What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died?

What really happened the day Marilyn Monroe died?  This is the third article I’ve written on this subject; I wanted to create a clear timeline of the crucial events leading up to her death ~ & now, we’ve finally arrived at that fateful day.  Before you read this post, make sure that you’ve read Parts 1 & 2, otherwise you won’t fully understand who is involved, & why they may have acted in certain, very peculiar ways, on the day of her death. 

For a more comprehensive account of that day & the events leading up to it, I highly suggest reading, “The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe.” 

But now, let’s find out what really happened the day Marilyn Monroe died…

What Really Happened to Marilyn Monroe? Girl Who Travels the World, Marilyn

What really happened the day Marilyn Monroe died, in August 1962, is still one of the greatest mysteries of the 20th century.

First: A Quick Re-Cap

Let’s take a quick look at what was going on in Marilyn’s life, just before her death on August 4th, 1962:

  • Both Kennedy brothers (JFK & Bobby) have cut off ALL communication with her, which angers her immensely.  It’s rumored that she has been romantically involved with both brothers. 
  • 21st Century Fox had Marilyn fired from the movie, “Something’s Got to Give,” for her habitual tardiness & absences.  Yet, Darryl Zanuck takes back control of the company, & Marilyn re-negotiates a $1 million-contract for the film.  This is an unprecedented amount of money for a (female) star, at the time ~ & it’s a HUGE victory for Marilyn. 
  • Marilyn was invited to Frank Sinatra’s Cal-Neva Lodge (near Lake Tahoe), the weekend before her death.  It was a dark weekend, wherein she was drugged & photographed in compromising positions with various men; Frank Sinatra & mob boss Sam Giancana were both present. 

Accounts of this weekend have also recently been confirmed by “Godfather” actor, Gianni Russo, in his book, “Hollywood Godfather.”  

  • The night before her death, Marilyn goes out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants, La Scala, in Beverly Hills, with Peter Lawford & Pat Newcomb.  After dinner, Marilyn & Newcomb get into a heated argument about the Kennedy’s, who Newcomb is extremely close to.  Nevertheless, Newcomb stays the night at Marilyn’s home on August 3rd. 

And that leads us to the final day of Marilyn Monroe’s life: August 4th, 1962, at her home on Fifth Helena Drive, in Brentwood, CA….


Timeline of Events on August 4th, 1962

8AM = Eunice Murray, Marilyn’s housekeeper, arrives at Fifth Helena.  Her son-in-law & Marilyn’s handyman, Norman Jefferies, arrives shortly after, & starts working on the kitchen floor around 8:30AM. 

Note: Mr. Jefferies stayed silent for years after Marilyn’s death, about what happened on the day she died, & only broke his silence years later, shortly before his own death.  He was an eyewitness to nearly all the events that occurred that day, as was Mrs. Murray.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died? Girl Who Travels the World

This shot of Eunice Murray & her son-in-law, Norman Jefferies, was taken on August 5th, 1962 ~ the day after Marilyn Monroe’s death. Photo by Schulman-Sachs/Getty Images.

9AM = Norman Jeffferies recalls Marilyn walking into the kitchen around 9AM, wrapped in a bath towel.  “She looked sick,” he said.  “She was pale & looked tired.”  Marilyn’s friend & fellow starlet, Jeanne Carmen, says Marilyn called her at 6AM that morning, to tell her about disturbing phone calls she’d received during the night, from an unknown caller.  A woman’s voice allegedly told her to “leave Bobby alone,” & called her a “tramp.”  Carmen says, “Marilyn sounded nervous & exhausted.”  Marilyn requested that Jeanne come over, to talk about things she couldn’t discuss on the phone.  But it was Jeanne’s birthday that day, & she couldn’t see Marilyn until Sunday. 

Eunice Murray later tells police that Marilyn “did not consume any food or liquor [on August 4th, 1962].”  Her testimony was confirmed by the autopsy results. 

Approx. 9:30AM = Marilyn speaks to Hollywood gossip columnist, Sidney Skolsky, on the phone.  She tells him that she plans to see Bobby Kennedy later that day.  Ralph Roberts, her masseuse, also calls sometime during the morning to check on a tentative dinner date for that evening.  She requests that he call back in the afternoon.

