New World University: Marilyn Monroe Was Murdered

In honor of the author’s renewed Smash obsession we check in with a classic…

Each week Local will present New World University, a column that breaks down and discusses popular conspiracy theories.

Marilyn Monroe was Murdered

Theory: Marilyn Monroe was only 36 years old when she was found dead in her home on August 5, 1962. The official cause of death is that she overdosed on barbiturates. Theorists have other ideas though. The most popular theory is that she was killed by the Kennedys when she threatened to reveal her affair with JFK and her unconfirmed affair with younger brother Robert (RFK).

There are also theories that she was killed by the CIA in order to hurt the Kennedys, that she was killed by the Mafia to hurt the Kennedys, or in the most out there theory, she was killed by the government because she was threatening to reveal information about UFO’s.

How it Started: It started with anti-Communist activist Frank A. Capell, who self-published a pamphlet in 1964 entitled The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe. He claimed that her death was part of a communist conspiracy theory and that Marilyn had an affair with RFK which she took too seriously and was threatening to cause a scandal. He accused RFK, ex-husband Arthur Miller, and Marilyn’s doctors of being communists, and claimed that RFK had her killed to keep her quiet. The rest sort of spiraled from there.

Real or fake: Eh. I mean it kinda makes sense, but evidence is severely lacking. Capell’s credibility has been questioned, especially since his only source was a columnist, Walter Winchell, who in turn had gotten all of his information from Capell…I assume you see the problem there.

Plus an anti-Communist using a conspiracy to attack people who he thinks are communists reads as suspicious, no matter what his real intentions were. It’s the kind of theory where I wouldn’t be shocked if it turned out true, but I think it’s far more likely that it’s not.