These guys are talking about control.

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The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 1 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)


"She was sprawled over the bed and she was dead. ... I took out my stethoscope Ė and listened to make sure her heart wasn't beating."


Dr. Hyman Engelberg, speaking to an investigator.

(CBS) This story originally aired on April 22, 2006.

A veil of mystery still shrouds the 1962 death of movie star Marilyn Monroe. While her death was ruled a probable suicide, rumors persist to this day of a cover-up, and even murder.

Peter Van Sant examines newly released documents and audiotapes about the night Marilyn died and talks to the man who spearheaded an official 1982 investigation in the movie star's death.


As the sun came up on Aug. 5, 1962, it seemed so hard to believe Marilyn Monroe was dead at age 36.

How did it happen? Monroe, who had starred in 30 films and was an idol to millions, was now coronerís case No. 81128.

Days after her death, the coroner announced she had died from a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs. He ruled her death a probable suicide.

That explanation has fueled a mystery that has lasted more than 40 years.

"Marilyn Monroe, whatever else her miseries at the time, had not been talking about killing herself," says biographer and journalist Anthony Summers, who has done exhaustive research on the mystery of Monroe's death and was a consultant to 48 Hours.

"The evidence is that there was a very high level of barbiturates in Marilyn Monroe's blood. The question then comes, how did it get there?" Summers asks.

Now, there may be some answers. 48 Hours has been granted unprecedented access to the only official inquiry that looked at Monroeís death as a potential homicide. The investigation was conducted by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office in 1982. 48 Hours obtained hundreds of pages of documents and hours of audiotaped interviews with witnesses about what happened the night Marilyn died.

There were many tough questions, but the investigation really came down to just one: Was Marilyn murdered ó or did she take her own life.

It was a life that seemed to hold so much promise.

Actor Tony Curtis says he'll never forget the day he met Marilyn on the Universal movie lot. "I call Marilyn and I make a date Ö off we went down to Malibu," he recalls.

And just like it would happen later in the movies, he and Marilyn hit it off. Asked if he was in love with her, Curtis says, "I'm in love with her now. I've loved her all these years."

Back then, they were two young actors, hoping to become stars. "We were brand new, looking for a career," says Curtis. "Looking for those diamonds in the sky."

For Marilyn, there were pin-up spreads, and bit parts. Eventually, she did find those diamonds ó playing Lorelei Lee in the 1953 movie "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" was a breakthrough role for her.

The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 2 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006

Marilyn Monroe (AP)

It wasn't long before Marilyn caught the eye of a young man who had an idea for a new magazine.

"There is no date on the cover, because I didnít have enough money for the second issue," remembers Hugh Hefner, the creator of Playboy. He put his money on Marilyn, who appeared in a daring pose.

Hefner says he thinks Marilyn put Playboy on the map. "There is some question as to whether I would be sitting here talking to you if it was not for Marilyn Monroe," he says.

Marilyn was now the sex symbol in America, so it was only fitting that she would gravitate toward another famous symbol: baseball legend Joe DiMaggio.

The pair were a bit of an odd couple. While Marilyn was the sex symbol, Jeanne Carmen says Joe DiMaggio was not only traditional but also quiet.

"They got married too fast," says Summers. "And things started to go wrong rather quickly, partly because they were so different."

Even the honeymoon went wrong ó Marilyn left her new husband to entertain thousands of troops on the front lines in Korea. After only nine months, their marriage was over.

Within two years, Marilyn would move from the most famous baseball player to the most renowned playwright of the time, Arthur Miller.

"Marilyn came as close to loving Miller as she ever came to loving anybody," says Summers. "Arthur Miller loved Marilyn Monroe Ö he was consumed with interest in how she ticked."

Marilyn was complicated. Beneath the Monroe image was a fragile girl named Norma Jean, born out of wedlock and shuttled through 11 foster homes.

"She had almost no relatives, very few friends and she was lonely," says Carmen.

