Did Marilyn Monroe Really Kill Herself?

ByABC News via via logo

Aug. 6, 2005 — -- An investigator who has looked into the drug overdose death of Marilyn Monroe 43 years ago Friday still is not convinced she killed herself.

John W. Miner, who investigated Monroe's death as a Los Angeles County prosecutor, claims Monroe's psychologist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, played him secret audiotapes made by the star during one of her therapy sessions shortly before her death. A key revelation of the alleged tapes, according to Miner, is that Monroe was not depressed and was actively planning to become a serious, Shakespearean actress.

"Here is a person stigmatized by the diagnosis of suicide, when that is an absolutely wrong, false, erroneous diagnosis," Miner said.

Miner says he took careful, handwritten notes of the tapes and later produced a near-exact transcript.There is no proof Miner's claims are true, since Greenson is now dead and no one else claims to have heard the tape.

"You are the only person who will ever know the most private, the most secret thoughts of Marilyn Monroe," she allegedly told her doctor.

In Miner's transcript, Monroe discussed her plans to pursue a career performing Shakespeare.

"I've read all of Shakespeare and practiced a lot of lines. … I am going to do Juliet first," Monroe allegedly said on the tape. "Don't laugh. What, with what makeup, costume and camera can do, my acting will create a Juliet who is 14, an innocent virgin."

"No reasonable person could possibly think that the person who made those tapes killed herself," Miner said.

Miner's transcripts also quote Monroe discussing her tumultuous love life, mentioning a lesbian encounter with actress Joan Crawford.

"Next time I saw Crawford she wanted another round," she allegedly said. "I told her straight out I didn't much enjoy doing it with a woman."

She also may have recorded her feelings about breaking off her romance with Robert Kennedy.

"There is no room in my life for him," she allegedly said. "I guess I don't have the courage to face up to it and hurt him. I want someone else to tell him it's over. I tried to get the president to do it, but I couldn't reach him."

Matthew Smith paid an undisclosed fee to Miner to use the Monroe transcript in his book, "Marilyn's Last Words: Her Secret Tapes and Mysterious Death."

"The important thing about it was that she wasn't suicidal," Smith said.

Smith dismissed the possibility that the tapes could have caught Monroe on a good day.

"I don't think so," he said. "I don't think it was just a mood swing. She was very upbeat. She was very forward-looking."

Smith found Marilyn's talk of the future very compelling, calling her "level-headed."

"She wasn't up and down," he said. "She was on a plane that marked her out as a smart lady. She knew where she was going. It was definite."

Smith doesn't believe that Monroe killed herself, but he has a theory on who did it -- the CIA.

"Some people believe the Kennedys had to with it; I don't at all," he said. "I believe it was the disenchanted survivors of the Bay of Pigs, the CIA agents."

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