Although Monroe had become one of 20th Century-Fox’s biggest stars, her contract had not changed since 1950, meaning that she was paid far less than other stars of her stature and could not choose her projects or co-workers.
She was also tired of being typecast, and her attempts to appear in films other than comedies or musicals had been thwarted by Zanuck, who had a strong personal dislike of her and did not think she would earn the studio as much revenue in dramas.
During the final months of her life, Monroe lived at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Her housekeeper Eunice Murray was staying overnight at the home on the evening of August 5, 1962. Murray awoke at 3:00 a.m. on August 6 and sensed that something was wrong.
Although she saw light from under Monroe’s bedroom door, she was unable to get a response and found the door locked. Murray then called Monroe’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, who arrived at the house shortly after and broke into the bedroom through a window, where he found Monroe dead in her bed. Monroe was pronounced dead by her physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, who arrived at the house at around 3:50 a.m. At 4:25 a.m., they notified the Los Angeles Police Department.