“It’s all make believe, isn’t it?” – Marilyn Monroe
Nothing less than perfection was Marilyn Monroe’s goal. She built her name in the glitzy, and often gritty world of Hollywood; a place that thrived on ‘make believe’. The world of Tinseltown demanded she mastered her artistry publicly and privately, untoward a terrible price.
An intellectually beautiful mind and icon, Marilyn Monroe has become more than a household name. Utterly self-aware, her own consciousness was her biggest critic. Like many rags to riches stories, Marilyn was no stranger to unkindness. Exploits, diaries, memoirs, poems, interviews and biographies read her life like a tragic fairy tale. Is this how she will forever be remembered?
Never will she expire figuratively, and with a bittersweet outlook on her life, she has managed to conquer immortality in her death. A branch of unfathomable beauty inside and out was cut short. Her tragic end appears to remain a mystery, with speculation from experts, fanatics and conspiracists. Why have these notions around her death left the case closed?
In 1964, Frank A. Cappell published an 88-page pamphlet, The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe. Dismissed for his personal distaste on the Kennedy relations and a stout anti-communist, Cappell’s investigation into Monroe’s death sparked controversy. The pamphlet outlines that Marilyn Monroe was involved with Robert Kennedy, who Cappell claimed were both alleged communists. The conspiracy entails Marilyn Monroe had supposedly had personal relations with Robert Kennedy, which externally led to his part in her death. Cappell states that many ‘heart attacks’, ‘accidental deaths’ and ‘suicides’ are murders controlled by the Communist Party, of which RFK was a part of according to Cappell.
The Pulitzer Prize winner, Norman Mailer, released one of his best-selling works, Marilyn: A Biography in 1973, causing a riotous stir years after her passing. Mailer, a controversial figure with coarse views reiterated Marilyn’s relationship with the Kennedys like Cappell. He claimed, after the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961, the CIA murdered Marilyn as revenge on the Kennedys. It later became known that Mailer had no concrete evidence of his claims. He was scrutinised and made the work for money.
The Murder of Marilyn Monroe: Case Closed is the sounding account of her murder, by investigative journalists, Jay Margolis and Richard Buskin. In the book, Buskin and Margolis claim Monroe was killed with an injection of pentobarbital. Another tie to the Kennedys, this was administered by Dr. Ralph Greenson, under orders from Bobby Kennedy and Peter Lawford, Kennedy’s brother-in-law. Ambulance attendance James Hall claims he saw Greenson inject Monroe, who was ultimately murdered for threatening to expose her affair with Kennedy to the press.
Was it a cry for help? Marilyn’s life had been spent in the limelight up until her death. Her unfortunate childhood was spent between foster homes and orphanages from her mother’s ill health and was a victim of abuse. Her three marriages to James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, had failed. Battling depression, under the influence of drink and medication, Marilyn had previously attempted to take her own life twice. Many believe the attempted overdose was a cover up due to the negligence of her two doctors. They had both prescribed medication to her, leading to a lethal and ultimately, a tragic medical accident.
The inquest into her death clearly stated something wasn’t right. Monroe’s housekeeper Eunice Murray was the key witness, who would continue to alter her account of the night. Witnesses have confirmed Robert Kennedy was present at Marilyn’s home the night she died. It’s rumoured Monroe kept a little red diary of her intimacies, including the Kennedy brothers, along with incriminating evidence of the Kennedy’s plot to murder Fidel Castro. Marilyn had become a security risk. There were also ties with a Mafia figure, leading to the FBI’s prominent interest in Marilyn, so much so, her home was riddled with recording devices.
But conspiracies surrounding her death are all too many. Could a figure, at the peak of her career, who had worked so hard to get to where she was, really have taken her own life? Monroe, unlike any other, evoked a strong feeling in her spectators. “Professionally, everything she touched turned to gold. Emotionally and romantically, whatever she touched turned to ashes,” commented close friend, Donald Zec.
Fans of Marilyn, of unjust murders and enthusiasts of conspiracy theories have all read different stories, reports and books on the matter, with each taking a different viewpoint and angle of the Monroe murder, talking of several different Marilyn’s.
For those with an interest in the 50s-glamour girl of Hollywood, you can browse our selection of 1962 newspapers to find articles about her death.