Marilyn Monroe Death Podcast

History Uncovered Episode 46:
The Death Of Marilyn Monroe

Published September 29, 2023

Go inside the story of Marilyn Monroe's sudden death, from her bizarre final hours to the mystery of what caused her demise that's lingered ever since.

When Marilyn Monroe died on August 4, 1962, it was as if one of the world’s brightest lights had suddenly been snuffed out.

The 36-year-old blonde bombshell had captivated movie audiences around the globe for the entirety of the previous decade with hit films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot. And her onscreen life was often less dramatic than her offscreen one, as she romanced everyone from Joe DiMaggio to Arthur Miller to President John F. Kennedy.

So how exactly did this beloved actress and icon end up dead before she even reached her 40th birthday?

The cause of Monroe’s death, investigators said at the time, was likely suicide, as the autopsy found that Monroe had ingested a high number of pills at an alarming rate. She had such high levels of Nembutal and chloral hydrate in her system that the coroner suspected she had taken the barbiturates in “one gulp or in a few gulps over a minute or so.”

What’s more, a psychological analysis of Monroe seemed to back up his conclusion that she had died by suicide as it found that she had “suffered from psychiatric disturbance for a long time.”

Death Of Marilyn Monroe

E. Murray/Fox Photos/Getty ImagesThe room where Marilyn Monroe died.

But not everyone bought the official account of Marilyn Monroe’s death. Though she had struggled with personal demons — and some of her struggles, like her three failed marriages, had played out in public — many of those closest to her refused to believe that Monroe had taken her own life. They insisted that she had seemed happy in her final days and that she was making plans for upcoming things like a trip to Mexico.

Meanwhile, further examination suggested that she may not have killed herself. Despite the high levels of drugs in her system, there were no pills found in her stomach. And a mysterious bruise hinted that she may have been injected with a deadly dose of Nembutal.

To this day, the true cause of Marilyn Monroe’s death remains controversial and a number of disturbing theories have proliferated over the years, with many claiming foul play perpetrated by everyone from the Mafia to her ex-lovers John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert.

But where does the truth lie?

Dig deeper into the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe.

Learn more about the music used in our podcast. History Uncovered is part of the Airwave Media network. Learn more about your ad choices by visiting