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Monroe Died of “Massive Overdose” of Barbiturates

Aug. 6, 1962 - Marilyn Monroe’s body was released to the Westwood Village Mortuary today after Coroner Theodore J. Curphey announced that the cause of death was a massive overdose of barbiturates. He reported that chief toxicologist R. J. Abernathy found 4.5 milligrams of barbiturate poisoning per 100cc of blood — about twice the amount usually considered a lethal dosage. No alcohol was found in the actress’s blood. The type of barbiturate drug ingested by Miss Monroe has not been determined, said Dr. Curphey. Tests should be completed tomorrow. Dr. Curphey did reveal that seven containers of drugs (pictured) were found near Miss Monroe’s bed when she was discovered dead about 3:30 a.m. in her Brentwood home at 12305 5th Helena Drive. One of the containers was an empty prescription bottle which only two days earlier had contained 50 Nembutal capsules. The pills were to be taken in dosages of only one a night for sleeping. The actress was plagued with insomnia, her doctor reported. Miss Monroe’s body was wheeled out of the back of the County Morgue in the Hall of Justice at 5:15 p.m. and loaded into a plain, white panel truck. The body was covered by a pale blue blanket. Officials at the morgue breathed a sigh of relief — they hoped her removal would stem several hundred telephone calls received today from curiosity seekers.


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