14 Truly Mind-Blowing Theories About Marilyn Monroe’s Death

By: Nina Kahn
July 16, 2019

It’s hard to not think of America’s 20th century without a vision of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe coming to mind. She’s become almost a mythical being in a canon of U.S. pop culture history — the all-American girl with small town roots (she was allegedly raised in the foster care system) who rose to stardom and ended up being one of the most iconic sex symbols of all time.

But the truth about Marilyn Monroe’s life and death is shrouded in mystery.

Monroe didn’t grow up living the ritzy life — she apparently bounced around from foster home to foster home throughout her youth. After some years modeling as a pin-up girl, Monroe rose to fame in the early fifties as a film actress, gaining international notoriety and fame. Sex symbol that she was, she attracted plenty of media attention and speculation around her personal affairs. And due to her premature death (Monroe died in 1962 at age 36 in a drug overdose that was eventually ruled a “probable suicide”), there have been countless theories that emerged to explain exactly what happened to the young starlet during her final moments — and the private moments throughout her life.

Theories about Monroe have swirled around the American consciousness since her lifetime. While you’ve probably heard of some, you’ll probably be pretty shocked by others… like the one that involves her allegedly being killed for having top secret intel on aliens and extraterrestrial objects. I’m tellin’, you, it’s wild — but you’ll have to read on to find out for yourself. Check out these 14 theories on Marilyn Monroe’s life and untimely death that’ll make you see the star in a whole new light.

1. Marilyn Had An Affair With President John F. Kennedy

“Happy birthday, Mr. President…”

Who could forget this iconic and sexy birthday performance for the U.S. president himself? Monroe’s sultry serenade  — which, might I add, took place just a few short months before her sudden death — was the catalyst for decades of rumors surrounding the alleged affair between Monroe and then-president JFK. Rumors had already been flying, but this risqué-for-the-time performance sealed the envelope of confirmation on the Monroe/Kennedy love affair theory for many.

And while Marilyn’s affair with JFK may not be fully substantiated, there is reason to believe they had at least a brief rendezvous.

In Marilyn Monroe: The Biography, author Donald Spoto wrote of a conversation he’d had with Marilyn’s close friend Ralph Roberts, who claimed she had called him from a party at Bing Crosby’s California home in March of 1962 — and that he had heard JFK’s voice in the background. He wrote of the incident in Marilyn’s biography:

“Marilyn told me that this night in March was the only time of her ‘affair’ with JFK,” Roberts said. “A great many people thought, after that weekend, that there was more to it. But Marilyn gave me the impression that it was not a major event for either of them: it happened once, that weekend, and that was that.”

It makes sense that this theory is one of the most talked about. After all, these were two of the biggest icons in the U.S. at the time — and to boot, the affair would have been illicit and highly scandalous, as JFK was married to first lady Jackie Kennedy. To shroud the theory in an even thicker layer of mystery, both Monroe and Kennedy would go on to meet tragic, untimely fates.

2. Marilyn Also Had An Affair With Robert F. Kennedy

Marilyn Monroe wasn’t just linked to JFK — there’s also evidence that points to a relationship with former attorney general Robert Kennedy.

And yes, we’re talking about JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy.

“It was pretty clear that Marilyn had had sexual relations with both Bobby and Jack,” said James Spada, one of Marilyn Monroe’s biographers, in an interview with TIME Magazine. In fact, in the JFK files that were de-classified in 2017, there were reports of a warning to Robert Kennedy regarding his “intimate relationship” with Monroe being mentioned in a book about her death that was to be published in 1964.

3. Marilyn’s Death May Not Have Been A Suicide At All

While the police initially called Marilyn’s deadly barbiturate overdose an accident, the coroner dubbed it a “probable suicide” based on the amount of drugs found in her system that were believed to have been consumed in a short amount of time. But conspiracy theorists (and even historians) have questioned this assertion.

“The coroner’s report stated that Monroe’s death was due to a massive overdose of 47 Nembutal capsules but there was no trace of drugs in her stomach, or evidence of her having taken the tablets orally,” reported The Independent.

“Later, Sgt Jack Clemmons of the LAPD claimed that it looked as if her body had been posed on the bed, legs stretched out perfectly straight, unlike the contorted bodies of most victims who have overdosed on sleeping tablets,” the article continued.

While Monroe’s official cause of death hasn’t been updated, the speculation continues to be the subject of many books, films, and editorials.

4. Marilyn’s Involvement With The Kennedy Brothers May Have Actually Led To Her Death

Political intrigue at its finest. Many people believe that Monroe’s intimacy with the politically powerful Kennedy brothers may have led to a conspiracy against her life.

