Into the Mind of Marilyn Monroe

The death of movie actress Marilyn Monroe on August 5, 1962 is still controversial despite being ruled a "probable suicide" by Los Angeles coroner Thomas Noguchi. While the cause of death was due to acute barbiturate poisoning and Monroe had made previous suicide attempts using prescription drugs in the past, questions about her involvement with then-President John F. Kennedy continue to be raised.

Several police officers who arrived at the scene of her death, including Los Angeles police officer Jack Clemmons, openly speculated on the possibility that the star had actually been murdered. Clemmons even accused members of the LAPD with staging a cover-up and that the death scene had been deliberately staged.

Though Clemmons and other conspiracy theorists continue to insist that she had been murdered, one of the first psychological autopsies to be carried out ruled that the death had been suicide. Psychiatrist Robert E. Litman, a Los Angeles-based suicide authority had been the chief psychiatrist on the autopsy team examining the Monroe case would later describe the evidence used to determine that she had committed suicide.

This included the telephone calls that Monroe had made after taking the pills in which she insisted that she was "in deep trouble". According to Litman, her death could be considered "a self-inflicted death, where there is a great risk but also a good chance for rescue." He concluded that she had staged the suicide with the hope of rescue which came too late.

But could Marilyn Monroe's own writings provide clues about her suicidal intentions? Many of the letters, poems, and personal notes that Monroe wrote in the years leading up to her death were recently collected in a single book, Marilyn Monroe's Fragments, published last year.

To read more about the recent research study looking at Fragments and the linguistic evidence into her death, check out my new Huffington Post contribution. 


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