According to nearly every newspaper, television, and radio broadcast in the world, early on Aug. 5, Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood’s brightest star, was found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood, Los Angeles home.

Murray then walked outside the home and looked inside the bedroom’s “French doors.” She later recalled that Marilyn “Looked peculiar. An arm was stretched across the bed and a hand hung limp on a telephone.” Murray called Dr. Greenson, who, upon arrival, broke through the window door with a fireplace poker to get to Marilyn.

In the years since, Marilyn’s legend and the details surrounding her tragic death and autopsy have transmogrified into a mountain of conspiracy theories and tall tales.

Who was she trying to call just before she closed her eyes for the last time? Was she murdered? Who was involved? And what about those pesky and unsubstantiated rumors about the involvement of John and Bobby Kennedy, not to mention the Mafia, the CIA and even members of the Communist Party? On and on it goes, each theory seeming to be crazier or more far-fetched than the last.

Monroe, like Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, Prince, and too many other famous Hollywood stars who overdosed, was adept at manipulating her doctors to prescribe the drugs she craved and felt she needed to get through her tortured days and nights.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999; so, too, have the sales of these prescription drugs.

Marilyn Monroe