But when Marilyn was hurting, she would throw herself back into her work. In 1958 she was shooting "Some Like It Hot" with Jack Lemmon and her old friend, Curtis.

Marilyn's performance would earn her a Golden Globe Award.

But behind the scenes, Curtis noticed cracks in the veneer. "I knew there was something disturbing her. For some inexplicable reason, she was going down the wrong path and no one knew it," he remembers.

In 1961, Monroe and Miller's marriage also ended in divorce.

Marilyn suffered through bouts of depression; there were hospital stays and a growing dependency on sleeping pills. Summers says Monroe saw the pills as a kind of escape.

But Marilynís life had already taken a dramatic turn: She was about to enter a triangle of fame and power that would forever add to the mystery of her death. She met President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

A house on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. would hold the secrets of the last chapter in Marilyn's life.

At the time the house, Summers explains, was the home of JFK's brother-in-law Peter Lawford and his wife, Pat Kennedy Lawford ó the president's sister.

Lawford was an actor who moved in a glittering celebrity circle. His home was known as the western White House, and Marilyn was just one of the famous friends who would be invited when the president was in town.

"Based on your research, is there any doubt in your mind whatsoever that Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy had a sexual relationship?" Van Sant asked Summers.

"No. I donít doubt that at all," he replied. "I think that comes to us from enough sources that we can be confident of it."

The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 3 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

48 Hours has spoken with a former Secret Service agent who says a relationship between the president and Marilyn was common knowledge among his colleagues.

Marilyn's friend, actress and model Jeanne Carmen, says she knew firsthand about an intimate relationship between the president and Marilyn unfolding at the beach house.

"President Kennedy and Marilyn were in bed when I went in to take my shower, just, cuddle, cuddle, cuddle," Carmen recalls.

JFK had an image as a faithful family man, married to Jacqueline and father of two children. Summers says it was the "required image."

Back then, the public had no idea what was apparently happening behind Camelot's idyllic scenes.

Asked whether the president had told Marilyn he loved her, Carmen says, "He did tell her that. You know how men are."

"In her mind, though Iím sure that it seemed like a thing that might change her life and that she might one day marry John F. Kennedy. She spoke like that," says Summers.

According to Marilyn's published letters, on Feb. 1, 1962, Marilyn was invited to the Lawford beach house for dinner, but this time, it was to meet Bobby Kennedy.

"They just clicked. Marilyn and Bobby just clicked right in the beginning," says Carmen.

Bobby Kennedy had an equally pristine public image as a civil rights crusader and devoted father.

But Carmen says Bobby was soon a guest at Marilynís house.

No one can say for sure if the friendship between Marilyn and Bobby evolved into something more.

"The evidence about Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy is not nearly as clear cut as much of the evidence about Marilyn and the president," says Summers. "That they were having some sort of close emotional relationship does become clear from talking to the witnesses."

Whatever the tangled relationships were, they were all about to end. In April 1962, Marilyn began working on what would be her unfinished movie, "Something's Got To Give."

"She really was at her best in acting. She was gorgeous. Sheíd never been more beautiful," remembers Carmen.

But the camera didnít catch the trouble brewing. Others say Marilyn was unraveling.

"She had been seeing a psychiatrist constantly," explains Summers. "Almost as a daily session. Sometimes more than once. She was taking sleeping pills all the time."

Marilyn was constantly calling in sick at work, creating costly production delays. Producers were further outraged when she decided to fly to New York to sing the infamous "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" song for JFK at Madison Square Garden.

"I think that Monroe wanted to tell the world about the relationship," says Summers. But, according to Summers, Marilyn knew that night the president was moving away from her. "She was looking into the lights at a man who she had believed in, hoped that something real might come of. But it was gone," he says.

Back in Hollywood, Marilyn was soon fired from "Something's Got To Give" for putting the production so far behind schedule.

She fought hard to get her job back, posing for publicity photos, and in July taped an interview for Life Magazine.

"I am working for one thing and that is in giving a performance, but I am not at a studio at any time for discipline or to be disciplined," she said during the interview.