Approx. 10AM = Playboy photographer, Larry Schiller, stops by Fifth Helena to discuss a potential photo shoot with Marilyn.  When he walked up the driveway, he recalled seeing Marilyn kneeling outside her guest cottage, picking flowers.  They briefly discuss the shoot, but Marilyn isn’t sure she wants to further her reputation as a “sex object.”  They table the discussion until Monday.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died? Girl Who Travels the World

Floor plan of Marilyn Monroe’s house on Fifth Helena, at the time of her death.

12PM = Mrs. Murray recalls that Pat Newcomb, Marilyn’s publicist & “friend,” wakes up around noon.  Newcomb had slept in the “Phone Room.”  Upon entering the kitchen & finding Marilyn, the two have another argument.  Newcomb said they argued because she “had been able to sleep all night, & Marilyn hadn’t.”  But this doesn’t make sense, as Marilyn had expressly invited Newcomb to stay over in order to get a good night’s rest. 

***Mrs. Murray & Norman Jefferies later said that the true cause of the argument, was Newcomb’s loyalty to the Kennedy’s vs. to Marilyn (a continuation of their Friday night argument).  The disagreement became so heated, Jefferies says it led to Marilyn firing Newcomb as her publicist. 

Despite her dismissal, Newcomb remains at Marilyn’s, staying close to the “Phone Room.”  Newcomb later said in an interview that she & Marilyn ate burgers that day, which were prepared by Mrs. Murray.  This was a lie.  Mrs. Murray stated that Pat ate alone, & reiterated that Marilyn didn’t eat anything that day (which the autopsy proved). 

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died, Girl Who Travels the World

Marilyn Monroe & her publicist, Pat Newcomb. The two quarreled about Newcomb’s close friendship with the Kennedy’s, on the morning of Marilyn’s death.

Was Bobby Kennedy in LA on August 4th?

Around 11AM = On Fox Studio’s lot, a helicopter touched down shortly after 11AM, on the heliport near Stage 14 (corroborated by the studio’s security log).  Studio publicist, Frank Neill, was working that day, & was surprised to see Bobby Kennedy emerge from the helicopter, then disappear into a waiting limousine.  Neill also caught a glimpse of Peter Lawford. 

The arrival of Bobby Kennedy in Los Angeles was further corroborated by former LAPD Police Chief, Daryl Gates.  Gates was Police Chief from 1978-1992, but in the early 1960’s, he provided security detail for Police Chief William H. Parker.

“The truth is, we knew Robert Kennedy was in town on August 4th, 1962.”


Former LAPD Police Chief, Daryl Gates (Chief from 1978-1992)

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died? Girl Who Travels the World, Police Chief Parker & JFK

At the time of Marilyn Monroe’s death, LA’s Police Chief was William H. Parker (pictured here shaking hands with JFK).

Further testimony for Robert Kennedy’s presence in Los Angeles on the weekend of August 4th, 1962, was also provided by former Los Angeles Mayor, Sam Yorty ~ as well as retired police chief, Tom Reddin, who was Chief Parker’s assistant in 1962.

“I had a conversation with Chief Parker, & he told me himself that Robert Kennedy had arrived in Los Angeles that day [August 4th, 1962], & checked into the Beverly Hilton Hotel.”


Former Los Angeles Mayor, Sam Yorty (L.A. Mayor from 1961-1973)

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died, Girl Who Travels the World, Beverly Hilton Hotel

The Beverly Hilton Hotel was a well-known favorite haunt for the Kennedy family when they visited Los Angeles.

“It was reported to me by security officers that the Attorney General [Robert Kennedy] was in Los Angeles on the weekend when Marilyn Monroe died.”


Retired Police Chief, Tom Reddin (Assistant to Chief Parker, in 1962)

In the award-winning, 1985 BBC documentary, “Say Goodbye to the President,” Eunice Murray was interviewed about that day.  As the camera crew was cleaning up, she said something that shocked the interviewer:  “Why, at my age, do I still have to cover up this thing?”  He asked her what she meant, & she said, “I was not supposed to know the Kennedy’s were a very important part of Marilyn’s life, but over a period of time, I was a witness to what was happening.”  When asked directly if Bobby Kennedy had been in Marilyn’s home on August 4th, 1962, Mrs. Murray replied, “Oh sure, yes, I was in the living room when he arrived.  She was not dressed.” 

She then said what is possibly most disturbing of all:

“It became so sticky that the protectors of Robert Kennedy, you know, had to step in and protect him…”


– Eunice Murray, Marilyn’s housekeeper

What Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died?

