Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home, in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday, August 4, 1962. The 36-year-old star died of a barbiturate overdose. It has been presumed that the star took her own life. Monroe was found by her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, who discovered the star’s lifeless body in bed, nude, in the early hours of the morning. After the authorities were notified of Monroe’s death, she was taken to the local morgue.
In the years that preceded her death, Monroe became one of the most famous people on the planet. After starring in such iconic films as Some Like It Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Seven Year Itch, and Niagara. Monroe was also one of the most sought-after models on the planet. She posed for various magazines, including PlayBoy, and is still regarded as one of the most beautiful women to have ever lived.
However, after Monroe died, her body was left abandoned for hours. In fact, the star was allegedly left alone in the mortuary for more than 24 hours. Some rumours claimed her body “went missing” for hours, but there is no evidence to support these claims.
Eventually, Monroe’s body was claimed by her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, with whom she had split in 1946.
DiMaggio arranged for her funeral to be held days later on August 8, 1962. He only invited around 30 of Monroe’s closest family and friends, none of whom were from Hollywood. Police attended to keep the press and hundreds of spectators away. Still, the streets surrounding the cemetery were crowded during the service. The local minister presided over the event, and Monroe was put in a green Emilio Pucci dress. She held a small bouquet of pink roses. A recording of Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow was played during the service.
After the funeral came to an end, DiMaggio arranged for red roses to be placed at her crypt three times a week for the next 20 years.
Years after Monroe’s death, more information was revealed about her time in the morgue. Dr Thomas Noguchi was due to do carry out the autopsy on the star, but when he received Monroe’s body, he claimed samples taken from her stomach and intestines had been “destroyed”. This affected toxicology reports, he added.
He also discovered “tests were never done” on her toxicology report, with the only exceptions being her blood and liver.
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Allan Abbott, who ran the funeral service for Monroe, later wrote a tell-all book about his work for the stars. In his book, he reflected on Monroe’s state when she arrived at his workplace.
He revealed Monroe was “almost unrecognisable” when she was brought into the morgue. He also claimed the star’s face was “covered” in purple blotches, due to the position she died in.
As Monroe had died facedown, the blood rushed to her face and neck, causing discolouration and swelling. He said it was “impossible” to believe that it was the famous blonde bombshell at all.
Abbott said: “When we removed the sheet covering her, it was almost impossible to believe this was the body of Marilyn Monroe. She looked like a very average, aging woman who had not been taking very good care of herself. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding her death had greatly exacerbated her poor appearance and she was unrecognizable.” (sic)
Abbott also described her hair as “frizzy and fairly short”. “You could tell she had not bleached it for some time,” he went on. “Because the roots were darker and had grown out about half an inch. Her natural hair color was a light brown, not blonde. Her legs hadn’t been shaved for at least a week, and her lips were badly chapped. She was also in need of a manicure and pedicure.” (sic)
The morticians were forced to perform surgery on Monroe’s neck to reduce the enormous swelling caused by the blood.