Marilynís campaign worked. On Aug. 1, 1962, she struck a new deal with 20th Century Fox.

But just a few days later, she would play out her final scene.


The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 4 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

On Aug. 4, 1962 Marilynís day reportedly began with a series of threatening phone calls.

"Sheíd been bothered by an anonymous female caller, who had been saying words to the effect, ĎStay away from Bobby, you b****, stay away from Bobby,'" says Summers.

By late afternoon, Dr. Ralph Greenson, Marilynís psychiatrist, was summoned to the house.

"He said she sounded a bit drugged and certainly depressed," says Summers.

According to newly released documents obtained by 48 Hours, Greenson said he "felt it was possible that Marilyn had felt rejected by some of the people she had been close to."

That evening, according to Peter Lawford, he called Marilyn to invite her to the beach house óbut she decided not to come.

At 7:30 p.m. according to what she told police, Marilynís housekeeper, Eunice Murray, overheard Marilyn on the phone sounding happier.

"Marilyn came to her bedroom door. I was sitting in the living room. And she said, 'Good night Mrs. Murray. I think Iíll turn in now. And she closed the door," Murray told the BBC in 1985.

By 8:20 p.m., all seemed well in the house when Mrs. Murray tuned in to catch the last 10 minutes of Perry Mason, a popular TV show.

Sometime during that night, Marilyn called Carmen with what would later seem like an odd request.

"She wanted me to bring her over a couple of sleeping pills because she didnít have any," says Carmen. "I had had a few drinks and I just didnít think I could make it over there without getting arrested. So I said 'Marilyn, I canít come over.'"

This is where the story takes a turn that would be called into question for decades. At 3:30 a.m., Murray saw Marilyn lying motionless on her bed. She quickly called Dr. Greenson; Marilyn's physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, was also awakened and rushed to her bedside.

"She was sprawled over the bed, and she was dead," Engelberg said in the audiotaped interview. "I took out my stethoscope to make sure her heart wasnít beating. Checked her pupils because thatís one of the sensitive ways to tell if a person is dead or not. I said she was dead. Which, of course, Dr. Greenson knew anyway, but I had to go through the motions."

Engelberg told investigators in 1982 that he waited maybe half an hour before calling the police.

Asked why there was a delay, Dr. Engelberg said, "We were stunned. We were talking over what happened. What she had said."

The scene contained a mysterious clue: Marilyn was found clutching her telephone. Who was she calling?

As Marilynís lifeless body was taken to the morgue, police searched the death scene for clues to what killed her. Had Americaís most famous movie star really taken her own life?

Just 12 days after her death, there was the announcement of an official finding when the coroner said Marilyn's death was a probable suicide.


The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 5 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

With that conclusion, the investigation slammed shut. But it opened a controversy that lingers to this day. By 1982, there was a public outcry. With allegations of a conspiracy and a cover-up, the Los Angeles District Attorneyís Office was forced to re-examine the evidence.

Former Assistant District Attorney Mike Carroll had the daunting task of getting to the bottom of what happened that night. "So the first question is, was there a murder?" says Carroll.

"We looked at the photographs of the death scene," says Carroll. "Looked at autopsy reports. And had to talk to people because there were some areas that we could not really determine without talking to people."

Tape-recorded interviews offered new clues about what happened that night.

Engelberg was queried about the large amount of pills found at her bedside.

Asked if all those pills had been prescribed by him, Dr. Engelberg told investigators, "No. Only one had been prescribed by me Ö I was surprised to see at the side of her bed a large number of other sleeping pills."

Marilyn died of a lethal dose of two sedative drugs. The coroner announced that the toxicologist discovered in addition to Nembutal a large dose of Chloral Hydrate in her system.

But there are questions about where the Chloral Hydrate came from. "I knew nothing about any Chloral Hydrate; I never used Chloral Hydrate," Engelberg told investigators, adding that he only wrote her a prescription for Nembutal.

