At 4:25 A.M. On August 5, 1962, Sergeant Jack Clemmons of the West Los Angeles Police Department answered a phone call. According to some reports, the caller identified himself as Dr. Ralph Greenson. Greenson was Marilyn Monroe's personal psychiatrist and analyst. According to other reports, the caller identified himself as Dr. Hyman Engleberg, Monroe's internist. According to Donald H. Wolfe, in his book, The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, the caller was Engelberg (4). Agitated to the point that Clemmons was unable at first to understand the message that the physician was trying to convey, when the caller finally calmed himself enough to convey his message, it was one that was immediately suspicious and remains today the subject of outrage. "I am calling from the house of Marilyn Monroe," he said. "She is dead. She just committed suicide."
Suicide, however, implies that one acts alone to end one's life. As forensic toxicology now shows, this statement referring to the cause of death was not accurate. It could not have been accurate. Marilyn Monroe could not have died in the manner suggested. While reports will show that Monroe died by someone else's hand rather than her own, the question of who did this remained a deliberate blur.
The list of possible suspects is impressively long. Marilyn Monroe's intimate contacts included Frank Sinatra, whose business interests included people such as Sam "Momo" Giancana, a powerful member of the Mafia. Her other contacts included Johnny Roselli who worked for Giancana, Jimmy Hoffa, and Peter Lawford. It was through the Sinatra and Lawford connection that Marilyn met and became intimate with top elected government figures including President John Kennedy and his brother Senator Robert Kennedy. Their sister, Patricia was the wife of Peter Lawford. While there were many players, it was Robert Kennedy, however, who said, "Marilyn has got to be silenced (Heymann 322)."
Marilyn had such extensive access to sensitive and secret information that the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and J. Edgar Hoover, himself, felt that equally extensive surveillance of her home, telephone conversations and activities was in order. It is through some of the surveillance notes obtained now through the Freedom of Information Act, and through many years of investigative journalism that an incredible path can be traced.
The path leads through the multiple trysts with the many, many people, and then leads to an extraordinary CIA "TOP SECRET" document pertaining to Monroe's being viewed as a possible threat to national security. A copy of the document as found in Wolfe's book describes Monroe's conversation with Howard Rothberg, who was a source for reporter Dorothy Kilgallen. Rothberg's phone was tapped, and the wiretap report is as follows:
"Rothberg indicated in so many words, that she [Monroe] had secrets to tell, no doubt arising from her trists [sic] with the President and the Attorney General. One such [illegible] mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purposes of inspecting things from outer space. Kilgallen replied that she knew what might be the source of visit. In the mid-fifties Kilgallen learned of secret effort by U.S. And UK governments to identify the origins of crashed spacecraft and dead bodies, from a British government official . . . Subject [Monroe] threatened to hold a press conference and would tell all . . . Subject [Monroe] made references to 'bases' n Cuba and knew of the President's plan to kill Castro . . . Subject [Monroe] made reference to her 'diary of secrets' and what the newspapers would do with such disclosures (469)."
The date of the above "Top Secret" document was "3 August 1962." Marilyn Monroe would be dead within a day. Cause of death: acute barbiturate poisoning. Dorothy Kilgallen, who also conducted an investigation of Jack Ruby after John Kennedy's assassination, would also die under questionable circumstances on the night of November 8, 1965 before she could reveal the findings of her investigation. Cause of death: acute barbiturate poisoning.
On the afternoon of August 3, a Friday, a somber Robert and Ethel Kennedy arrived in San Francisco. According to Wolfe, the San Francisco Chronicle stated Kennedy "arrived without his usual flashing smile and shook hands woodenly with those who welcomed him (51)." Although friends of the family insisted that Kennedy remained in the that area the entire weekend, numerous other individuals, including detectives, police chiefs, and - after twenty-three years of denial Monroe's housekeeper, Eunice Murray - eventually admitted and confirmed the presence of Robert Kennedy at the residence of Marilyn Monroe on August 4 (455).
In 1985, NBC News executive, Mark Monsky, directed investigative journalists to a government contact who had listened to approximately forty minutes of the surveillance tape running in Monroe's home on the afternoon of August 4. What he heard revealed a "vitriolic" argument between Robert Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe several hours before her death. "Where is it?" Kennedy screamed at her again and again in a voice so shrill it was hardly recognizable. Following their heated argument, Kennedy then left (457).
Later that night, three men were seen walking down the street to Monroe's house, one carrying "a small black satchel similar to a medical bag (460)." One of those men in the trio was recognized by witnesses as Bobby Kennedy. Several hours later, at approximately 10:30 that night, witnesses then saw Kennedy and the other two men leave Monroe's residence. A police officer, Lynn Franklin would shortly later pull over a speeding Mercedes driving east on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Upon aiming his flashlight at the occupants of the Mercedes, he immediately recognized the driver as Peter Lawford. Aiming the flashlight at the two men seated in the rear, he recognized the attorney general of the United States, Robert Kennedy. The man sitting beside him was Dr. Ralph Greenson (463).
Although it is not known if the intent was to murder Marilyn Monroe, or simply subdue her while Kennedy and the others broke into her file cabinets order to confiscate her diary, notes, letters and other documents that might have proved to be an embarrassment to numerous government officials, Wolfe and others speculate that this was a premeditated murder. Simply removing the evidence would not have silenced Marilyn Monroe. Death would, however (APB).
"In the presence of Bobby Kennedy, she was injected with enough barbiturates to kill fifteen people (Wolfe 463)."
Sergeant Jack Clemmons, the officer who took the incoming phone call from the distraught physician at around 4 AM, August 5, 1962 assumed he was the first public official to arrive at the scene, but later learned that hours earlier numerous police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and a helicopter had arrived, and then quietly left, without a hopeful trace - but the neighbors had noticed. Until his death in 1998, Clemmons contended that what he found on that morning was the body of someone who had been murdered in one area and then moved into the bed where he first saw her. This was in spite of the original conversation with the two doctors present that they had arrived to find Monroe in her bed, in this unusual and rigid position, and that no one had moved her. Clemmons also wondered about other inconsistencies - why had there been no glass of water found in the room where the empty pill bottles sat pointing silently to suggested "suicide," for instance. How, the officer wondered, could she have possibly locked herself into her bedroom without a glass of water, and then somehow downed enough barbiturates to kill herself many times over. The autopsy report, as well as photographs of Marilyn Monroe's body in the morgue that were illicitly taken and then leaked to the public, would help to answer that question in part.
According to the reports, Monroe's body clearly showed signs of having first been on her back after death - presumably during the attempts to revive her - and it then showed signs of having been placed into the bed face-down, as Sergeant Clemmons found her. This was determined by livor mortis, a discoloration caused by the gravitational pooling of blood into the lowest levels of the body during the hours after death. Signs of it were found on both her frontal extremities and on her back. In addition, numerous bruises were noted on her hips, arms, and the backs of her legs. This note, however, along with other evidence, including police files, telephone records would quickly disappear (Wolfe 29). A report made from the gastric contents found them to be "inconsistent with the mode of death by ingestion of large amounts of barbiturates . . .(Wolfe 30)." Monroe would have had to ingest between 50 and 90 tablets, but would have died after absorbing only 14. If they had been ingested, the remainder should have been present, undigested, but they were not. She, therefore, did not ingest them. More tests were ordered, but the tissue samples also "disappeared (Wolfe…