On August 5, 1962, film actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead at her home in Los Angeles. She was discovered naked lying on her bed, face down, with a phone in one hand. Empty bottles of pills, prescribed to treat his depression, were strewn across the room. After a brief investigation, Los Angeles Police concluded that his death was “caused by a self-administered sedative overdose and that the mode of death was probable suicide.”
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Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926. Her mother was emotionally unstable and often confined to an asylum, so Norma Jeane was raised by a foster family estate and in an orphanage. At the age of 16, she married a colleague in an aircraft factory, but they divorced a few years later. She began modeling in 1944 and in 1946 signed a short-term contract with 20th Century Fox, taking as her screen name Marilyn Monroe. She had a few small roles, then returned to modeling, posing nude for a calendar in 1949.
She began to gain attention as an actress in 1950 after starring in minor roles in the The asphalt jungle and All about Eve. Although she only briefly played a mistress in both films, audiences took note of the blonde bombshell and she won a new contract with Fox. Her acting career took off in the early 1950s with performances in Love nest (1951), Monkey affairs (1952), and Niagara (1953). Celebrated for her voluptuousness and wide-eyed charm, she gained international fame for her sex symbol roles in Men prefer blondes (1953), How to marry a millionaire (1953), and There is no business like show business (1954). The seven year itch (1955) showcased her comedic skills and features the classic scene where she stands above a subway system and has her white skirt puffed up by the wind of a passing train. In 1954, she married the great baseball player Joe DiMaggio, attracting more publicity, but they divorced eight months later.
In 1955, she studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York and then gave a strong performance as an unfortunate artist in Bus stop (1956). In 1956, she married the playwright Arthur Miller. She did The prince and the showgirl– A critical and commercial failure – with Laurence Olivier in 1957 but in 1959 gave an acclaimed performance in the hit comedy Some like it hot. His last role, in The Misfits (1961), was directed by John Huston and written by Miller, from whom she divorced just a week before the film’s opening.
By 1961 Monroe, in the grip of depression, was under the constant care of a psychiatrist. Increasingly erratic in the last months of her life, she lived as a virtual recluse in her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles. After midnight on August 5, 1962, his maid, Eunice Murray, noticed that the light in Monroe’s bedroom was on. When Murray found the door locked and Marilyn was not answering her calls, she called Monroe’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, who gained access to the room by breaking a window. On entering, he found Marilyn dead, and the police were called some time later. An autopsy revealed a fatal amount of sedatives in her system, and her death was deemed likely suicide.
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Over the past few decades, there have been a number of conspiracy theories surrounding her death, most of which claim that she was murdered by John and / or Robert Kennedy, with whom she allegedly had love affairs. These theories claim that the Kennedys killed her (or had her killed) because they feared she would go public with their love affairs and other government secrets she was collecting. On August 4, 1962, Robert Kennedy, then attorney general of his older brother’s cabinet, was in fact in Los Angeles. Two decades after the events, Monroe’s housekeeper, Eunice Murray, announced for the first time that the Attorney General had visited Marilyn the night of her death and had quarreled with her, but the reliability of these statements and ‘others made by Murray are questionable.
Decades after her death, Marilyn Monroe remains a major cultural icon.