Conspiracy Theory: The Death of Marilyn Monroe

Despite being in the height of her popularity in the 1950’s,   Marilyn Monroe is still one of Hollywood’s most recognisable stars to date – many would even say iconic. Yet her success as a model and actress is somewhat over shined by the untimeliness of her death in 1962, when Marilyn was just 36 years old. Before we get into the conspiracy theories, we will first take a quick overview of her timeline.

Marilyn was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson (Later Norma Jeane Baker) in 1926. Her father was never present, and she was raised by her mother , who struggled with mental illness, depression, and substance abuse. Marilyn’s childhood became more turbulent as she was finally placed into foster care and her mother in an institution, passed from family to family, and eventually in an orphanage. By age 16, Marilyn married her first husband, Jim Dougherty, who later enlisted in the Merchant Marine, leaving Marilyn alone for the next 2 years. In this time, Marilyn became employed in a munitions factory as part of the war effort, where she was first ‘discovered’ and began her career as a pin-up model. Her fame sky rocketed, and she was bombarded with the pressure and stresses of life in the public eye, and she was often quoted as saying how much she disliked the intrusions of the paparazzi. Marilyn, considered a natural beauty, suddenly felt the pressures of Hollywood, and completely overhauled her appearance – bleaching her hair platinum blonde, wearing heavy, dramatic makeup, and even getting nose and chin surgery. At this time Marilyn also faced her own battle with depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Not long after becoming famous, she divorced Jim Dougherty, and was known for her not so secret ‘alleged’ affairs with then President John F. Kennedy, and his brother Robert Kennedy. She went on to marry twice more, to Joe DiMaggio in 1954, divorcing 1955, and playwright Arthur Miller in 1956-1961, and these marriages will come into significance later on in the post.

Now that we have background, lets look at the circumstances, the night of Marilyn’s death. At around 7pm, Joe DiMaggio rang Marilyn to tell her the relationship between them was over (although they had been divorced, they still had a sexual relationship in the years that followed). According to DiMaggio, Marilyn seemed in high spirits, and not too upset by his call, so perhaps she was ready to call off the relationship as well, or perhaps DiMaggio had lied and Marilyn WAS upset, but he did not want to incriminate himself as the catalyst for her death. Following DiMaggio’s call, a friend of the Kennedy brother’s rang Marilyn and invited her to a party, which she refused. He reported that Marilyn did not seem herself and her speech was slurred. Concerned for her wellbeing, the friend contacted Marilyn’s housekeeper Eunice Murray, who was staying at the residence overnight. Eunice claims that at around 10pm she went to Marilyn’s room, saw that the light was on under the door, and although she could not hear anything, assumed that everything was fine. Later at 12am, she noticed the light was still on, knocking at the door several times before realising it was locked. Rather than ring an ambulance, Eunice contacted Marilyn’s psychiatrist Dr. Greenson who arrived at the home shortly after, and attempted to break down the door. When he was unable to enter the room from inside the house, he went to the window, only to see Marilyn lying naked on her bed, with her pills on the nightstand beside her. Greenson then broke into the window to get to her, and finally emergency services were called.

But the circumstances surrounding Marilyn’s death and apparent ‘suicide’ were more than suspicious. Of course, it is plausible that Marilyn did choose to end her life – it is well documented that she struggled with mental health all of her life – but their are numerous things that don’t quite add up. Firstly, the two men which removed the body to transport to the Morgue both said that the body did not look real, and an officer on the scene said that her room looked set up to stage a suicide, not how an actual suicide would happen. An example he gave were that her pill bottles were all neatly placed on the nightstand, and certainly not as though someone had decided to take their own life in the spur of the moment. Equally, there was no water or even a glass found in her bedroom, so if she were to take the pills, she would have had to have taken them without water – perhaps plausible to take one or two, but certainly not to take 40. This links into our first conspiracy theory – that Marilyn’s suicide was staged, either so that she could go on to live a normal life, or so she could be placed in the Witness Protection Programme by the government. Why would she be in a WPP? Because of her affair with the Kennedy brothers. She may have knew too much, or potentially been in danger, and so was given a new identity out of the spotlight. More recently in 2009, 26 people on a beach all reported seeing Marilyn Monroe, with one woman even running up to speak to her, before the potential Marilyn was whisked away by a man in a long coat. Despite the fact that Marilyn would have been considerably older in 2009, those on the beach are certain that it was her,and that she was still recognisable aside from a few wrinkles.

Our next conspiracy theory is also connected to the Kennedy brothers, and has a few different ‘branches’. The first being that Marilyn was killed due to her affairs with JFK and Robert. To avoid being impeached as a result of the affair, JFK had to have her ‘removed’ because she was too high a risk of coming out and saying something, and because their was already much speculation in the media. Another reason Marilyn may have been killed is that she maybes knew too much. Her affair with the President may have exposed her to private government information she should not have had access too. To avoid her speaking out, the CIA or FBI had to step in and ‘keep her quiet’. We also know that Robert Kennedy was very outspoken about organised crime and gangs, and it is thought that his own assassination was carried out by the Mafia. On the night previous to her death, Marilyn’s stylist claimed that Marilyn was hanging out and becoming friendly with a man high up in the Mafia, and when Marilyn’s house was remodelled after her death, it was discovered that she had in fact been wiretapped. Conspiracy theorists now think that this mystery man involved in the Mafia was attempting to ‘befriend’ Marilyn, in order to wire tap her home and ultimately have her killed, out of revenge against the Kennedy brothers or to send a very clear warning.

Our final theory, looks at her last husband, Arthur Miller. In the time Marilyn began dating Miller, the FBI opened a file on her, as Miller was being investigated by them due to allegations being made that he was a communist. Although many warned her against it, Marilyn insisted that she would go forth with her marriage to Miller, and they were married in 1956. This, on top of her affair with the Kennedy brothers, would have raised the FBI and governments suspicions of her further, so it is believable that they would have her killed. This was the last of the conspiracy theories, although I am sure they are many less well known ones out there. Personally, I like to think that Marilyn was tired of life in the spotlight, and so staged her suicide so that she could live a more simple, happier life. What do you think? Was Marilyn’s death a suicide, a murder, or staged? Let me know in the comments below.

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