First Person: Debbie Clarke on Marilyn Monroe

Debbie Clarke'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
Debbie Clarke'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

Marilyn Monroe is a screen icon who continues to fascinate audiences all over the world even now - more than 40 years after her death.

I have always been intrigued by her life story and more so by the conspiracy theories surrounding her death in 1962.

Her image is everywhere, especially recently with the release of a new film “My Week With Marilyn”, which stars Michelle Williams as the blonde bombshell.

It tells the story of the difficult making of one of her most famous films, ‘The Prince And The Showgirl’ in 1956, when the screen siren famously clashed with director Lawrence Olivier and had a brief fling with young assistant Colin Clark.

Marilyn was born in 1926 in a charity ward at the Los Angeles County Hospital. Her childhood wasn’t idyllic - she was passed from pillar to post as a result of her mum’s mental health problems.

But what happened in 1945 changed her life forever - a photographer took a picture of the shy brunette and within months she became a successful model.

And by the end of the following year she had dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.


Over the next decade she captivated people through her on-screen roles in films such as “How To Marry A Millionaire”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Some Like It Hot”.

In 1962 she purchased her first property in Brentwood and it was later that year she was found dead in her new home under controversial circumstances.

It’s widely known that sometime after 10.00 p.m on August 4, Marilyn drifted into a coma caused by overdosing on sleeping pills. She never woke up.

Shortly after she was discovered, strange activities took place. It’s alleged some items were removed such as a diary and apparently an incriminating note. It has been claimed the order for them to be removed came from the White House to try to prevent a scandal involving John F Kennedy.

The official cause of death has been noted as suicide and this is what many choose to believe. Some experts have argued there are too many forensic facts which don’t support this.


It has also been claimed her death, through overdosing on barbiturates, was accidental, but the question remained: if that was the case who prepared and administered them?

Then there is the theory that Marilyn was murdered. There were people who alleged she had affairs with one or both of the Kennedy brothers.

It’s thought her letters and telephone calls to both brothers were becoming a ‘nuisance’ and very risky and that she was in a very good position to bring down the presidency.

Perhaps one or both of the brothers had discussed confidential national security matters with the film star? Perhaps she had been privy to information which could have been explosive had she revealed it?

Did the Government attempt to cover up the Kennedy indiscretions with the popular sex symbol and simply ‘remove’ her? Or was she murdered by the Mafia in a bid to exact revenge on the Kennedy’s?

Exactly how and when Marilyn died is a debate that will no doubt go on sparking controversy for many years to come.

But in the words of Elton John, her candle burned out long before her legend ever will.

*Debbie Clarke writes for the Fife Free Press, Kirkcaldy