On August 5, 1962, the body of Marilyn Monroe was found in the bedroom of her Brentwood home. The 36-year-old movie star was naked and facedown on her bed. An autopsy conducted by Dr. Thomas Noguchi, then deputy medical examiner, concluded that death was due to acute barbiturate poisoning, and a psychiatric team tied to the investigation termed it a ‘probable suicide.’
That night, Marilyn’s housekeeper, Mrs. Murray stayed at Marilyn’s Brentwood house at the request of Marilyn’s psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson. The remainder of the story, though, has been altered so many times over the years that it is difficult to determine what to really believe…
According to the first and second police report, Mrs. Murray became alarmed in the middle of the night when she spotted a light on in Marilyn’s bedroom. Later, at 3.30am, Mrs. Murray noticed that the light was still on. She then proceeded to go outside, where through the bedroom window she saw Marilyn’s body lying on the bed in an ‘unnatural’ position. Mrs. Murray then Dr. Greenson, who promptly rushed to Marilyn’s home.
However, according to Jack Clemmons, the first Los Angeles police officer on the scene, Mrs. Murray initially told him that she had had discovered Marilyn’s body shortly after midnight and that both Drs. Greenson and Engelberg (Marilyn’s internist) had been at the Brentwood home since 12.30am! This information is even more interesting when it is coupled with the fact that the police were not notified until 4.25am.
Years later Mrs. Murray confirmed to Bob Slatzer that she had discovered Marilyn’s body at around midnight and that rigor mortis had already set in – meaning, of course, that Marilyn had died the night of August 4, not the morning of August 5, 1962, which is generally accepted as Marilyn’s death date. What compounds the confusion further is that, according to Jack Clemmons, Mrs. Murray was washing clothes, cleaning out the refrigerator, and packing away items when he arrived at the death scene at 4.40am.
The following day, August 6, Eunice Murray held a press conference at her Santa Monica apartment. At that time, Mrs. Murray told the press the story that on the night of August 4, Marilyn had received a mysterious, disturbing phone call. But, she said: ‘in the past few weeks, Marilyn had everything to live for. The plans we made were so wonderful.’
Following Marilyn’s death, Eunice Murray went away to Europe. It has been reported that she remained abroad for six months. However Mrs. Murray has claimed that she was away for only six weeks. Marilyn’s adoring fans have always wondered who sent Eunice Murray on this ‘extended vacation’?
Since Marilyn’s death, one question has been brought up repeatedly…
How could Eunice Murray have seen an alarming light on in Marilyn’s bedroom when there was no gap between the door and the carpeting on the floor for the light beam to escape? In her 1975 book, Mrs. Murray attempted to silence those questions by claiming it was not a light at all that had initially alarmed her – it was the sight of a telephone cord that ran under Marilyn’s door that caused alarm.
An interesting addendum to never solved mystery, is the following quote from ‘Legend: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe’ (1984), in which author Fred Lawrence Guiles states:
‘By the end of July, Marilyn was taking tentative steps toward replacing Mrs. Murray. She had gone to the home of her former housekeeper, Florence Thomas, and asked her to come back to work for her. Florence believed that she was to take the place of Eunice Murray.’
Also of interest is the 1962 police report made by Sgt. Robert E. Byron. Byron’s report read, in part:
‘It is this officer’s opinion that Mrs. Murray was vague and possibly evasive in answering questions pertaining to the activities of Miss Monroe during this time period. It is not known whether this was or was not intentional.’
There have been numerous theories about what really happened to Marilyn Monroe, many of them placing the blame on the Kennedy brothers or Dr. Ralph Greenson. I guess we will never know the true...