August 7, 2005

Did Marilyn Monroe really kill herself?

John Houston, the director of her last completed movie "The Misfits," argued that she didn't intend to commit suicide, and that she wasn't murdered either. It was just an accident.

An enormous mythology has grown up around her over the years, with vast efforts put into turning her life and death into a symbol of this or that, but Marilyn suffered from a combination of mundane problems that might well have proved deadly.

- The movie industry works on a surprisingly early schedule, with stars needing to be getting their make-up put on not long after dawn.

- Marilyn needed her beauty sleep. Especially as she got older, if she didn't get a full night's sleep she didn't look her radiant best.

- She was highly emotional (as almost all top female stars are, and Marilyn was the greatest ever) and this contributed to her insomnia. And the less sleep she got, the more she worried about not getting enough sleep, and the less likely she was to get to sleep.

- So, she took a lot of pills to try to fall asleep. Over time, the recommended dose of barbiturate had less and less effect. So, she'd take some more. And then some more. But the more barbiturates she took the harder it was to remember how many she'd already taken.

Huston believed that on the fatal night she probably just kept popping pills while in a daze. With the better sleeping pills that exist now, she might well be still alive.

Huston himself was a wreck during the filming of "The Misfits," staying up all night gambling in Reno and falling asleep during the shoots. Monroe and co-star Montgomery Clift were dealing with their pill problems. The only thing saving the movie is Clark Gable's last performance. He'd cut back on the Scotch and looked great.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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