If Marilyn had all those pills by her bedside, why did she call Carmen for more? Carroll says no suicide note was ever found at the scene.

Was the coroner's conclusion of suicide a rush to judgment?

Dr. Steven Karch, is one of the nationís top forensic pathologists. He has written several important textbooks on drug overdose, and he says major holes in Marilynís toxicology report make it nearly impossible to determine what killed her.

Asked whether it's possible Marilyn was murdered, Katch says, "I don't see how you can rule it out.

"Iím bothered by some of the inconsistencies in the reports," he says. "Iím particularly bothered by where the medicines came from. I donít know that they were hers. I donít know when they were taken, and I donít know what was in her body when she died because the toxicology is incomplete."

Karch also believes the first investigators on the scene were too quick to make assumptions. "The really strange thing is, it says barbiturate overdose death. How did they know it was a barbiturate overdose death at 4:45 in the morning?"

Karch says the first investigators on the scene couldn't have known that.

Former A.D.A. Carroll points to evidence not just at the scene, but in Marilynís turbulent past. She had overdosed before.

"The bottles were there. She was unconscious. She had a history of overdose. In fact, she had a history of not only overdosing, but of being resuscitated," Carroll explains.

The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 6 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

But in a newly released audiotape, Engelberg downplays any past attempts by Marilyn to take her own life.

Asked if he was aware of other suicide attempts Marilyn may have made prior to her death, Engelberg told the investigator, "I'm not aware of any deliberate suicide attempt. I was only aware of the one time when she currently had too much to drink and had taken possibly slightly more than she should have. But that was not a serious attempt."

Carroll, in his re-examination, insists that the autopsy performed in 1962 by Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coronerís Office was thorough. In fact, he had the full report reviewed by a renowned outside expert.

"He looked over the documents and he told us that this was a very competent and professional job considering the state of science at the time in 1962," says Carroll.

But Noguchi himself wanted to investigate further.

Not too long after Noguchiís initial examination, he decided he wanted to take a second look at the tissue samples but they went missing.

Asked what happened to those samples, Carroll says, "I don't know. I didnít at the time and I donít now think it was a sinister cover-up or destruction of evidence.

"The conspiracy theorists say thereís evidence of a cover-up," Van Sant said.

"Yeah, I think thatís fertile grounds for people to say, 'Oh boy, we got it now. We have a smoking gun,'" Carroll replied. "And my experience of the loss of material like that it's unfortunately pretty common."

Carroll was determined to confront one of the major conspiracy theories of the day; a man who identified himself as Rick Stone claimed he was an ambulance attendant called to Marilynís house. He says he watched a doctor inject something into the dying movie star.

"And he opened that up [a doctor's bag] and took out a hypodermic syringe that was already filled and injected it into her heart," Stone said.

However, Carroll says Noguchi looked all over Marilyn's body for needle marks ó but found none.

"He put a needle in her heart. I guarantee it. I was looking right at it," Stone insisted during the taped interview.

Carroll dismissed Stoneís account as false and investigators also talked with Ken Hunter, who is believed to have been on the scene that night.

Asked about the story that a doctor plunged a needle into the area of Marilyn's heart and thereafter pronounced her dead, Hunter told Carroll, "That's b***s***."

Carroll found Hunter to be credible and what he says sheds light on the most elusive part of the mystery.

Hunter told Carroll he saw Marilyn lying on her side. Did she really die in that position? The first officer who arrived at the house shortly after 4:30 a.m. told the BBC that he believed the body had been positioned and the scene manipulated.

"No it was not a suicide. Marilyn Monroe was murdered and thereís no question about it," Sgt. Clemmons, the watch commander that night, told the BBC.

But Carroll dismisses Clemmons' comments. "Yes, his opinion was not based on any kind of personal, professional training or experience. He was not a detective. He was not an experienced detective and certainly not a homicide detective."

The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 7 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

But the next investigator on the scene was experienced and he quickly zeroed in on the witness who discovered Marilynís body, housekeeper Eunice Murray.

