12 Shocking Details About Marilyn Monroe's Death You Probably Never Knew

Marilyn Monroe died of a barbiturate overdose. Her body was discovered on August 5, 1962, in her home at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood, CA. Since then, her tragic demise has been the subject of some of the most enduring conspiracy theories in history - including that she was one of many historical suicides that were actually murder. Yet, the actual details of her passing are just as shocking and interesting as the stories bandied about by conspiracy theorists.

Whether you believe she was a celebrity MK Ultra victim or not, knowing how Marilyn Monroe really died and the many strange details that surround it might just surprise you more than even the most plausible conspiracy.


  • Marilyn Monroe Died From A Nembutal Overdose But No Pills Were Found In Her Stomach

    Marilyn Monroe Died From A Nembutal Overdose But No Pills Were Found In Her Stomach
    Photo: Los Angeles Times / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    According to the coroner’s report, Marilyn Monroe overdosed on Nembutal pills. However, no pills were found in her stomach. The deputy coroner, Dr. Thomas Noguchi, later explained the lack of pills as a result of Monroe’s long history of substance abuse. The pills in her stomach were digested more quickly than they would have been by someone who wasn’t an addict.

    Yet, the fact that no pills were found in her stomach has been used by conspiracy theorists through the years to support their theory that perhaps she did not die of an overdose at all, but instead was assassinated by the CIA, FBI, or her own housekeeper.

  • Her Autopsy Couldn't Be Completed Because Her Organs Had Been Destroyed

    Her Autopsy Couldn't Be Completed Because Her Organs Had Been Destroyed
    Photo: Author Dell Publications, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Dr. Thomas Noguchi was tasked with the autopsy, but he wasn't exactly given a complete picture. According to him, when he received Marilyn Monroe's body in the morgue, the samples from her stomach and intestines had been destroyed. This affected toxicology reports, which made Dr. Noguchi believe people would think she'd been assassinated.

    He also discovered that, while other organs had been sent to the toxicology labs, tests were never done. The only parts of Monroe's body that were put to complete toxicology tests were samples of her blood and her liver. 

  • Her Housekeeper Was Found Washing Her Bed Sheets The Night Of Her Passing

    Her Housekeeper Was Found Washing Her Bed Sheets The Night Of Her Passing
    Photo: 20th Century Fox / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Sgt. Jack Clemmons of the Los Angeles Police Department was the first officer to arrive on the scene of Marilyn Monroe’s passing. Later, in his own writings of the event, he recalled that Monroe’s housekeeper Eunice Murray was running the washing machine when he arrived. He also noted that Murray was acting strangely and was evasive when questioned.

    Detective Sgt. Robert E. Byron, who arrived on the scene a few minutes after Clemmons, also noted in his report that Murray was acting like an unreliable witness. He wrote: “It is officer’s opinion that Mrs. Murray was vague and possibly evasive in answering questions pertaining to the activities of Miss Monroe during this time.”

    Conspiracy theorists have used Murray’s behavior that tragic night as proof that there was something inappropriate and fishy going on, and that perhaps the housekeeper knew more than she was letting on.

  • She Left An Ominous Message Before Her Passing

    She Left An Ominous Message Before Her Passing
    Photo: Monkey Business trailer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Marilyn Monroe spoke to several people on the phone the night she passed. Among them was Peter Lawford, an old friend of the actress and the brother-in-law of John F. Kennedy. According to Lawford, Monroe seemed to be under the influence of drugs. He also claimed she told him: "Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy."

    Lawford became extremely worried about Monroe, and phoned several people to check up on her. When he was unable to reach Dr. Ralph Greenson, Lawford called Monroe’s lawyer Milton A. Rudin, who in turn reached out to Monroe’s housekeeper, who told him that Monroe was fine.

    This message, however, has further fueled conspiracy theories that perhaps John F. Kennedy and the government were somehow involved in Monroe’s demise.

  • Conspiracy Theories Did Not Gain Full Steam Until The 1970s

    Conspiracy Theories Did Not Gain Full Steam Until The 1970s
    Photo: Cecil W. Stoughton / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Norman Mailer’s biography of Marilyn Monroe was one of the first to suggest that foul play was a factor in Monroe’s passing. In the 1960s, a self-published biography by Frank A. Capell made claims that Monroe was murdered as part of a communist conspiracy, but it wasn’t until Mailer’s account was published in 1973 that the conspiracy theories really took hold.

    Mailer was the first to suggest Monroe had an affair with Robert F. Kennedy, and that her involvement with him led to her demise. He was savaged by critics for his implications and later admitted: “I’d say it was ten to one that [Monroe’s death] was an accidental suicide.”

    When questioned as to why he felt the need to bring RFK into it, he said: “I needed money very badly.”

    Following Mailer’s accusations against RFK, biographer Robert F. Slatzer in 1975 further argued that Monroe was killed by RFK, then the attorney general, because she threatened to go public with government secrets RFK had confided in her.

    Also in 1975, journalist Anthony Scaduto published an article alleging Monroe was ordered to be killed by the Kennedy brothers, and that she kept a “red diary” where she supposedly stored secret government information the Kennedys had confided in her.

  • She Went From Happy To Dying In Less Than 30 Minutes

    She Went From Happy To Dying In Less Than 30 Minutes
    Photo: Some Like It Hot trailer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Monroe took a phone call from Joe DiMaggio Jr. between 7:00 pm and 7:15 pm and by all accounts had a happy conversation with the 20-year-old, during which DiMaggio Jr. told her that he’d just broken up with a young woman Monroe disliked. Housekeeper Eunice Murray also later confirmed that Monroe was “happy, gay, alert - anything but depressed” during the talk.

    Monroe took her last call of the night from Peter Lawford about half an hour later at 7:40 pm or 7:45 pm, during which Lawford noted she sounded slurred and barely audible.

    The coroner later observed:

    Monroe was laughing and chatting on the telephone with Joe DiMaggio’s son, Joe Junior.

    Yet - and this was one of the strangest facts of the case - not thirty minutes after this happy conversation, Marilyn Monroe was dying.