Death of an Icon
Arriving at the modest home this iconic lady owned, in Brentwood, this policeman saw Marilyn's nude body sprawled diagonally, face down across the bed, left hand on the nightstand telephone.
Death of an Icon
August 5th 1962, was the sad day, 50years ago, when Marilyn Monroe, having placed a call the previous evening to the white house, was found dead, supposedly an overdose of drugs, in a moment that would sadden people all over the world.
Early in the morning of that fateful day, police sergeant, Jack Clemmons, took a call from a Dr. Hyman Engelberg, stating that the star had overdosed on pills. Arriving at the modest home this iconic lady owned, in Brentwood, this policeman saw Marilyn's nude body sprawled diagonally, face down across the bed, left hand on the nightstand telephone.
This furniture item was bestrewn with empty pill containers, labels describing the drugs in question as Nembutal and chloral hydrate. Oddly, no water glass, for washing the pills down was found, and indeed it transpired that the bathroom had no running water anyway, due to a plumbing problem.
Even more strange, to the trained eye of the policeman, was the unmistakable fact that the housekeeper had been doing laundry and general tidying the house up, which seemed way out of keeping with the circumstances. The star’s had been dead for several hours, demonstrated by the advanced state of rigor mortis.
What later emerged, to fuel conspiracy theories, was that the housekeeper had actually found the bedroom door locked at midnight, and been unable to get an answer to her queries from Marilyn, though it was to take another four hours before the police were called, and what might have happened in those hours has always been hotly debated.
The body of the unfortunate, only 36 year-old actress went to Westwood Village Mortuary. The Brentwood house was sealed for further investigations to take place. Los Angeles County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Noguchi performed the autopsy at the county morgue, attributing a lethal overdose of Nembutal and chloral hydrate as the cause of death, probably in a suicidal act.
In fact, Dr. Noguchi claimed to have bowed to pressure from superiors in signing the original autopsy report, which he subsequently tried to change, and no wonder. For instance,the yellow discoloration of bowel tissue common with this drug was notably absent from her gut, as indeed was any evidence of half-dissolved capsules. To kill herself with this two drug combination, at least fifty tablets would have to be ingested, but no water was found at the scene, and the so-called official death certificate, citing probable suicide, seemed to be not quite right somehow, as the word probable was in pencil, quite possibly added later
Another quirky fact is the revelation that housekeeper Eunice Tan had actually been dismissed from her job on the afternoon before, yet was still hanging around in the middle of the night? We can never know for sure if that call was to her rumored lover John F Kennedy, or if her death was somehow linked to that doomed relationship, but the questions remain to this day.
Just how much Marilyn was loved was perhaps best demonstrated by ex-husband Joe Di Maggio, who had roses placed annually on her tomb, until the day he himself died. A truly iconic, if tragic star, Marilyn will never be forgotten, and the questions will always be asked.