She was, and remains one of Hollywood’s most complex icons. Strong and fragile and sexy and child-like all in one, Marilyn Monroe’s body was found in her Brentwood bungalow 50 years ago this Sunday. Her life and death remain a mystery to this day.

 There are few arguments to the belief that Monroe died of an overdose of barbiturates. Whether she took the fatal dose of free choice or if she was poisoned remains the open question.

One of the most popular movie stars of the 1950’s, Marilyn Monroe was also considered one of the era’s most attractive women. Her beauty led her to reputed romances with both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, just to name two. She was also involved in a real-life romance while filming a breakthrough performance in 1953’s Niagara:


During filming, she was staying in a hotel on the Canadian side of the Falls. At the same time as making the movie, she was taking turns between two potential husbands [she did arrange things so that the two were on different floors of the hotel, and that neither was on her floor]! She eventually married one of them , baseball star Joe DiMaggio [he later left her because of her willingness to pose with her skirt almost blown over her head in the movie The Seven Year Itch]:


Would Monroe’s death be less mysterious if she had died nowadays? In some senses, certainly so. Improvements in investigative techniques [including DNA testing, to name one], as well as changes in laws [in those days, pharmaceutical  databases were much more difficult to study and interconnect] would have given more information. But some information would remain unavailable [The Associated Press wanted to examine Monroe’s FBI files (like many celebrities of the period, Monroe had extensive files in the Federal Bureau of Investigation). They were finally told that the files were now held by the National Archives. The Archives later reported they had never received any Monroe files]. What records that have been released are heavily censored.

The answers we have now may be the best answers we ever get.