August 5 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death. Her death, like so many others from that era, has been marked by controversy, conjecture, conspiracy and a search for why?
Marilyn was 36 years old. Perhaps, this is why there is so much speculation about the circumstances surrounding her last 24 hours on this planet traversing the cosmos.
She was a Hollywood icon, a beautiful starlet whose beauty filled the movie screens. Her personal life was plagued by “demons” of the human kind.
Her childhood was anything but normal. She became a ward of the state of California because her mother was unstable. Her father remained a mystery.
At 16 she married James Dougherty in 1942 since her foster parents decided to move to Virginia and convinced the Dougherty family this would be a good thing to keep the young woman out of another foster home. It appears this was a marriage of convenience since Dougherty did not seem to have much of an interest in her when her modeling career in 1946 took off.
She would marry Joe DiMaggio in 1954 and divorced the same year. In 1956 she married Arthur Miller and divorced in 1961.
Her search for a normal life and love always eluded her. What did not elude her was the cruel treatment by the men in her life, be they studio bosses, politicians and others who saw a bright star in the heavens to be used and abused.
As we mark the golden anniversary of her untimely death, a forensic psychologist adds a new wrinkle to the mystery by basing an opinion on a piece of furniture that Marilyn bought the day before her death. His comments are below:
“People about to kill themselves frequently engage in self-soothing behaviors,” he told The Huffington Post. Shopping sprees are definitely one of those behaviors, he said. “Spending—and giving things away—make us feel good,” he said.
But this was a single purchase, Bernstein said. “A single item—especially something practical like a chest of drawers and of a low value like this—suggests a frame of mind of ‘I’m going to be here for awhile,’ ” he said. “If I were doing a psychological autopsy, this would be intriguing. This would be more consistent with someone who is not suicidal.”
Bernstein says buying a chest of drawers that you are going to fill up with things is an action taken by someone who “plans to be around awhile,” not about to end their life. “It’s an inconsistent behavior” for someone planning suicide, he said.
In 1973 Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the song Candle In The Wind in honor of Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps, it is fitting on this anniversary to remember a candle which burned brightly but the flame could not sustain itself against the harsh winds of earth.
Norma Jean was a real person. The mystique of Marilyn Monroe still haunts us this day. Life for this child, lost in a world of unhappiness, had its moments of joy, but unfortunately, those moments were too transitory, like a flickering flame extinguished by the cold winter wind.
In a previous post The Private Life of An Avid Reader I discussed Marilyn Monroe’s private side—her love for books and writing. I will close this post with the following words from her:
“And the more I think of it
the more I realize there are no answers
life is to be lived
and since it is comparatively so short, maybe too short—
maybe too long—
the only thing I know for sure, it isn’t easy…”
G. D. Williams © 2012
Candle In The Wind
American Masters: Marilyn Monroe