The Myth of August 5th
Marilyn’s Time of Death- One would think something so simple as a time of death would be easy to determine, but not so with Marilyn Monroe. Reports vary widely from 8 p.m on August 4th to 3:45 a.m on August 5th, and everything in between. It is crucial to pinpoint the time of death because once that is established it becomes quite easy to dispel the accounts of the hangers-on who attempted to place themselves at the scene that evening. With the revelation of a new crime scene photo issued by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Homicide Division last year, the estimated time of death can be determined with an accuracy of within two hours- and it’s not when you think it is.Differing accounts all list different times. Eunice Murray, Marilyn’s housekeeper, first said that she became alarmed and the actress was unresponsive behind a locked door around midnight. Then she changed her story to say it was at 3 a.m. Dr. Engelberg says he pronounced her dead at 3:35 a.m.The coroner’s report and death certificate lists the time of death as 3:40 a.m. How could it be possible that her time of death was five minutes after she was pronounced dead, particularly considering that there is plenty of evidence that she had died far earlier?Many are familiar with the photo of the police officer’s hand pointing to an array of prescription bottles on Marilyn’s nightstand. Until last year, few people realized that photo had been cropped and the full version of it shows Marilyn’s body lying in bed. As heartbreaking as this is to look at, it provides vital clues in unraveling the mystery of that night. In the photo there is a dark blotchy discoloration evident on her back- this is lividity. Lividity is caused when the blood circulation ceases and it pools at the lowest points of the body. The pattern can only be altered if the body is moved within the first six hours after death,after six hours it becomes ‘fixed’ in place. For it to be visible on her back while she was in a face down position, the lividity had to have been fixed in place which only occurs 6-8 hours after death. Since the photo had to have been taken between around 4:30 a.m (when police arrived) and around 6 a.m. when she was removed from the house, that gives us a very narrow time frame to work with. If we reasonably assume the photo was taken around 5 a.m, that will push our time of death back to between 8-11 p.m on August 4th.When Sgt. Jack Clemmons arrived on scene he noted advanced rigor mortis. The undertaker Guy Hockett arrived at 5:40 a.m and also noted the advanced rigor mortis and estimated the time of death as being between 8 and 10 pm the evening before but was told to alter his report to match the witness statements.He said that the rigor mortis was so advanced that he had some difficulty maneuvering her onto the gurney that would take her to the mortuary van . Rigor mortis begins three hours after death,gradually increasing over a twelve hour period. Full rigor mortis occurs approximately 10-12 hours after death, with advanced rigor mortis occurring about 6-8 hours after- again placing the time squarely between 8 and 10 p.m on August 4th.
(Information taken from http://www.immortalmarilyn.com)
Rest in Peace Norma Jeane Baker aka Marilyn Monroe
June 1st, 1926 - August 4th, 1962
Marilyn Monroe photographed by Bert Stern, 1962
"There was nobody like Marilyn Monroe. There never was and there never will be." - George Barris
Fifty two years without Marilyn, 1st June 1926 - 4th August 1962.
“Her death has diminished the loveliness of the world in which we live.” - Life Magazine.
A week later I received a note from my mother [Paula] describing how my father had been too grief stricken to speak at first. Weeping, he began by saying, “I know [Marilyn] would not have wanted us to mourn, but grief is human and words must be spoken.” He had gone on, his voice shaking with his sorrow, and Mom had worried he might not be able to finish, but he had. She enclosed a copy of what my father had written. Mom spoke of Marilyn’s optimistic plans for the future and how they had expected her to fly to New York the next weekend. “Unquestionably it was an accident. But that is how the wheel turns. We are all sad. We love you.” Sitting on my brass bed from the Napoleonic campaigns, the carved Renaissance cherubs on the ceiling watching silently, I read my father’s words:
Marilyn Monroe was a legend.
In her own lifetime she created a myth of what a poor girl from a deprived background could attain. For the entire world she became a symbol of the eternal feminine.
But I have no words to describe the myth and the legend. Nor would she want us to do so. I did not know this Marilyn Monroe, nor did she.
