They had it all: fame, fortune, talent, good looks, and the admiration of loyal fans from all over the world, or so it seemed. Privately, these celebrities fought personal demons the only way they knew how through the use of addicting drugs. Their untimely deaths from drug overdoses shocked us.
These much-loved celebrities were taken in the prime of their lives but they have remained icons long after their deaths. Our fascination with them remains as strong today as it was when they were alive.
There has always been a fascination with the death of Marilyn Monroe. Though her death was ruled a suicide, there are many who believe she was murdered. Hers is a confusing case where the facts and conspiracy theories are interwoven to the point it is hard to separate fact from fiction.
On the night of August 4, 1962, Marilyn Monroe took an overdose of barbiturates. Some believe she was forced to take them and would never have committed suicide. After all, in the weeks leading up to her death, things were looking up for her personally and professionally. By all appearances, Marilyn had everything to live for.
According to truTV.com, witnesses at the time reported seeing Marilyn taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital and returned to her Brentwood home where she would be rediscovered by her psychiatrist and Eunice Murray. Marilyn’s personal physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, was also at her residence. Dr. Engelberg told police she committed suicide and showed them the bottles of sedatives.
The bizarre events that followed the initial discovery of her body – the removal of a diary and incriminating letters most likely to or from President John F. Kennedy or his brother Bobby – have bred conspiracy theories and sparked debate for almost 50 years. Many believe there was a massive cover up to protect the president.
Best known for her role as ‘Dorothy’ in The Wizard of Oz and her amazingly beautiful, heart-wrenching voice, Judy Garland’s life was, at times, a tragic one. Through all of her professional successes, true happiness and the pursuit of love from a good man eluded her.
In the 2001 television movie, Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows, we get a sense of her tragic, destructive life as she navigates her childhood, entry into the entertainment business, her addiction to pills, and her battle with depression among other things.
According to her 1969 obituary available at the New York Times, the studio contributed to what would become a lifelong addiction to pills.
“They’d give us pep pills,” Garland wrote. “Then they’d take us to the studio hospital and knock us out cold with sleeping pills…after four hours they’d wake us up and give us pep pills again…That’s the way it worked and that’s the way we got thin. That’s the way we got mixed up. And that’s the way we lost contact.”
Was Garland’s death really an accident or did she finally succeed in killing herself? This is what we do know about that fateful night Judy Garland died:
Sometime during the early morning hours of June 22, 1969, Judy Garland stumbled to the bathroom where she took an accidental overdose of barbiturates. Her husband woke up and found Garland wasn’t in bed. He first knocked on the locked bathroom door and, getting no response, he climbed outside and over to the bathroom window to gain entry. He found Garland on the toilet, dead at the age of 47.
Excessive amounts (4.9 mg) of the sleep-inducing drug Seconal were found in the starlets system, a level that had the potential to kill anyone who took that much at one time. It’s possible she was in a daze when she took the pills. It has never proven Garland’s death was anything but an accident.
Yes, Elvis really is dead despite years’ long rumors to the contrary that appear to have their origins in the media, fueled by so-called ‘recordings’ of Elvis and trash mag photos showing ‘Elvis’ alive and well living someplace sunny and warm.
The once svelte Elvis had gained quite a bit of weight, he and Priscilla Presley were going through a divorce, and he was taking stimulants and depressants (uppers and downers) commonly used to wake up and go to sleep.
According to a 1977 story in the Washington Post, Elvis’ road manager, Jerry Esposito found the musician unresponsive in his bathroom at Graceland. He was taken to Baptist Memorial hospital in Memphis where he was pronounced dead.
Elvis was consuming more than 25 pills every day. In the days before his death, his doctor prescribed 680 tablets of Dilaudid, a powerful painkiller. ElvisPresleyNews.com reports in a seven-month period, the good doctor prescribed 5,300 pills to Elvis.
When LA Bio Science Lab’s Dr. Kelly analyzed Presley’s body tissue, it was found to contain various drugs including depressants, Valium, morphine, pentobarbital, Quaaludes, and Placidyl.
Although Elvis’ death was first attributed to a massive heart attack, the coroner and those attending the autopsy would later admit they concealed the facts of Presley’s death in order to keep from tarnishing Elvis’ image a drug scandal would bring.
John Lennon said of Elvis’ death, ” The King is dead. But rock ‘n’ roll will never die. Long live the King.”
The memory of these iconic stars is still alive and well today. We still celebrate their contributions to entertainment by watching their movies and listening to their music. For as long as we continue doing this, they will live on forever.
Personal Experience – Lifelong fan and researcher of Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Elvis Presley
The Death of Marilyn Monroe – The Death of Marilyn – Crime Library on truTV.com
Judy Garland, 47, Found Dead, New York Times on the Web
WashingtonPost.com: Rock Idol Elvis Presley Dies at 42
Elvis Presley Death – ELVIS DEATH – Elvis Death Certificate, ElvisPresleyNews.com