Part III - Last 24 Hrs

Losing Marilyn


Shar Daws 

part III - The Last 24hrs


3rd August 1962 

Friday 3rd August was a warm an unusually humid day. Marilyn woke early and in a good frame of mind, clear headed and alert - this may have been because she had not taken any sleeping pills the night before. 

Her first meeting of the day was her usual session with Greenson at Franklin Street. Stopping at Briggs she added items to her party list for the following week. After her session with Greenson she arrived home to find Engelberg waiting for her, apparently on Greenson's request. He injected her and gave her a prescription for twenty-five Nembutal capsules. Marilyn already had a store of Chloral hydrate that had been prescribed by Greenson to wean her off of Barbiturates. Lee Seigel had also written a prescription for an unknown quantity of Nembutal on 25th July and repeated it on 3rd August. 

Engelberg's shots clearly consisted of something more powerful than vitamins. Those who witnessed Marilyn firsthand, moments before an injection and then moments after all describe a marked difference in her whole demeanour. After Engelberg administered the shot on 3rd August, Marilyn had a thirty-two minute call with Norman Rosten who stated that during their conversation she was 'cheerful, excited,... high, bubbly, breathless. She seemed high... she raced from one subject to another [with] barely a pause.'  

              Norman Rosten with Marilyn holding his shoulder



Although her tone seemed manic, Marilyn had a lot of news and was clear about her plans: She said she was feeling better than ever, that she would soon be back at work, that her house was nearing completion, that she was getting several film offers, she said, it was time for them all to put the past behind them and to live before they were too old.


Busy on the phone with other calls throughout Friday afternoon, as records document - she spoke with handyman Ray Tolman at his home in Fullerton to arrange for him to work at the house early the following week - she wanted some thorough cleaning done and some urgent repairs. She telephoned Elizabeth Courtney and Jean Louis to ask if they could deliver her new dress for a final fitting the next day but suddenly remembered it was Saturday and didn't want them to spoil the weekend plans, so she said she would wait till Monday. 


Designer Jean Louis Berthauldt



Mid-afternoon, Jule Styne, looking forward to composing songs for I Love Louisa telephoned from New York with another idea - he proposed to Marilyn a film version of Betty Smith's novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which had been a successful film for Fox in 1945. Monroe was enthusiastic about the idea and arranged to see him in New York on Thursday 9th August at 2.30pm. They discussed the possibility of having Frank Sinatra as leading man. 

Marilyn also agreed to give an interview to accompany her cover appearance on the cover of Esquire. Paula Strasberg was busy booking theatre tickets for Marilyn's arrival in New York. Arthur Jacobs phoned to say their meeting with J. Lee Thompson was scheduled for Monday at 5pm to discuss I Love Louisa. Her diary was filling up fast.  

Marilyn, finished with the phone calls and dashed over to Franks Nursery, she ordered several citrus trees, flowering plants and succulents. The delivery was arranged for the following day. It seems if she was marrying Joe, as many have indicated, then it's likely the wedding was to be held in the garden of Fifth Helena.  

At this time it appears Monroe was functioning both soberly and creatively. 

After a second meeting with Greenson that Friday, Marilyn spoke with Pat Newcomb inviting her to dine out that evening with her. Pat told Marilyn she was suffering with bronchitis - Marilyn asked her to stay the night and suggested she relax by the pool on Saturday, Pat thought this might be a good idea saying 'I accepted her invitation she was in a very good mood, a very happy mood.' 

Marilyn and Pat dined quietly that evening at a local restaurant, then returned to Fifth Helena. Murray had gone home, and the women retired early. Pat slept well but Marilyn experienced a bad night of intermittent sleep.

Marilyn and Pat Newcomb

mmnewcomb mmnewcomb1 mmnewcomb2





Marilyn's Last Day

4th August 1962 

8am. Just after 8am on 4th August, Eunice Murray arrived for her last day at work. 

9am. Marilyn wandered into the kitchen around 9am, wearing her white terry cloth robe, she poured a glass of grapefruit juice. 

Marilyn in the white terry cloth robe ~ photo by George Barris




10am. Lawrence Schiller arrived (he had been one of the three photographers that had shot the nude swim scene on the set of Something's Got To Give. Schiller had come to discuss a magazine feature using the photos. He said that Marilyn was fresh and alert that morning 'seemingly without a care' she was tending the front flowerbed when he arrived. She must have been feeling sufficiently happy because she gave him a tour of the remodelled guest cottage. They discussed the photos that may be suitable for the feature and Marilyn used a grease pen to mark her selection - rejecting ones she didn't feel suitable.  

That morning Marilyn signed for several deliveries and spoke with numerous friends on the phone, including Ralph Roberts, with whom she arranged a BBQ at Fifth Helena for the following evening, after she was due to return from a meeting with Jean Harlow's mother.  

Shortly before noon, Pat Newcomb got up, by which time Marilyn's mood had radically changed 'Marilyn seemed angry that I had been able to sleep and she hadn't - but something else was behind it all.'  

While Monroe phoned friends, Eunice prepared lunch for Pat, who stayed all afternoon sunbathing by the pool as planned. 

1pm. Shortly after 1pm, Greenson arrived, he remained at the house until 7pm, with the exception of 90mins - at 3pm - 4.30pm he went home.  

