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L.A. Coroner Calls Monroe a “Probable Suicide”

Aug. 17, 1962 - The coroner of Los Angeles, Dr. Theodore J. Curphey (center), announced today that Marilyn Monroe’s death was probably a suicide. The cause was an overdose of barbiturates. He said toxicologists had also discovered that the 36-year-old film star had taken a large dose of chloral hydrate, commonly known as “knockout drops.” The coroner’s summary confirmed reports that Miss Monroe had attempted more than once to take her life with an overdose of sedatives. On these previous attempts, she had called for help and was rescued. It has not been established whether or not Miss Monroe had tried to call for help before she died. A telephone was on her bed with her when she was found. Dr. Curphey did not classify Miss Monroe as a drug addict, though she took small to moderate doses of barbiturates daily. It was stated that Miss Monroe had “experienced severe fears and frequent depressions” and had been taking sedatives for years because of insomnia. “She was thus familiar with and experienced in the use of sedative drugs and well aware of their dangers,” said Dr. Curphey.


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