Liz Smith on Marilyn’s Last Cheque

Last week, the Huffington Post reported a forensic psychologist’s comment on Marilyn’s last signed cheque, for a chest of drawers, dated August 4th. (The cheque is due to be sold by Heritage Auctions on July 24th.)

“‘People about to kill themselves frequently engage in self-soothing behaviors,’ Dr. S. David Bernstein told The Huffington Post. Shopping sprees are definitely one of those behaviors, he said. ‘Spending — and giving things away — make us feel good,’ he said.

But this was a single purchase, Bernstein said. ‘A single item — especially something practical like a chest of drawers and of a low value like this — suggests a frame of mind of “I’m going to be here for awhile,”‘  he said. ‘If I were doing a psychological autopsy, this would be intriguing. This would be more consistent with someone who is not suicidal.’

Bernstein says buying a chest of drawers that you are going to fill up with things is an action taken by someone who ‘plans to be around awhile,’ not about to end their life. ‘It’s an inconsistent behavior’ for someone planning suicide, he said.”

The check was signed by Marilyn, but written by someone else – possibly her housekeeper, Eunice Murray. Personally, I don’t think this item tells us anything significant about Marilyn’s state of mind on that day. She had been purchasing furniture regularly since moving into a new house several months before.

Veteran columnist Liz Smith considers the story in her latest Chicago Tribune column.

“Last week, a check Monroe wrote out a day before she died was put up for auction. It was also ‘analyzed.’ The purchase was for a chest of drawers for her new home in Brentwood. A forensic psychologist chimed in and insisted this was proof positive Monroe was not ‘planning to commit suicide.’ Well, gee. Nobody ever said she was planning it. If that had been the case she certainly would have had a touch up to her roots, not to mention a manicure and pedicure. (These things were noted by the police who first saw her body.) Suicide often just ‘happens’ to people who struggle with depression, and who also have an inordinate amount of medication handy, as the chronically sleepless Marilyn did. But the ‘she was murdered’ posse are pleased with one more notch on their side.”

UPDATE: The check has been sold for $31,250 – more about the auction here

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