Movie Article

Marilyn Monroe: Causes of Death

Various conspiracy theorists have ideas on how the bombshell died

It's a mark of Marilyn Monroe's unique place in the pop-icon pantheon that her very death has taken on a life of its own. Over the three decades since she died, conspiracy meisters from the right, the left, and Mars have been coming up with accounts of her demise that rival the most arabesque takes on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. ''Next thing you know,'' Johnny Carson has observed, ''they'll be reporting that Marilyn Monroe was the second gunman in Dallas.'' Here is a guide to the Monroe doctrines and who has espoused them.

Cause of death: Probable suicide
According to: Los Angeles County medical examiner Thomas Noguchi (''Coroner of the Stars''), county coroner Theodore J. Curphey, and the Suicide Investigation Team appointed by Curphey in 1962
Who was behind it: Only Marilyn
Why: Despondent over her fading movie career, she OD'd on barbiturates.

Cause of death: Accidental
According to: Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe (1985) by Anthony Summers
Who was behind it: Bobby Kennedy, brother-in-law Peter Lawford, and the FBI. They hushed up the awful truth about her Kennedy affairs. Dumped by Bobby, a depressed Monroe accidentally overdosed, and a cover-up was orchestrated to clean out all incriminating material from her home. Key missing item: her diary, which supposedly contained security-sensitive information.
Why: To avoid ruinous scandal.

Cause of death: Murder
According to: The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe (1964) by ultraright wing, red-baiting journalist and author Frank A. Capell
Who was behind it: Bobby Kennedy, with the help of the ''Communist Conspiracy''
Why: He feared she would go public about their affair.

Cause of death: Murder
According to: Who Killed Marilyn? (1976) by Tony Sciacca
Who was behind it: Fidel Castro
Why: Getting revenge for exploding cigars and other CIA assassination attempts by framing Bobby for the murder. (Apparently, Bobby managed to cover up any evidence.)

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