We, gathered here today, knew only Marilyn—a warm human being, impulsive and shy and lonely, sensitive and in fear of rejection, yet ever avid for life and reaching out for fulfillment. I will not insult the privacy of your memory of her—a privacy she sought and treasured—by trying to describe her whom you know, to you who knew her. In our memories of her, she remains alive, not only a shadow on a screen, or a glamorous personality.
For us Marilyn was a devoted and loyal friend, a colleague constantly reaching for perfection. We shared her pain and difficulties and some of her joys. She was a member of our family. It is difficult to accept the fact that her zest for life has been ended by this dreadful accident.
Despite the heights and brilliance she had attained on the screen, she was planning for the future; she was looking forward to participating in many exciting things she planned. In her eyes and in mine her career was just beginning. The dream of her talent, which she had nurtured as a child, was not a mirage. When she first came to me, I was amazed at the startling sensitivity which she possessed and which had remained fresh and undimmed, struggling to express itself despite the life to which she had been subjected. Others were as physically beautiful as she was, but there was obviously something more in her, something that people saw and recognized in her performances and with which they identified. She had a luminous quality—a combination of wistfulness, radiance, yearning—that set her apart and yet made everyone wish to be part of it, to share in the childish naîveté which was at once so shy and yet so vibrant.
This quality was even more evident when she was on the stage. I am truly sorry that you and the public who loved her did not have the opportunity to see her as we did, in many of the roles that foreshadowed what she would have become. Without a doubt, she would have been one of the really great actresses of the stage.
Now it is all at an end. I hope that her death will stir sympathy and understanding for a sensitive artist and woman who brought joy and pleasure to the world.
I cannot say good-bye. Marilyn never liked good-byes, but in that peculiar way she had of turning things around so that they faced reality—I will say au revoir. For the country to which she has gone, we must all someday visit.
Once I began to cry, my tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t know if I was crying for Marilyn or myself or for all of us. Buddha and Mom were right, life was hard. But at least I could learn from Marilyn and not make the same mistakes. And then life would get easier, wouldn’t it?
I thought about how fleeting fame was. Marilyn had said, “Fame may go by and so long I’ve had you fame, but that’s not where I live.” I thought about how fickle the world was. As much as it loved and mourned Marilyn now, in time it might forget her; but I knew I never would.
- Susan Strasberg, Marilyn And Me
♡ RIP Marilyn (June 1, 1926 - August 4, 1962) ♡
It seemed impossible to me that she was gone, just like that, with no warning. She’d been so alive, maybe too much so. Everything had been so heightened for her as she’d struggled so fiercely for the new life she’d dreamed of. I prayed for her and talked to her the way I had to Anne Frank years before, feeling crazy, but not caring, telling her I was grateful she’d been like a big sister to me, that I’d miss her, that it didn’t matter if she messed my room up…that I was sorry for being jealous, that I’d loved her…Finally, my heart pounding, my throat tight with held-in tears, I walked up the one hundred and twenty-two steep steps near my apartment to the Church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. I lit a candle for Marilyn at the thirteen-hundred-year-old Altar of Heaven. And then I lit dozens more, as if I could surround her with their pulsating, radiant light. I asked her for forgiveness for not really looking at her, not always hearing her.
- Susan Strasberg, Marilyn And Me
REST IN PEACE Norma Jeane Baker aka MARILYN MONROE (June 1st, 1926 - August 5th, 1962)
“Norma Jeane was always a butterfly. She was beautiful all of her life, within and without. […] Like all butterflies, she had to fly away.” - Jim Dougherty
"I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night, ‘There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me dreaming of being a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest."
"Some people have been unkind. If I say I want to grow as an actress, they look at my figure. If I say I want to develop, to learn my craft, they laugh. Somehow they don’t expect me to be serious about my work."
“Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one … I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity.”The films of Marilyn Monroe (1st June 1926 -
4th August 1962∞.)
If my life could be lived again I would make every decision—except about being an actress—differently. But the result would probably be the same, so it has all been worth it.
♡ RIP Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 - August 4, 1962) ♡