"The investigator at the scene did have some concerns about Mrs. Murray. He thought that her answers were evasive, and that she might have either been distressed or hiding something," Carroll explains.

The key to the mystery of Marilyn's last night is all about the timing ó questions swirled around the account of Murray.

On the morning of Aug. 5, 1962, police were called at 4:25 a.m. but allegations persist to this day that Murray sounded the alarm about Marilyn much earlier.

Was news of Marilyn's death somehow delayed? Was evidence removed from the death scene? And if so, why?

"There was some form of cover-up surrounding the circumstances of her death," says Summers.

At the center of the cover-up theory are the Kennedy brothers.

"I think Marilyn Monroe was in love with John Kennedy for a while, then I think she fell in love with Bobby," says Carmen.

In the months prior to Marilyn's death, no one could have imagined how dangerous those secret relationships had become.

During a vacation in February 1962 in Mexico City, the movie star was mobbed by reporters. But away from the flashbulbs, she had a series of private, controversial meetings.

"She spent time socially, talked late at night with people who were American communists," says Summers.

Most people didn't know it, but Summers says Marilyn was passionate about politics. "Marilyn Monroe wasn't a dumb blonde. She devoured books on politics. She liked to talk to people about politics," he says.

Marilyn's political talks in Mexico were being monitored, and the FBI had opened a file on the movie star.

According to newly released FBI documents, Monroe was considered a potential security risk.

"Here you have a woman who is close to the President of the United States and to the attorney general who goes to Mexico and talks into the night with known communists," says Summers. "She was a security risk."

This was the height of the Cold War; the president was consumed with the threat of the communist regime in Cuba.

"This was perhaps the most sensitive time on nuclear matters in the history of the United States," says Summers.

Marilyn also was apparently having some highly sensitive conversations with the president.

One report details a lunch conversation at the beach house with JFK. "During that lunch nuclear matters, nuclear testing was discussed," Summers explains. "Marilyn Monroe was very pleased as she'd asked the president a lot of socially significant questions concerning the morality of atomic testing," he says.

That meeting was just three months before the Cuban missile crisis.

"Discussing nuclear matters at a time of horrendous international crisis, if anything like that would have got out, it would have been enormously damaging to the Kennedys," says Summers.


The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 8 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

Which brings us back to Aug. 4, 1962, the last day of Marilyn's life. While there is no clear proof of a cover-up, there are troubling conflicts, and unanswered questions surrounding the events of that night.

On August 4, the president was on the East Coast; Bobby Kennedy was in Northern California, and according to his host that weekend, remained there the entire time.

But former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates says, according to his sources, the attorney general traveled to L.A.

"Our records show that he was in Los Angeles and probably that information came to our intelligence function through the FBI," says Gates.

He does not believe Bobby Kennedy saw Marilyn that day. Had he gone to see Marilyn that day, I think we would have known it," he explains.

However, Peter Lawford's third ex-wife, Deborah Gould, says Bobby did visit Marilyn. Gould, who was briefly married to Lawford in the 1970s, told the BBC that he went to Marilyn's that day to end the relationship with the Kennedy brothers.

"Marilyn was, from what Peter told me, knew then that it was over. That was it, over. Final. And she was very, very distraught and depressed," Gould told the BBC.

That explains what Lawford eventually told police: He described a very disturbing phone conversation with Marilyn that final evening.

"She sounded groggy and depressed, and she said, 'Say goodbye to Jack,' meaning Jack Kennedy and 'Say goodbye to yourself 'cause youíre a nice guy," Summers explains.

According to Lawford, that call took place at 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. By 9 p.m., according to police documents, the message had spread that Marilyn might be in trouble. What is unknown is whether word reached Bobby Kennedy.

"To be associated with the last hours of her life was a political nightmare," says Summers. "So it may be that there was what you might call a benign cover-up, not a cover-up of a murder, but a cover-up to protect prominent people."

