The Funeral of Marilyn Monroe

The funeral of Marilyn Monroe was held on Wednesday, 8th August 1962 at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

In the absence of Marilyn’s half-sister Berniece Miracle – who lived 500 miles away and was making her way to Los Angeles – her former husband, Joe DiMaggio, asked if he and Marilyn’s business manager Inez Melson, could help with the arrangements.  They decided to invite only her close family members and friends, excluding all her Hollywood friends as Berniece felt you couldn’t invite them all, and DiMaggio felt they contributed in part to her death.  Press and fans stood outside the cemetery gates and surrounding streets in their hundreds, while there was a police presence in the cemetary to keep the crowd under control. The funeral service was conducted at the cemetery’s chapel by Reverend A.J.  Soldan.

Those invited were:

  • Berniece Miracle (Half-Sister)
  • Joe DiMaggio & Joe DiMaggio Jnr. (Ex-Husband & Son)
  • Lee and Paula Strasberg (Acting Coaches)
  • Dr. Ralph Greenson and Family (Psychiatrist)
  • Allan Snyder (Make-up Artist and Close Friend)
  • Inez and Pat Melson (Inez was Marilyn’s Business Manager)
  • Sydney Guilaroff (Hairdresser and Friend)
  • Agnes Flanagan (Hairdresser)
  • Anne and Mary Karger (Longtime Friends)
  • George Solotaire (Friend of DiMaggio & Marilyn)
  • Pat Newcomb (Marilyn’s Publicist)
  • Eunice Murray (Marilyn’s Housekeeper)
  • Rudy Kautzky (Marilyn’s Chauffeur)
  • Florence Thomas (Marilyn’s Chambermaid)
  • Enid & Sam Knebelkamp (One of Marilyn’s Foster Parents)
  • Aaron Frosch (Marilyn’s Lawyer)
  • Milton Rudin (Marilyn’s Lawyer)
  • May Reis (Marilyn’s Secretary)
  • Ralph Roberts (Marilyn’s Masseuse)
  • Erwin and Anne Goddard (Grace Goddard’s Family)

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding Marilyn’s funeral is the role Arthur Miller played in events.  Miller did not attend, but it was not because he didn’t want to; he simply wasn’t able to.  His wife at the time, Inge Morath, was almost 9 months pregnant with their first child.  He did, however, send two bouquets of flowers – one from himself and one from his children.

Marilyn was dressed in the mint green Pucci dress that she had worn at a recent press conference in Mexico, and was holding a bouquet of small pink roses.   Years before her death Marilyn had asked her long-time friend and make-up artist, Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder to do her make-up should she pre-decease him.  He faithfully kept his word, bolstered by a bottle of gin.   The eulogy was delivered by Lee Strasberg, and the music selection included Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, as well as a recording of Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow.

DiMaggio was devastated.  He kissed Marilyn’s forehead, telling her “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

Following the ceremony Marilyn was interred at crypt No. 24 in the Corridor of Memories. When they were married, Marilyn had asked DiMaggio to put flowers on her grave every week, as William Powell had done for Jean Harlow.  He agreed and when the time came arranged for red roses to be placed in a vase attached to the crypt for the next 20 years, only stopping in 1982.

Marilyn’s crypt is the most visited grave in Westwood and the 4th most visited grave in the world. Each year a memorial is held, in the same chapel her funeral mass was in, by Marilyn Remembered Fan Club in honour of her.