2pm.Whilst Marilyn and Greenson went to Monroe's bedroom for a therapy session, Eunice answered the phone. Joe DiMaggio Jnr phoned. Eunice told him Marilyn was not at home. 

Joe DiMaggio Jnr with his Father 1961

joejnr61 copy




3pm. According to Newcomb, Greenson 'came out and told me to leave, that he wanted to deal with Marilyn alone.' 

'She was upset, and he told Mrs. Murray to take her out for a walk on the beach, in the car. And that's the last I saw of her.'  

Greenson returned home, Eunice dropped Marilyn off at Peter Lawford's beach house for an hour whilst she did some grocery shopping. 

William Asher (Film/TV producer/director script writer) who had directed the Presidential gala, was at the Lawords' when Marilyn arrived. He recalled: 

'I was there along with a few other people who had dropped by. When Marilyn arrived and took a walk on the beach'  

There was an extreme change in Marilyn's earlier sober manner. After Greenson's visit, by the time she arrived at the Lawfords, according to Asher, she appeared drugged 'not staggering, but clearly under the influence, and she wasn't too steady in the sand.' her speech was also now slurred. Asher remembered that Marilyn watched part of a volleyball game on the beach and then departed at 4pm.  

4.30pm. Joe DiMaggio Jnr put through a second call to Marilyn, again Eunice told him that Marilyn wasn't at home, but this cannot be true as Eunice and Marilyn had returned from the beach together and Greenson mentioned in his letter to Marianne Kris, he returned to Marilyn's house at exactly that time to continue what was becoming virtually an all day long therapy session.  

Greenson also wrote to Kris:

I was aware that she was somewhat annoyed with me. She often became annoyed when I did not absolutely and wholeheartedly agree [with her]... She was angry with me. I told her we would talk more, that she should call me on Sunday morning... 

5pm. Marilyn took a call from Peter Lawford, inviting her to a casual supper party with some friends. Marilyn declined, Lawford persisted - he told her he would call again and hoped that she would reconsider. 

There were two other calls that Marilyn was not able to intercept - Isadore Miller - Eunice told him Marilyn was dressing and would call him back - she never did. Then, around 5.45pm a second call from Ralph Roberts - Greenson answered the phone and responded with a blunt "not here" and immediately hung up on Roberts. 

Greenson had left a message asking Engelbedrg to come over to Marilyn's with medication. During this time Engelberg was experiencing marital difficulties and refused.  

6pm. Just after 6pm Greenson located Engelberg at home and requested once again that he come over to Fifth Helena with medication for Marilyn, once again Engelberg refused point blank. 

7pm. At around 7pm Greenson claimed he left Marilyn alone with Murray. From this time on the confusion and inconsistencies begin. There is conflict between Greenson's version of the events when compared to Murray's. 

Firstly, Eunice states in her book The Last Months Greenson asked her if she planned to stay over that night. Whereas, Greenson states in a letter to Kris 'I asked the housekeeper to stay overnight, which she did not ordinarily do on Saturday nights.' In 1973, Greenson said he made this request because he did not 'want Marilyhn to be alone' This is strange considering everyone knew this was to be Eunice Murray's last day of employment with Marilyn.  

In 1982, the district attorney said Eunice had told him: 'This was the first time Dr Greenson had asked Murray to spend the night at Monroe's residence' and that she had no knowledge of Marilyn's ordinary sleeping habits or attire.  

Both Greenson and Murray were consistently inconsistent over the years!  

7pm. There were two final calls that night, one from DiMaggio Jnr who persisted until he reached Marilyn - around 7-7.15pm. They had a pleasant conversation, he told her that he had broken his engagement with his fiancée and this pleased Marilyn greatly as she did not feel the girl was suitable for him. Joe Jnr said he found Marilyn to be alert, happy and in good spirits - especially at his news. They chatted for ten minutes, both Murray and Greenson have confirmed this also, as Marilyn phoned Greenson directly after speaking to Joe Jnr and Greenson said Marilyn at this time sounded 'quite pleasant and more cheerful.' 

7.40pm.The second and last call was from Peter Lawford, still hoping Marilyn would attend his supper party. Lawford spoke to Marilyn around 7.40pm - 7.45pm - he heard a very different Marilyn. He said she was muttering, her speech was thickened, slurred and almost inaudible, she sounded distressed and disorientated.  

He shouted her name several times over the phone, asking her what was wrong. Finally, with what sounded like great effort, Marilyn said 'Say goodbye to Pat, say goodbye to the President, and say goodbye to yourself, because you're a nice guy.' 

Lawford said he felt angry and frightened and she whispered 'I'll see, I'll see' 

Thinking she had hung up the phone Lawford tried to call back but only got the engaged tone, which blocked the line for the next 30mins. When he phoned the operator to ask her to interrupt the conversation, she told him that the phone was either off the hook or the phone was out of order. Frantic, he telephoned Milton Ebbins, who had also been invited to the supper party but had also declined. Ebbins recalls Lawford being deeply concerned, that he felt that she was dangerously drugged or even possibly dying. Peter Lawford wanted to go straight over to Marilyn's house but Ebbins advised against it - because he was the President's brother-in-law and that if anything serious was happening he would be dragged into the media spotlight. 

Ebbins called Mickey Rudin (Marilyn's attorney).                                                                    


Milton Ebbins centre with Sammy Davies Jnr and Peter Lawford

Mickey Rudin (front right)

ebinsdavieslawford mickeyrudin



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