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The Legendary Marilyn Monroe Born Norma Jeane Mortenson (later baptized as Norma Jeane Baker) on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles, California. During her all-too-brief life, Marilyn Monroe overcame a difficult childhood to become of the world's biggest and most enduring sex symbols. She never knew her father, and her mother Gladys, developed psychiatric problems and was eventually placed in a mental institution. Growing up, Monroe spent much of her time in foster care and in an orphanage. In 1937, a family friend and her husband, Grace and Doc Goddard, took care of her for a few years. But when Doc's job was transferred in 1942 to the East Coast, the couple could not afford to bring Monroe with them.

Once again, Monroe faced life in foster care. But she had one way outóget married. She wed her boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty on June 19, 1942. A merchant marine, Dougherty was later sent to the South Pacific. Monroe went to work in a munitions factory in Burbank where she was discovered by a photographer. By the time Dougherty returned in 1946, Monroe had a successful career as a model. She dreamt of becoming an actress like Jean Harlow and Lana Turner.

Her marriage fizzled out as Monroe focused more on her career. The couple divorced in 1946óthe same year she signed her first movie contract. With the movie contract came a new name and image, she began calling herself "Marilyn Monroe" and dyed her hair blonde. But her acting career didn't really take off until the 1950s. Her small part in John Huston's crime drama The Asphalt Jungle (1950) garnered her a lot of attention. That same year she impressed audiences and critics alike as Claudia Caswell in All About Eve, starring Bette Davis.

In 1953, Monroe made a star-making turn in Niagara, starring as a young married woman out to kill her husband with help from her lover. The emerging sex symbol was paired with another bombshell, Jane Russell, for the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The film was a hit and Monroe continued to find success in a string of light comedic fare, such as How to Marry a Millionaire with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall, There's No Business like Show Business (1954) with Ethel Merman and Donald O'Connor, and The Seven Year Itch (1955). With her breathy voice and hourglass figure, Monroe became a much-admired international star.

Tired of bubbly, dumb blonde roles, Monroe moved to New York City to study acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors' Studio. She returned to the screen in the dramatic comedy Bus Stop (1956), playing a saloon singer kidnapped by a rancher who has fallen in love with her. She received mostly praise for her performance.

In 1959, Monroe returned to familiar territory with the wildly popular comedy Some Like It Hot with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. She played Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, a singer who hopes to marry a millionaire in this humorous film in which Lemmon and Curtis pretend to be women. They are on the run from the mob after witnessing the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and hide out with an all-girl orchestra featuring Monroe. Her work on the film earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Comedy.

Reunited with John Huston, Monroe starred opposite Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift in The Misfits (1961). Set in Nevada, this adventure drama features Monroe who falls for Gable's cowboy, but battles him over the fate of some wild mustangs. This was her last completed film.

In 1962, Monroe was dismissed from Something's Got to Giveóalso starring Dean Martinófor missing so many days of filming. According to an article in The New York Times, the actress claimed that the absences were due to illness. Martin declined to make the film without her so the studio shelved the picture.

Her professional and personal life seemed to be in turmoil. Her last two films, Let's Make Love (1960) and The Misfits (1961) were box office disappointments, and she got herself fired from her last project. In her personal life, she had a string of unsuccessful marriages and relationships. Her 1954 marriage to baseball great Joe DiMaggio only lasted nine months, and she was wed to playwright Arthur Miller from 1956 to 1961. There have also been rumors that she was involved with President John F. Kennedy and/or his brother Robert around the time of her death.

At only 36 years old, Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962, at her Los Angeles home. An empty bottle of sleeping pills were found by her bed. There has been some speculation over the years that she may have been murdered, but it was officially ruled as a drug overdose.

During her career, Monroe's films grossed more than $200 million. She still remains popular today as an icon of sex appeal and beauty. More...

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The Death Of A Legend Sometime after 10 p.m. on August 4, 1962, Marilyn Monroe slipped into a coma caused by an overdose of sleeping pills. She would never regain consciousness. Shortly after she was discovered, a bizarre set of activities took place in her Brentwood home at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive. Some items were allegedly removed, including a diary and an incriminating note which could have far-reaching implications, if discovered. The order for their removal was believed to have come from someone in the White House, in an attempt to prevent a scandal from toppling the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

Many witnesses said they observed Marilyn being secretly taken that night by an ambulance crew to a nearby hospital before being returned again to her Brentwood home in Los Angeles. Forever steeped in mystery are the exact events that took place on the night that one of the worldís leading sex symbols and movie legends died. According to some accounts, Marilynís body was rediscovered by her house companion, Eunice Murray, and her psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson, several hours following the initial discovery of her remains.

Greenson would later tell police that Murray alerted him around 3:30 a.m. that something might be wrong with Marilyn, the morning following Marilynís death. When he arrived at Marilynís home, he broke into her bedroom and found her lying nude and face down in her bed. She was clutching a phone in her right hand. After a brief examination he determined that she was dead.

Exactly how and when Marilyn Monroe died sparked a debate that would last more than 40 years and generate many theories, including that of murder. Some of these theories even implicated John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert in the mysterious death.

This is the official cause of death and probably the most widely believed. She had tried it four times previously and she clearly had significant mood swings.

The problem with this theory is that too many forensic facts are at odds with it, unless one can imagine Marilyn making up a barbiturate enema and administering it to herself. Quite a number of forensic experts have discarded the suicide theory as inconsistent with the facts.

Another problem with the suicide theory is that she was in good spirits at the time of her death and had been making plans for future events and movies, and if Spoto is correct, her remarriage to Joe DiMaggio.

If, in fact, Marilyn died from a rectally-administered barbiturate enema, the question is who prepared and administered it. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the overdose was accidental.