Afternoon of August 4th, 1962 = Norman Jefferies is loading tools into his truck when Eunice Murray comes out of Fifth Helena, & tells him that she too, has been fired by Marilyn.  “Marilyn expected Eunice to be gone by the end of the day.”  Norman offered to help Mrs. Murray pack up her belongings, & wondered if he was also to be fired, “but Marilyn had gone to her room.”

Between 3-4PM = Norman Jefferies states that Robert Kennedy arrived at Fifth Helena with Peter Lawford, sometime between 3-4PM.  Pat Newcomb was still there. 

“Mr. Lawford made it very clear that he wanted Eunice & I out of there…he told us to go the market.  When we came back – maybe it was an hour later – their car was gone, & when we went into the house, Marilyn was hysterical & looked awful.  Something terrible had happened, she was scared out of her mind…having this hysterical rage.  It was like nothing I’ve ever seen.  She was scared, & at the same time, she was incredibly angry.”


Norman Jefferies, Marilyn’s handyman

Newcomb tries to calm Marilyn down ~ with no success.  Mrs. Murray then calls Dr. Greenson & says there’s an emergency; he promises to come right over.

This testimony is also corroborated by Marilyn’s hairstylist & famous “Stylist to the Stars,” Sydney Guilaroff.  In a 1995 interview, he stated that he spoke to Marilyn twice on the day of her death, first, late afternoon.  “She was in an absolute state,” he said.  When he finally calmed her down, she said, “Bobby Kennedy was here, & he threatened me, screamed at me, & pushed me around!”  Guilaroff was shocked: he knew about her affair with JFK, but knew nothing of an affair with Bobby.  “She told me she had an affair with Bobby as well as Jack, & everything had gone wrong.  Now she was afraid, & felt she was in terrible danger.  Bobby had said, ‘If you threaten me, Marilyn, there’s more than one way to keep you quiet.'”

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died? Girl Who Travels the World

Marilyn Monroe & her hairstylist, Sydney Guilaroff. He was stylist not only to Marilyn, but to several Hollywood stars.

And once again, this testimony (of Bobby Kennedy’s presence in Monroe’s home on the day of her death), was confirmed by one of Los Angeles’ most famous private investigators: Fred Otash.  He had been hired to “bug” Marilyn’s home by parties looking for dirt on the Kennedy brothers.  As such, he had surveillance tapes of what occurred in her home on August 4th.  Otash could hear Marilyn & Bobby quarreling violently.  She told him, “I feel used; I feel passed around!”  And she shouted that she was being treated “like a piece of meat.” 

“I feel used!  I feel passed around!  I’m being treated like a piece of meat!”


– Marilyn to Bobby Kennedy on the day of her death, as recorded by Fred Otash

As their voices grew louder & louder, it became evident that Kennedy was looking for something.  Many believe that he was looking for Marilyn’s little red diary of secrets.  “Where is it?!  Where is it?” he kept asking.  “Where the fuck is it?”  Coat hangers were pushed around, & Monroe finally screamed at them, ordering them out of the house.

What Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died?

Between 4:30-5PM = Norman Jefferies & Mrs. Murray return around 4:30PM, to find Marilyn in a hysterical state.  Mrs. Murray calls Dr. Greenson, who arrives at Marilyn’s around 5PM; he attends to her in her bedroom, while Mrs. Murray & Pat Newcomb stay in the living room.  At some point, Dr. Greenson comes out of Marilyn’s room, & asks Pat if she plans to leave.  She gets up & leaves the house, not looking too happy about it, according to Mrs. Murray. 

(Pat Newcomb later shows up at Peter Lawford’s beach house, about a 15-minute drive from Marilyn’s, around 9PM, as witnessed by George Durgom ~ a dinner guest of Lawford’s that night.)

Around 6:30PM = Marilyn’s masseuse, Ralph Roberts, calls back.  A man answers the phone, whose voice he recognizes as Dr. Greenson.  The man (Greenson) tells Ralph that Marilyn isn’t home, which Ralph finds strange.  He leaves a message for Marilyn to call him back. 

Note: Dr. Greenson wrote a letter to Dr. Marianne Kris on August 20th, 1962, wherein he told her that Marilyn wished to “terminate her therapy” with him.  If this is true, then Marilyn was most certainly “cleaning house” on the day of her death, by dismissing most, if not all, of those closest to her.

What Really Happened to Marilyn Monroe, Girl Who Travels the World, Dr. Ralph Greenson

Dr. Ralph Greenson, Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatrist in the final years of her life. He told a colleague that Marilyn wished to “terminate her therapy” with him.

