekeeper, Eunice Murray, found her lying facedown in her bed and unresponsive. By 3:50 A.M., she was confirmed dead of a barbiturate overdose.

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(Dell Publications, Inc./Wikimedia Commons)

The Case For Murder

Because of the way the Hollywood system worked in the early 1960s, stars were protected at all costs from any kind of story that would make them look bad in the press—even if they were dead. In many cases, studio "fixers" showed up to the scene of a crime before the police to make sure everything was shipshape.

There's no conclusive evidence that anyone from 20th Century Fox was at Monroe's home on the morning of August 5, 1962, but Monroe's housekeeper was seen washing the star's sheets as the police arrived. It wasn't the only fishy part of the official story: During Monroe's autopsy, no capsules were found in her stomach, calling into the question the theory of barbiturate overdose, and her body bore bruises consistent with a physical altercation. To make matters more distressing, the deputy coroner at the time insisted that he signed the star's death certificate "under duress."