How Marilyn died ?
Was she borderline ?

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According to the National Institute For Mental Health, suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. Someone ends their own life in the United States approximately once every 17 minutes.
Each year there are more suicides than homicides recorded.

On the night of August 4, 1962, Marilyn Monroe ended her life filled with depression, failed marriages, babies lost to miscarriages, heavy use of dangerous prescription drugs, and a personal unhappiness the world would not see beneath the glamorous surface. She ended it by her own hand.


Suicide is most often related to a very common condition known as depression. Depression can range in individuals from a moderate range to Major Depressive Disorder and depressive phases associated with Bipolar Disorder. It is well known that mental illness ran in the family of Marilyn Monroe, especially in the women of her family. Her mother spent most of her life in an institution. 
Recent research shows, according to the Archives of General Psychiatry, that Affective (or mood) Disorders are genetic and do run in families. It is very possible that Marilyn inherited a lesser form of the mental illness from which her mother, Gladys Baker, suffered.

Marilyn's psychiatrist at the end of her life, Dr Ralph Greenson, is said to have suggested to colleagues that he believed Marilyn was schizophrenic. It has been said that Marilyn appeared to have "two people inside her."   If indeed Marilyn had some personality disorder through which she housed two personalities, it becomes possible that one personality prompted the suicide in order to kill the other personality. In other words, Norma Jeane may have, in effect, killed Marilyn.

Many modern psychiatrists believe that Marilyn suffered from what is known as Borderline Personality Disorder, symptoms of which include identity issues, addictive behaviour, and suicidal behaviour. This disorder most often appears in adults who suffered from feelings of abandonment as a child.

Throughout the last seven years of her life, Marilyn underwent heavy psychiatric evaluation, and became extremely dependent on her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, during the last months of her life. She even saw him on the last day of her life, apparently at her request. He was very worried about her, worried enough to ask the housekeeper, Eunice Murray to spend the night.


Marilyn fits the list of conditions (courtesy of Suicide Prevention Resources) very well. Of the six conditions listed below, Marilyn, at the end of her life, fits four of them extremely well, and a fifth quite well also.

1. Death or terminal illness of a relative or friend.

2. Divorce, separation, broken relationship, stress on family.

3. Loss of health (real or imaginary).

4. Loss of job, home, money, status, self-esteem, personal security.

5. Alcohol or drug abuse.

6. Depression.

Depression that seems to quickly disappear for no apparent reason is cause for concern. The early stages of recovery from depression can be a high risk period. Recent studies have associated anxiety disorders with increased risk for attempted suicide.

Marilyn had been ill (# 3) during the filming of Something's Got To Give, and indeed suffered health problems all her life, especially gynecological problems.

Marilyn had recently lost her job (# 4) and was being sued by the studio. Twentieth Century Fox was also attempting to manipulate the press to make Marilyn look bad. Marilyn may also have had money problems. Sometime near the end of her life she borrowed $5,000 from Joe DiMaggio, as shown on the listing of her debts after her death, a list that was extremely long. She died with very little money in the bank.

Marilyn had a well known problem with prescription drugs and was known to flirt with the lethal combination of alcohol and sleeping pills (# 5).

Marilyn was very likely depressed during the last few months of her life (# 6). Although many reports say she was starting to feel better at the time of her death, I would draw your attention to the statement above that the "early stages of recovery from depression can be a high risk period."

Marilyn had also been through three failed marriages, which very likely still weighed heavily on her mind, her last divorce having occurred just a year and a half before her death (# 2). And there is also the affair with JFK that had just ended badly.

So we can see that Marilyn was a high risk for suicide in the last months of her life, fitting the conditions frighteningly well.


People who commit suicide often have a record of previous suicide attempts. Numerous suicide attempts by Marilyn are recorded at various times of her life. Some of the reported suicide attempts include: 

- Two attempts by age of twenty, as told by Marilyn to friends.

 - After death of Johnny Hyde, Marilyn swallowed twenty Nembutal capsules and left a suicide note, was saved when acting coach Natasha Lytess found her.

- Possibility of up to three suicide attempts during her marriage to Arthur Miller, due to depression over miscarriages - Miller documents these in his play, After The Fall.

- Taken to hospital during filming of Some Like It Hot, due to a sleeping pill overdose.

- Possibility that the reason for Marilyn leaving the set of The Misfits to "rest," at Westside Hospital was a suicide attempt.

- Dr Hyman Engelberg pumped her stomach after an overdose when the Miller marriage broke up, also shortly after the death of Clark Gable.

- Suicide attempts are even reported in the weeks just prior to her death.

Whether or not all of the reported suicide attempts actually occurred, there is enough evidence to suggest that Marilyn had been suicidal on more than one occasion throughout her life. She was clearly at a high risk for one of her attempts to finally be successful.

Marilyn also talked of wanting to die on more than one occasion, especially in the poetry that she wrote over the years.


Marilyn's death was officially pronounced a probable suicide by a Suicide Investigation Team set up by the Los Angeles Coroner's Office. They did a psychological profile of Marilyn and concluded in an agreement with the Coroner and the toxicology reports: Marilyn ended her own life.

They also stated that in NO known cases had anyone unknowingly committed suicide by use of barbiturates.

Various professional sources, Medical Doctors and Doctors of Psychiatry, all come to the same conclusion. Marilyn Monroe's death was a probable suicide.



When someone like Marilyn Monroe dies, there is a panic on the part of a lot of people. No one wants to be blamed. People take actions that may not make sense to those outside the situation, but made sense to the person at the time. People involved in high-stress traumatic events can not always explain what caused them to do a particular thing, just that they felt at the time it was the right thing to do. Some things may have been done by various parties on the night of Marilyn's death that do not make sense now, but did at the time to the people involved.

Marilyn Monroe was, throughout her life, a high risk for suicide. She faced a great deal of difficulty with personal relationships, and dealt with a legacy of mental illness, both heavy factors in depression.

At the end of her life, Marilyn had lost her job, gone through three divorces, failed to give birth to the child she so badly wanted, and attempted to end her own life on numerous occasions.

After many years of fighting depression, on the night of August 4th, 1962, Marilyn's fight came to an end when she tragically ended her own life.

A very special thanks to Leslie Kasperowicz for her permission to use this piece on how Marilyn died. It does not necessarily represent her personal belief about how Marilyn died but merely presents the argument for the suicide theory in a coherent form.

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All the informations on this site are with an aim of helping to understand a "particular" disease at the very least and puzzle
But more especially to support peoples who suffer, sick or not.  In all cases, it is ESSENTIAL to have recourse to a therapist specialized in the disease to confirm or to cancel a diagnosis
Though it is the name doesn't much matter, which is important, it is to apply "the right" treatment to each patient

Last update 2020