Around 7PM = Dr. Greenson leaves Marilyn’s, telling her to take some Nembutal (a powerful barbiturate that causes sleep), & get a good night’s rest.  Greenson asks Murray to stay the night & keep an eye on Marilyn, & Murray in turn asks Norman Jefferies to stay, too; she is unnerved by the day’s events.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died?

Between 7-9:30PM = Marilyn, with the telephone in her room, makes several phone calls (she was a well-known lover of making late night phone calls, all throughout her life).  

7:30PM = Peter Lawford’s dinner guests, Joe & Dolores Naar, remember Peter getting a call from Marilyn around 7:30PM.  When he returned from the call, he said, “Oh, that’s just Marilyn again.”  Around the same time, Joe DiMaggio, Jr. called & spoke with Marilyn for about 15 minutes.  He said they had a lively conversation about his girlfriend, & that “Marilyn seemed quite normal & in good spirits.”

Between 8-8:30PM = Sydney Guilaroff (her hairstylist) speaks with her again.  He said, “She was feeling much better & had met with her psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson, who I frankly detested.  She ended the conversation with the provoking comment, ‘You know, Sidney, I know a lot of secrets about the Kennedy’s.'”  He asked her, what kind of secrets?  “Dangerous ones,” she replied.

9PM = Jeanne Carmen says that Marilyn called her again, asking once more for Jeanne to come over.  Jeanne declined, saying she was tired.  Also around 9PM, Marilyn’s New York friend, Henry Rosenfeld, called her.  They discussed an upcoming theater party to be held in September, & he said, “She sounded groggy, but that wasn’t unusual.”

9:30PM = Mexican screenwriter (& rumored lover) of Marilyn’s, Jose Bolanos, called her around 9:30PM.  This would be the last phone call she would take that night.  Jose was in Los Angeles, having flown in to see Marilyn.  At some point during their conversation, Marilyn sets the phone down to answer the door.  She never came back to the phone.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died, Girl Who Travels the World, Jose Bolanos & Marilyn

Marilyn dated Mexican screenwriter, Jose Bolanos, in the months before her death, & they attended the Golden Globes together on March 5th, 1962.

Between 9:30-10PM = Norman Jefferies recalls Robert Kennedy arriving at Marilyn’s front door with two (unknown) men, sometime between 9:30-10PM.  The men ask Jefferies & Mrs. Murray to leave the house, & they did ~ but they didn’t leave the neighborhood.  They went to a neighbor’s house instead.  Jefferies didn’t recognize either of the men with Kennedy. 

**This is not the only the testimony about Robert Kennedy’s arrival at Marilyn’s home that night.  One of Marilyn’s neighbors, Elizabeth Pollard, was playing bridge with friends, as she often did on Saturday nights.  Shortly after dusk, “Bobby Kennedy walked right by the window on his way into Marilyn’s house.”  They also said there were two men with him.  Pollard told her story to Police Sergeant Jack Clemmons, but the testimony was later dismissed by police & the D.A., who called it an “aberration.”  The “official” story, was that Bobby Kennedy was in San Francisco with his family, on August 4th, 1962.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died? Girl Who Travels the World

Bobby Kennedy & his family WERE in Northern California, the weekend of Marilyn’s death. But, unless the testimony of 18 people ~ including L.A.’s Mayor & Police Chief is incorrect, he was ALSO in L.A. on the day Marilyn died.

It’s unknown exactly what occurred during the thirty minutes that Bobby Kennedy & the two men were inside Marilyn’s home.  The only possible testimony to this would be from Otash’s surveillance tapes. 

10:30PM = Around 10:30PM, Mrs. Murray & Norman Jefferies watch Bobby Kennedy & the two men leave Marilyn’s home.  At about the same time, Peter Lawford receives an alarming call from Marilyn, where she lapses into unconsciousness during the call.  Extremely worried, Lawford calls Joe Naar (who had been at his house earlier for dinner), & asks Naar to check on Marilyn; the Naars live close to her.

Norman Jefferies & Mrs. Murray return to Marilyn’s just after 10:30PM; they hear her dog barking from the guest cottage: the light is on, & the door is open.  Upon entering the cottage, they find Marilyn lying, unclothed, across the daybed.  (The guest cottage is where Marilyn kept her files & file cabinet; Kennedy & his men may have continued their search for her diary in here.) 