Carmen says Marilyn kept a diary, which kept tabs on what JFK and Bobby Kennedy said to her, but Marilyn herself once denied that she had a diary. In any case, Carroll says no diary was found by police or employees from the coroner's office at the death scene.

According to Gould, years after Marilyn's death, Lawford told her he had made an early morning sweep through Marilyn's house.

"He said he went there, he tidied up the place and did what he could before the reporters found out about the death," Gould told the BBC.

Most mysterious of all these clues was that Marilyn was found clutching her telephone. It is known that in the weeks leading up to her death, she called the justice department, where Bobby Kennedy worked, eight times. What is not known is who she was calling the night she died.

"It is very clear, and from excellent sources that we donít have the full record of calls made from Monroeís residence in the hours before she died," says Summers.

Summers was told by his sources that some of the records were seized. "A senior former FBI agent has told me that J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, ordered the seizure from the phone company of the long-distance phone tickets, which would show who she had called, or tried to call in the hours before her death," he explains.

Asked about missing phone records, Carroll says, "We never learned that if it is true."

The Marilyn Tapes
Questions Still Remain About The Movie Star's Death

(Page 9 of 9)Aug. 1, 2006
Marilyn Monroe (AP)

The phone records are not the only files about Marilyn's death that are in question. Nearly all of the police files are gone. The official explanation: They were "destroyed in compliance with departmental procedures."

For all the mystery surrounding the death of Monroe, Karch believes Marilyn herself can provide answers ó all it would take are a few strands of that famously blonde hair.

"Somebody would have to open the crypt and take some hair and analyze it," he explains.

Karch says tests could be run to look for poisons or paralyzing drugs, something that was not done back then. Karch would also like to test for each of the drugs found at her bedside, including a bottle of peach colored pills that has never been identified.

Carroll's investigation did not go to the extreme of opening Marilyn's crypt. But after examining the available evidence, it did reach a conclusion: there was "absolutely nothing" that led him to believe that a murder was involved. "We uncovered absolutely no evidence of an intentional criminal act with respect to her death," he says.

"Any evidence the Kennedy brothers were involved in Marilyn Monroeís death?" Van Sant asked.

"No evidence of their involvement in her death ever came up with the exception that she was despondent," Carroll replied. "The cause of her despondency could have been one of the brothers. But in terms of involvement with a criminal activity, absolutely none."

The conclusion: It was an accidental overdose or suicide that killed Marilyn. In fact, newly released documents say Marilyn ďhad obtained secretly Ö a large and lethal stock of Nembutal and Chloral Hydrate.Ē

But Karch is still troubled by what we don't know. "I would classify this as an undetermined cause of death, pending further testing. And thatís a perfectly legitimate diagnosis."

As for the burning question of whether there was a cover-up?

"If there was no murder, there was nothing to cover-up except embarrassing information or connections," says Carroll, whose team never looked into that.

Carroll says it wasn't his job to pursue whether friends of the Kennedy family were trying to protect their reputation; he says his job was to find out if Monroe had been murdered.

"Why do you believe there was a cover-up?" Van Sant asked Hefner.

"I think that her death had political implications, particular in Washington with the Kennedys," he replied.

Did Bobby Kennedy come to say goodbye that day? The truth might have been in Marilynís bedroom. But her diary, if she had one, phone records, and police files may be lost to history.

All thatís left is her legacy. Marilyn died beautiful, famous and alone.

"She was just hoping to find something that would be the answer," says Carmen. "And she never found it. She was looking in the wrong places."

Hefner plans to be buried right next to Marilyn at Westwood Cemetery. "I feel such a kinship and close connection for all that she has meant to all of us but most especially to me, the fact that I will be residing to eternity seemed very appropriate."

And Curtis paints Marilyn. "I paint here to capture her again," he says. "Iím always trying to remember her. Things that perhaps Iíve forgotten about her, the shoes she wore, the way she would smile, the way sheíd look over her shoulder."

"She is the stuff that dreams are made of," Hefner said. "We loved her and we love her still. And that never dies."