Some reports claim she was killed after threatening to go public about her affair with JFK (who had planned to run for re-election).

In fact, there is some possible evidence that points to Robert Kennedy being with Monroe on the night before she was found dead. “[W]itnesses claim to have heard a disturbing tape, from the bugged Monroe home the night of her death, on which the voices of Lawford [Peter Lawford, the actor who reportedly introduced Monroe and JFK], an angry Bobby Kennedy and a screaming Monroe are audible,” reported People Magazine. Interesting…

5. Marilyn Had Secret Info About… Aliens?

Here’s a fun one. Apparently among the dangerous information that Monroe gleaned from her cavorting with the Kennedy’s was insight into top secret info about alien life forms. According to 2017 documentary Unacknowledged, conspiracy theorist Dr. Steven Greer produces an allegedly classified CIA memo issued two days before Monroe’s death.

According to the alleged CIA memo, JFK had “told [Marilyn] that he had seen proof of ‘things from outer space’ while at a secret airbase,” as reported by Affinity  — which in turn, made Monroe a threat.

Could Monroe have been privy to government secrets pertaining to extraterrestrial life forms? Or is this theory a little too far from planet Earth?

6. The Mafia May Have Been Involved In Marilyn’s Death

Apparently Mafia leader Sam Giancana wanted Monroe dead. Author and biographer Darwin Porter, who wrote Marilyn At Rainbow’s End: Sex, Lies, Murder And The Great Cover-Up, claimed Monroe was “threatening to blow the lid off his operations” after entering into a contract with him that involved seducing powerful men so he could blackmail them in the future and use the illicit relationship to his advantage. If this theory is true, it didn’t work out so well for Monroe.

“Porter believes five Mafia hit men were responsible for her murder on the order of Giancana, using a washcloth drenched in chloroform, then stripping Monroe and giving her a barbiturate enema,” reported SBS.

“In another twist, Porter posits it could also have been one of the Kennedy’s that hired the Mob boss to get rid of Monroe,” continued SBS. Either way, the barbiturate enema aligns with the fact that the medication found in her bloodstream didn’t appear to be in her stomach during her autopsy.

7. Marilyn’s Maid May Have Helped To Accidentally Kill Her

According to The Independent, there’s a theory that Monroe’s housekeeper, Eunice Murray, may have been in on an event that would lead to the starlet’s death.

“Her housekeeper Eunice Murray and her psychiatrist, Greenson, administer a barbiturate-laced enema to calm Monroe down, which reacts with other drugs in her body with fatal consequences,” wrote The Independent. “When the police arrived, they find Eunice doing the laundry. Some biographers insist it was murder, with Greenson variously seen as a spy for the Comintern, the FBI or at least on the Fox pay roll. Murray, they claim, was in league with Greenson and had been sacked by Monroe the day before for insolence.”

If this were the case, then it surely had gone terribly wrong.

8. A CIA Agent Assassinated Marilyn Monroe

So in 2015, a dying CIA operative and hitman named Normand Hodges reportedly claimed that he assassinated 37 people, including Marilyn Monroe, at the request of the government.

“According to Hodges, Marilyn Monroe was the only woman he ever assassinated,” reported the Inquisitr. “Hodges said Marilyn ‘had to die.’ Monroe had to be eliminated because the famed actress had become a ‘threat for the security of the country.'”

A fantastic tale indeed. However, Snopes.com has since proven this theory to be a hoax, so you can take your pick from the many other selections I’ve provided you with here instead.

9. Marilyn May Have Died At An Exclusive Resort in Lake Tahoe

While Marilyn’s body was discovered in her own bed at at her Los Angeles home, some theorists speculate that she may have actually died at the exclusive Cal Neva Resort near the border of Nevada — which was a hot, private vacation spot for the rich and powerful — and also the site of one of the last photographs of Monroe ever taken.

According to Marilyn’s hairdresser, George Masters, he was with Marilyn at the Cal Neva on August 4, 1962 — the day of her death —  which would mean she wasn’t in Los Angeles as other reports claim.

And according to Jay Margolis, author of Marilyn Monroe: A Case For Murder, Monroe endured the harrowing ordeal of being assaulted by two mobsters during her final days at Cal Neva. “She reportedly flew back… a lot of people think maybe she didn’t take a plane, maybe she was driven down to Brentwood, California and if she was conscious or not, nobody knows… so if Marilyn Monroe did die here, she died in the heart shaped bed that used to be here,” said Cal Neva Resort tour guide Hans Weig in an interview with CBS SF Bay Area.

