Glamorous film actress Marilyn Monroe died on an early August weekend in 1962.
Her body was discovered before just dawn on Sunday, August 5: Monroe’s housekeeper, Eunice Murray, became concerned when she discovered that the star’s bedroom was locked and the light was still on at 3am.
Murray called Monroe’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, who rushed to Monroe’s home and gained access to the locked room by breaking a window.
Finding Monroe unresponsive and surrounded by empty pill jars, Greenson called in Monroe’s doctor, Hyman Engelberg, who pronounced her dead at the scene.
The official verdict was was that her death was probably suicide through an overdose of barbiturates.
Monroe was 36-years-old, and one of the biggest stars of her era.
Her films had grossed over $200 million – more like $2 billion (£1.6 billion) today.
Rumours about a conspiracy underlying her death swirled almost from the first reports.
Many of them centred on a “little red book” in which the troubled star wrote all her deepest secrets.
Secrets about her relationships with some of the most powerful men in America.
Some investigators, like Dr Steven Greer, think that the red book contained details about secrets President John F Kennedy had let slip during their widely-documented affair.
Greer claims that JFK told Marilyn he had seen evidence of “things from outer space” at Roswell.
“We have a number of smoking gun documents, including a wiretap of Marilyn Monroe the day before she died, which has never been declassified,” he said.
“She was threatening to hold a press conference to tell the world what Jack Kennedy had told her during pillow talk about having seen debris from an extraterrestrial vehicle at what the document calls a ‘secret air base’.
“She was murdered for this.”
The truth may be more down-to-earth. A new podcast exposing the mystery of Marilyn’s death has just launched, exploring the star’s tangled love-life and asking the question ‘who would want to kill the most beautiful woman in the world?’
Singer Fabulous Gabriel, interviewed for the podcast, has made a lifelong study of Monroe.
His book Marilyn Monroe The Lost Diary collects snippets of information from from multiple sources including FBI secret files.
Gabriel said: “Marilyn Monroe kept a secret diary in which she recorded intimate information about her relationships with several celebrities, including love affairs with the then, President Kennedy.
“Then later on had a romance with Bobby Kennedy, the Attorney General. Everybody wanted to get their hands on the diary, because she wrote down some incriminating things in her diary.”
The podcasts’s writers say that Marilyn Monroe had become a pawn at the centre of a deadly power struggle between the President of the United States, his Attorney General brother, the highest levels of the Mafia, J Edgar Hoover’s FBI, Frank Sinatra, and America’s hidden Communist threat.
Celebrity biographer Danforth Prince says that when Marilyn’s relationships with both JFK and his brother collapsed, Marilyn had nothing left to lose.
And in that state she had become a serious threat to The Powers That Be.
Prince said: “She was going to tell. She was going to talk. She wanted to bring people down. And there were a lot of people who were invested who would have indeed collapsed had she begun giving press conferences and letting cats out of bags.
“She was the most dangerous woman in America.”
A post mortem found no residue of pills in Marilyn’s stomach contents, and a mysterious bruise on her lower back has long been suspected to be an injection site. Could the suicide have been staged?
An FBI file that remained secret for decades, and even now has only been released in heavily-censored form hints that US attorney-general Robert Kennedy had approved a plan “to induce” her suicide.
The file, discovered by Australian filmmaker Philippe Mora, names Hollywood star, and Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Peter Lawford as the point man for the conspiracy.
It states that Monroe’s history of “cry for help” suicide attempts could be exploited to cover an assassination.
JFK was himself assassinated in November 1963 and his brother was shot under mysterious circumstances in 1968.
Lawford succumbed to years of alcohol and drug abuse aged 61.
And the diary itself? It hasn’t been seen since that weekend in August 1962.
Detective Milo Speriglio says the last person to see the Red Diary was deputy coroner Lionel Grandson, who is said to have signed Monroe’s death certificate “under duress”.
Speriglio said: “The following morning, he [Grandson] found the diary was missing and stricken off the inventory as if it never existed.”
None of the major players remains to confirm or deny the extraordinary rumours about Marilyn’s death.
But her luminous screen presence will assure her immortality as long as people still gather to watch movies.
Listen to The Killing of Marilyn Monroe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and all podcast listening apps. New episodes are available every Monday.