Supporting Marilyn’s suicide

An article in The Age a few weeks ago (Saturday, March 17, 2007) claimed that Robert Kennedy and the FBI were working together to conduce Marilyn Monroe’s ‘suicide’, while at the same time working to plot her murder. This article made me angry because I think it is total media-invented bullshit, and because the writer’s arguments gave Marilyn no credit and his readers little respect.

Firstly, the minutae of Philippe Mora’s report needs to be attacked. He writes, ‘The best history comes from primary documents of the time.’ Firstly, and most obviously, this claim completely ignores the importance of Monroe’s film appearances which document much of her construction and continuation of the Marilyn persona that destroyed her. Secondly, the FBI documents which vaguely reference the time surrounding her death were released twenty years after her death. The information in the files was so insignificant and mundane that I don’t believe it would have been documented unless for some purpose. Such as, it was concocted in order to discredit her intelligence, and try to dissociate her from the political scene? She may have had an affair with John, maybe even Robert, but in the end who really cares? One article quotes that she was ‘prescribed 30 (or 50, it’s hard to decipher on the document) Seconal tablets’, whereas another article, again by Mora and published on the same day in The Age, says that she was prescribed 60. What are we to think of this obvious misinformation? That the documents were incorrect, that the advocates for the case are uncertain and using constructed information to support their agenda? Yes.


I firmly believe that Marilyn had reasons to commit suicide. She had made herself into a characters, into a persona that entirely subsumed herself. In a nutshell, the effort of maintaining that persona was too much for her, and, I believe, sadly, nothing about her came to matter much except the attractive and sexual character that she gave the public and her fans in film, and in all of her public (publicised) appearances. For these reasons, there was no personal Marilyn Monroe; as she existed only in the realm of the public sphere then there was no reason for her to continue her life. She had created what was needed of her, and there was nothing left.


About cinemelo

I love to write about film and comment on culture. Hopefully providing insight and interesting thoughts for fellow cultural itinerants.
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4 Responses to Supporting Marilyn’s suicide

  1. fairy godmother says:

    I agree entirely that there was no evidence that Marilyn was “pushed”. However from a medical/psychological reading of her life the story is truly shocking, and even more shocking for being common. It seems obvious that Norma Jean was sexually abused by at least one person, probably at age 11. It is entirely possible that she was abused earlier, and unfortunately many girls who have been sexualised as children behave in an overtly sexual/flirtatious way as young women, while still having childlike mannerisms—the baby voice, the shy look. This combination of child/waif/victim/siren is irresistible to both sexes. Women either want her sex appeal or want to mother the child, and men want to be the guy on the white horse who rescues the princess from the tower and then receives her grateful caresses.
    Anyway, abused children grow up to abuse themselves—through drink, drugs, destructive relationships and all other kinds of self-harm. Suicide, whether deliberate or accidental, is all too often the result.

  2. w says:

    Good post. I agree that the FBI is an unreliable source of information. Is it just that you doubt the evidence for a “push”, or do you have evidence against it?

  3. cinemelo says:

    Not evidence per se. But I believe from what we see of her characters (on film and public appearances) that she had reasons for suicide. Lack of a being beyond what she performed for us.

  4. marina72 says:

    Good article, thanks.

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