Spoto makes a very persuasive case for accidental death. Dr. Greenson had been working with Dr. Hyman Engelberg to wean Marilyn off Nembutal, substituting instead chloral hydrate to help her sleep. Milton Rudin claimed that Greenson said something very important the night of Marilyn's death: " God damn it! Hy gave her a prescription I didn't know about!"

Dr. Engelberg was having serious marital problems and obviously didn't communicate well with Greenson on Marilyn's prescriptions. Spoto suggests that Greenson would not have given Marilyn a heavy dose of chloral hydrate the evening of her death if he had realized that Marilyn had been taking Nembutal capsules throughout the day. Spoto further suggests that after an exhausting full day with Marilyn that he arranged for Marilyn to have a chloral hydrate enema so that she would sleep through the night.

Chloralhydrate significantly slows down the metabolism of Nembutal, but Greenson did not know that she had been taking Nembutal and Marilyn did not realize that Nembutal and chloral hydrate interacted adversely or she probably would have admitted to Greenson that she had taken Nembutals.

If Spoto's theory is correct, then who administered the enema? Spoto believes that it had to be Eunice Murray, who, like Greenson, had no inkling that the sedative enema would be fatal.

Any doctor might be loath to admit to himself or others that he had made such a significant mistake in such a high-profile patient, especially since Marilyn appeared drugged during the afternoon. Also, if Eunice was the person who administered the enema, it would be natural for her to try to protect herself and Dr. Greenson by pretending that no such procedure was given to Marilyn.

Everyone loves a conspiracy. It is so much more exciting than accidental death or suicide. The celebrity status of the main characters in this drama lends itself heavily towards the romance of conspiracy. Look at the cottage industry that John F. Kennedyís assassination has generated.

Itís important to distinguish the cover-up of embarrassing information by powerful people from the commitment of a crime to eliminate people who can potentially create embarrassment.

There are a number of credible people who claim that Marilyn Monroe had affairs with one or both Kennedy brothers. John Kennedy, at least, was known to indulge himself in extramarital adventures. So, it is not at all implausible that President Kennedy availed himself of the charms of one of the sexiest and most attractive women of that era. That Robert Kennedy was so inclined is not nearly as clear.

According to Peter Lawford, Marilynís unrealistic notions about becoming First Lady caused her to embarrass herself with both Kennedy brothers. Her letters and telephone calls to them had become both tiresome and very risky. It was one thing to cavort with anonymous girls, but quite another to be involved with a celebrity sex symbol like Marilyn Monroe. There was every good reason for JFK and RFK to break off the relationship with Marilyn permanently.

What allegedly became so troublesome was Marilynís supposed rage at JFKís rejection of her and the fear that she was able to strike in both brothers. Donald Wolfe sums it up: ďMarilyn Monroe was in a position to bring down the presidency. She was cognizant of Jack Kennedyís marital infidelities and other private matters. She had his notes and letters and was privy to Kennedyís involvement with Sam Giancana. That the Kennedy brothers had discussed national security matters with the film star added to an astonishing array of indiscretions.Ē

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Robert Kennedy was the man appointed by his brother to deliver the rejection to Marilyn personally. Itís not the kind of thing that one writes in a letter and itís unlikely that JFK was anxious to deliver the message himself.

Did Robert Kennedy bring Marilyn the news of his brotherís desire to break off his relationship on the night Marilyn died? After all, there are some witnesses, including a cop, who place Robert Kennedy near the scene that night. This information may never be known with any certainty, but if Robert Kennedy did somehow make an unannounced visit to Marilyn Monroe on the night of August 4, then it provides unexpected motivation for the suicide theory. That is, while Marilyn may have been in good spirits that day and evening, a visit by Robert Kennedy shattering her notions about an enduring relationship with JFK could have abruptly changed her mood.

Was there an attempt on the part of the government to cover up John Kennedyís indiscretions with Marilyn Monroe? It would be very surprising indeed if there were not such an attempt.

The alleged cover-up was believed to have extended beyond the phone records and police evidence found at the scene. Shortly after his phone call to the Naars before 11 p.m. on the night of Marilynís death, it is believed that Peter Lawford and Pat Newcomb went to Marilynís house. Purportedly in a state of panic, Lawford called brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy and explained what had occurred.

However, destroying phone records and personal journals and scraps of paper are not in the same league with murder.

To suggest, as some authors, have that Robert Kennedy was somehow complicit in the murder of Marilyn Monroe is to be ignorant of the character and integrity of the Attorney General. While mystery surrounds the death of Marilyn Monroe, mystery does not shroud the character of Robert Kennedy. Robert Kennedy had a very fixed moral compass which was repeatedly documented in his crusade against organized crime.

Was Marilyn murdered by the Mafia, eager to avenge itself on the Kennedys for Robertís strike against them and expose the Kennedysí philandering to the American public? The motive was probably there but with what is known about the individuals present in Marilynís home on the night of August 4, 1962, it makes a mob hit with a rectal enema seem a bit unlikely and almost absurd.

The actual events that surrounded Marilynís death will probably never be known. What was known for certain was that a living legend mysteriously died before her time, in a mist of confusion, scandal and uncertainty.

Following the autopsy, Marilynís body was released to her family. Marilynís mother, who was institutionalized, did not take custody of the body. Instead, Joe DiMaggio claimed her remains and arranged a small and quiet funeral for the woman he continued to love up until her death. Finally on August 8, 1962, she was laid to rest in Los Angelesí Westwood Memorial Park in the Corridor of Memories. On that day, thousands lined the streets and grieved for their icon and the worldís movie legend, Marilyn Monroe. Rachel Bell, Tru-TV

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