What happened to Marilyn Monroe’s body after she died? The hours after her death

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe’s career lasted about 15 years, yet the public’s fascination with her burns bright over 60 years after her death. Monroe’s allure was irresistible – she was beautiful, prodigiously talented, and, as the world would later learn, perhaps irretrievably broken. 

Monroe died on 4th August 1962. Her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, suspected something was amiss when Monroe failed to open her bedroom door or respond to calls. Murray called Monroe’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, who accessed Monroe’s bedroom. 

Monroe’s physician declared her dead a short while later. 

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office ruled that her death was a ‘probable suicide’.

Reports claim that Monroe’s body was intercepted by necrophiliacs and tampered with by several people 

The Los Angeles Police Department was notified of Monroe’s death four hours after her death. Murray, Monroe’s housekeeper, said it took so long to alert authorities because she waited to get the green light from Twentieth Century Fox Publicity Department. 

Officers observed that Monroe’s body position was peculiar for an overdose victim. OD victims typically lie on their backs with their limbs twisted. Monroe lay face down, with her arms by her side. 

It took six hours for Monroe’s body to arrive at the LA County Morgue – the drive from Monroe’s scene of death to the morgue usually took 45 minutes. Monroe’s body was missing for a little over five hours – and nobody knows for sure what happened to her corpse during that time. 

The wildest rumor claimed that her body was intercepted by the secret society of necrophiliacs. Some members of this arcane society reportedly paid a fortune to have sex with her corpse. 

Another allegation was that Monroe’s body was tampered with to destroy evidence. Dr. Thomas Noguchi, the deputy coroner, claimed that Monroe’s intestines and items from her stomach had been ‘destroyed’. An investigation by The Salt Lake Tribune concluded that some tests weren’t completed during the autopsy. 

Allan Abbott, who was in charge of Monroe’s funeral service, wrote that the star actress was ‘almost unrecognizable’ when her body arrived at the morgue. He wrote that her face and neck were discolored by the blood that rushed to her neck as she lay face down. Abbott wrote:

“She looked like a very average, aging woman who had not been taking good care of herself. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding her death had greatly exacerbated her poor appearance and she was unrecognizable.”

The morticians performed surgery on Monroe’s neck and face to reduce swelling. 

Photographer Leigh Wiener reportedly bribed his way into the morgue and took photos of Marilyn Monroe’s body

In the Fox documentary Scandalous: The Death of Marilyn Monroe, Devik Wiener, claimed that his father, Leigh Wiener, bribed his way into the LA County Morgue using two bottles of scotch and took snaps of Monroe’s corpse. 

“He offered a drink to a couple of the guys, and the next thing you know he was in the back,” Devik said. Leigh sent three rolls of film to LIFE magazine, including a famous image that showed a toe tag being placed on Monroe’s foot. Leigh kept two film rolls in a safe deposit box, Devik said. 

“The last two rolls, which contained imagery beyond just the toe tag, he took back to his own studio and claims to have processed, examined, and then very quickly put into a safe deposit box,” he said. Devik believes the photos were unfit for public viewing. 

The location of the photos remains a mystery as Leigh died in 1993 without revealing where he stashed the images. “He actually died with that mystery,” Devik said. 

The Fox documentary claims that nobody claimed Monroe’s body for over a day. Joe DiMaggio, Monroe’s ex-husband, with whom Monroe maintained a close bond, claimed the actress’s body.