10. Marilyn Kept A Little Book Of Secrets

Many of us keep a diary — but when your personal dramas include fraternizing with the president and his attorney general brother, your insider intel might be, well, a little more valuable.

There is much talk of Monroe’s mysterious “little red book,” in which she is said to have recorded information about the men she’d slept with — and which allegedly disappeared after her death. “Monroe was also thought to be a liability, allegedly keeping records of conversations detailing highly confidential government information in a ‘little red book,'” reported Special Broadcasting Services (SBS) on its site.

The Independent echoed this sentiment, reporting that “Marilyn was known to keep a little black book documenting all her affairs and conversations.” And perhaps the existence of such documentation put her at risk: “At the time of her death, Hollywood rumours were circulating that she was about to announce a press conference the following Monday,” continued The Independent. It’s also said that on the night of Monroe’s death, it’s unknown how many people had access to her home. “Papers were destroyed, telephone records seized. Were they searching for that little black book?” asks The Independent. It’s very possible.

11. Marilyn’s Daddy Issues Caused Relationship Drama Through Her Life

Marilyn grew up in the foster care system and never knew her father outside a photograph, which she treasured. But the lack of a father figure in her life left a gaping wound in her heart.

“Monroe’s ‘relationship’ with her father was the catalyst for a string of problematic and even disturbing encounters with men,” explained New York Post.

The article explained that Monroe had reached out to her father in hope of connecting as she was rising to fame, but was rejected. She also allegedly expressed that she wanted to  ‘put on a black wig, pick up her father in a bar and make love to him,’ according to the New York Post. Definitely a sentiment that falls on the disturbing side, if you ask me.

As Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon author Charles Casillo said,”She put all her hopes in the men she was with … It’s what she was always looking for — this is my father, this is my savior,” he said in the New York Post. Perhaps the pain of her missing father really did contribute to the rocky romantic relationships she was drawn to throughout her life.

12. Marilyn Was No “Dumb Blonde” — She Was Quite Intelligent

While the blond bombshell was known for her “innocent” demeanor and was certainly more celebrated for her appearance than her smarts, many believe she was actually not the “dumb blonde” she may have been unfairly pegged as.

Marilyn was known for her insightful, funny, and well-spoken quotes — which are enough to betray the dumb blonde stereotype she’d been boxed into.

It’s silly to assume a person’s intelligence level without knowing them personally (or by relying upon their public persona or movie roles alone), but people put it on Marilyn nonetheless. And although she didn’t receive a formal education, it’s said that her diaries also denoted a talent for writing and expressing her thoughts.

13. Marilyn Wasn’t A Size 12

Marilyn Monroe is often touted for being representative of a different time in beauty history, and celebrated for being “thicker” than the often rail-thin actresses we see in Hollywood today.

Was Marilyn really as curvacious as we like to believe? Apparently not.

“How this myth got started isn’t exactly known,” explained Today I Found Out on its site. “One possible contributing factor to this myth was Marilyn Monroe’s atypical extreme hour glass shape.  More directly, it probably partially stems from the fact that women’s sizes today are not at all equivalent to women’s sizes in the 1950s.” According to the article, Monroe was listed as being between 115-120 pounds by both her dressmaker and Hollywood Studios, and her measurements lined up closer to a size 2 than a size 12.

14. Perhaps Marilyn Isn’t Dead After All

This isn’t the first time the public has speculated over whether a dead celebrity may actually be alive and well — whether hiding out on a secret island or living a secret new life. So I’ll leave you with this final theory: That Marilyn didn’t die in 1962 at all.

YouTuber and author John Baker claims that Monroe’s psychiatrist had her committed to an institution in New Brunswick, Canada after she’d experienced a breakdown due to receiving so many threats against her life — and that her death was faked because of this, as a way to protect her.

In the description of his book, Marilyn Monroe: Alive in 1984, Baker describes “a homeless, frightened, paranoid schizophrenic, hitch hiking woman” who bore an uncanny resemblance to Marilyn Monroe — and who claimed that she was, in fact, the former starlet herself.

Mental illness did apparently run in Monroe’s family: Her mother spent most of her life in a psychiatric clinic, according to The Independent, which was something Monroe deeply feared. It’s also known that Monroe struggled with mental health issues and addiction, and had even checked herself into a clinic in 1961 as a result of depression.

Is it possible her death was an elaborate hoax, and that the real Marilyn spent years in a hospital, only to end up homeless and hitch hiking? It’s a little far-fetched, but, hey.