How did Hollywood’s brightest star become its most tragic victim? From Norma Jeane, casting couch girl desperate for success, to Marilyn Monroe, global icon, it was her turbulent love life that ultimately sealed her final fate. Surrounded by a deadly cocktail of pills, her death was ruled “probable suicide,” but questions remain surrounding just how — and why — she died. “The Killing of Marilyn Monroe” podcast analyzes the tangle of sex, power, corruption, and lies that led the most powerful men in America to silence Marilyn for good.
EPISODE 1: GLOBAL ICON AND TRAGIC HEROINE
Introduction to arguably the biggest female star of the 20th century, with a brief overview of her tragically short life, horrific death, and lasting legacy. The episode ends with a round-up of the conspiracy theories concerning her possible murder.
EPISODE 2: A FRACTURED CHILDHOOD
How Norma Jeane Mortensen was born in poverty, rejected by her mother, and dreamed of escaping her life of foster homes, orphanages and repeated sexual abuse. Also, how that tough upbringing shaped her view of — and power over — men.
EPISODE 3: A STAR IS BORN
From her early modeling career to getting a break in Hollywood, bleaching her hair blonde and changing her name — as Norma Jeane became Marilyn Monroe. The roles were small, however, until she utilized the “casting couch,” becoming the lover first of influential Fox exec Joseph Schenck and then Johnny Hyde, vice president of William Morris.
EPISODE 4: A GLOBAL PIN-UP
The glory years, during which Marilyn not only made a succession of smash hit movies, but also enjoyed relationships with a series of high profile men — including Frank Sinatra and his rat pack buddy Peter Lawford. By the time of her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, she was perhaps the most famous — and most lusted after — woman on the planet.
EPISODE 5: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES
Marilyn had learned to use her sexuality to great effect. As a 16-year-old, her first marriage (to factory worker Jim Dougherty) helped her escape her childhood abuse. Later she cultivated relationships with powerful Hollywood execs and directors to help kickstart her career. This chapter examines her marriages and (many) sexual partners — including Sinatra’s gang, mobster Sam Giancana, Communist sympathizer Miller, psychiatrist Ralph Greenson and the most powerful two men in all America…
EPISODE 6: THE TANGLED WEB — KENNEDYS, THE MOB AND THE FBI
Marilyn’s affair with John F. Kennedy — as well as brother Bobby Kennedy — was to prove the defining feature of her life — and death. It put her at the center of a triangulated power struggle between the president, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and the mob.
EPISODE 7: OUT, BRIEF CANDLE! — COUNTDOWN TO MURDER
The days leading up to Marilyn’s death are crucial to understanding why she died. There was the humiliation at a party held by Sinatra and Giancana, the increasing reliance on drink and prescription drugs, stepped-up surveillance by Hoover and the growing panic from the Kennedys about the contents of her Little Red Book. The men in her life were suddenly invested in the idea of her death…
EPISODE 8: DEATH OF A STAR
Just what happened on the night of August 4, 1962? This episode examines in meticulous detail the official version of events — as well as the inconsistencies that show it could not have been suicide. The lack of any pills or capsules in her stomach; the absence of vomit; the bruises omitted from the autopsy report; the glass window smashed from inside her room; the four hour gap between her housekeeper supposedly finding her dead and the cops arriving…
EPISODE 9: THE COVER-UP
The official coroner’s report declared Marilyn’s death “probable suicide,” but that was just one part of an immense cover-up designed to protect her real killer. From the quick and convenient disposal of her organs post mortem to the conspiracy of silence her housekeeper and others close to the star were compelled to keep, the questions keep coming: What was Peter Lawford’s movements that night? How was her psychiatrist (and lover) Dr. Greenson involved? What did Hoover’s — and, separately, private investigator Fred Otash’s — wire taps capture? Why was that information suppressed? And, most crucially, what happened to Marilyn’s Little Red Book?
EPISODE 10: WHODUNIT? THE SUSPECTS
We examine the various conspiracy theories surrounding her death, picking apart each of the suspects one by one. Was it a mob hit ordered by Giancana in order to get at JFK? Was J. Edgar Hoover – desperate to get his hands on the Little Red Book and the power over the president that would give him — behind it? Were the CIA, panicked over Marilyn’s ties to Communists and her potentially loose lips, spurred into silencing her? Or could it even have been the Kennedys themselves?
EPISODE 11: THE CASE AGAINST THE KENNEDYS
In which we outline exactly how — and why — the murder happened. Increasingly concerned about Marilyn’s erratic behavior and the thought she might go public about her affairs with both brothers, Bobby was sent to L.A. to put an end to it. Whether he turned up at Marilyn’s condo that night with the intention of killing his lover will never be known — but, when she wouldn’t give up the Little Red Book, things turned violent. A sedative was administered by Dr. Greenson; it didn’t work. A pillow was placed over her head, a further shot given, and then a fatal injection, directly into her heart. Lawford was contacted to get Bobby away and doctor the scene to look like suicide before, finally, the police were called and the Kennedy cover-up operation swung into action.
EPISODE 12: JUSTICE FOR MARILYN
A round-up of the entire series — and a look at what action has taken place in the 57 years since her murder, including the 1982 “threshold investigation” and the multitude of books since. The subsequent lives and deaths of JFK, RFK, Giancana, Hoover, Greenson, Sinatra and Lawford will also be examined for clues. Finally, we ask: Will the mounting evidence and the newly-released FBI files give the L.A. County district attorney’s office cause to think once again over the death of Hollywood’s most tragic star?