Marilyn Monroe’s Autopsy Report and Cause of Death

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Marilyn Monroe's Autopsy Report
Learn about the circumstances surrounding Marilyn Monroe's death and the autopsy report.

About Marilyn Monroe

More than 50 years have passed since the world lost the beautiful, beloved sweetheart and sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. Anyone who met her, watched her movies, or listened to her music, clearly remembers the wit, charm and beauty that she brought to life both on and off the silver screen. This article provides an overview of the circumstances surrounding her death. In addition, it provides information on the investigation that followed and the results of Marilyn Monroe’s autopsy report.

Born as Norma Jean Baker, this blonde-haired American actress struggled through many problems in her life. Deemed as the first true sex symbol of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe experienced tumultuous relationships on both the personal and professional front. Though she starred in many different movie roles, Marilyn Monroe often portrayed the role of a ditzy, innocent and well-natured blonde.

Circumstances Surrounding Marilyn Monroe’s Death

During the last few weeks of her life, Marilyn showed some signs of trouble. Prior to her death, she was in the process of shooting for the film Something’s Got to Give with actors Dean Martin and George Cukor. Considered to be an ill-fated film from the very the beginning, Marilyn often failed to show up on set because of sickness caused by mixing sleeping pills with alcohol. The film was never completed and Marilyn was eventually fired by the production company.

On August 4, her manager recalled that she was facing problems with sleep and was acting annoyed and moody. During that time, she spent most of her with her friend and psychiatrist Dr Ralph Greenson. He noticed her mood and behavioral issues and prescribed a barbiturate to help her relax. The same evening, Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn’s fiance visited her home to discuss their former relationship and possibly rekindle a new one. It is believed that she spent that day in a great mood and even spoke to her close friends on the phone.

In the early hours of August 5, 1962, Marilyn’s housekeeper found her in the bedroom, nude and unresponsive. At 4:25 AM, the Los Angeles police department received a telephone call from her physician that she had committed suicide.

Upon arrival, the police detectives found her lying in her bed, along with an empty bottle of barbiturates. In many cases that involve the self-administered overdose of sleeping pills, the victim will experience cramping in the legs along with vomiting. As a result, their body ends up in a distorted position. However, the police found Marylin in a seemingly comfortable position on her stomach. Later this led to speculation that someone else administered the drugs.

Marilyn Monroe’s Autopsy Report

According to the certificate of death filed with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk, Marilyn Monroe’s autopsy report states that she died of acute barbiturate poisoning due to ingestion of overdose

T. Noguchi, M.D. the Deputy Medical Examiner at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Mortuary performed the autopsy on August 5, 1962. In the report, he states that the cause of death was a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs. In addition, the mode of death is probable suicide.

The toxicologist determined that she took a lethal dose of nembutal, a drug used to treat anxiety, nervousness, and tension. In addition, she took a large dose of chloral hydrate, a drug used as a sedative.

As part of the investigation into her death, the Psychiatric Investigative Team revealed their opinion about her life situation, and why they thought it led her to take her own life. They revealed that Miss Monroe suffered from psychiatric disturbances such as:

  • Severe fear
  • Depression
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Suicidal thoughts (including several attempted suicides)

In the months prior to her death, she was under the supervision of a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist recommended that she reduce the amount of drugs she was taking.

Some people speculated that someone murdered the actress. Some theories suggested that someone administered the drugs rectally through an enema. However, the autopsy results proved the theory wrong.

FBI File

For more information, visit the FBI Vault to view their files on the well-known actress. The FBI compiled information on her before and after her death.

Questions and Comments

Dead at the young age of 36, her family, friends and her adoring fans around the world will always remember her.

If you have any questions about Marilyn Monroe’s Autopsy Report, please leave a comment below. Get the scoop on more celebrity drama. Check out more Celebrity Investigations.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.

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