“I thought she was dead,” Jefferies said.  “She was face-down, her hand kind of holding the phone.  It didn’t look to me like she was breathing, & her color was awful – like she was dead.  Eunice took the phone & called an ambulance.  Then she put through an emergency call to Dr. Greenson, who was…nearby, & said he would be right over.  He [also] told Eunice to call Dr. [Hyman] Engelberg.” 

Norman went outside to wait for the ambulance, but before it arrived, “Peter Lawford & Pat Newcomb arrived.  Pat became hysterical & started screaming.”  Norman took Eunice into the main house.

What Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died?

Around 11PM = Schaefer Ambulance drivers, James Hall & Murray Leibowitz, are three minutes away from 12305 Helena Drive when they receive a Code Three call to the Monroe residence.  Hall reports entering the guest cottage & finding Marilyn comatose, on the bed.  He also reports seeing a hysterical woman in the room (who he later identifies as Pat Newcomb), as well as Peter Lawford.  They place Marilyn on her back, on the floor, & try to resuscitate her.  But then, a doctor enters the room (Hall later identifies him as Dr. Greenson), & orders Hall to remove the resuscitator.  Greenson then injects adrenaline into Marilyn’s heart, but Hall says the needle hits a rib instead, & Marilyn dies moments later. 

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died, Girl Who Travels the World

Schaefer Ambulance Service provided ground & air emergency transport in the 1960’s, as well as in the present-day.

Norman Jefferies was still in the main house with Eunice when Marilyn died.  He says, they “could hear Pat Newcomb screaming, & [they] knew Marilyn was dead.”  After that, he says, “all hell broke loose…there were police cars, fire trucks, more ambulances – you name it.  A police helicopter landed at the golf course [Brentwood Country Club is across the street from Fifth Helena Drive], & soon they were all over the place.” 

Norman Jefferies says that there were at least a dozen plainclothes police officers in Marilyn’s home after she died, & he had no idea who they were, or why they were there.  (Captain James Hamilton & Marvin Iannone of the LAPD, were both later identified as being at the scene.  They often provided security detail for the Kennedy’s when in L.A.)

11:30PM = Mr. & Mrs. Abe Landau, next-door neighbors of Marilyn’s, came home around 11:30PM, & saw an ambulance & police car parked in front of Marilyn’s home.  Around midnight, other neighbors heard a helicopter hovering overhead.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died, Girl Who Travels the World

The gate entrance to Marilyn’s home, with the guest cottage on the right, closest to the driveway.

Shortly Before Midnight = A dark Mercedes is speeding east on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills, & Police Officer Lynn Franklin clocks it going over 55 MPH.  Flipping on his siren, he pulls the car over ~ & recognizes Peter Lawford as the driver.  Flashing his light into the back seat, Franklin is surprised to see the Attorney General of the United States, Robert Kennedy, & beside him, another man (Franklin later identifies him as Dr. Greenson).  Lawson explains that he’s rushing the Attorney General to the Beverly Hilton Hotel on urgent business (the Hilton is east of both Marilyn & Lawford’s homes).  Franklin waves them on, reminding them that Olympic is a 35 MPH zone.

Franklin was the most highly-decorated officer in Beverly Hills police force history.

******* ******** *******

4:25AM, on August 5th, 1962 = Sergeant Jack Clemmons is on duty as watch commander, at the West Los Angeles Police Department.  At 4:25AM, he logs a call from Dr. Hyman Engelberg, who says, “Marilyn Monroe has died.  She’s committed suicide.” 

Though Marilyn died around 10:30PM the previous evening, with enough barbiturate in her body to kill 15 people (yet, with no pill residue found in her stomach) ~ the police aren’t called until 4:25AM the next day.  

What happened during the more than six hours between Marilyn’s death & Dr. Engelberg’s telephoning the police?? 

That’s what we’ll dig into next time, in Part 4 of this series: The Cover-Up of Marilyn Monroe’s Death.

What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died?

Thank you for reading, “What Really Happened the Day Marilyn Monroe Died,” the third article in this series on the strange events surrounding the film star’s death.  The most staggering part of all this testimony is not just the fact that Bobby Kennedy was in Marilyn’s home that day ~ but how many people actually SAW him there.  And most damning: that Marilyn was found comatose after he left her home (with two men) the second time, around 10:30PM, & was never to be revived again. 

xoxo Noelia 

Read Next: Part 4 ~ The Cover-Up of Marilyn Monroe’s Death



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