On August 5, 1962, LAPD police sergeant Jack Clemmons received a call at 4:25 a.m. from Dr. Ralph Greenson, Monroe's psychiatrist, proclaiming that Monroe was found dead at her home in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California. She was 36 years old. At the subsequent autopsy, eight milligram percent of Chloral Hydrate and 4.5 milligram percent of Nembutal were found in her system, and Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office recorded cause of death as "acute barbiturate poisoning," resulting from a "probable suicide". Many theories, including murder, circulated about the circumstances of her death and the timeline after the body was found. Some conspiracy theories involved John and Robert Kennedy, while other theories suggested CIA or Mafia complicity.
On August 8, 1962, Monroe was interred in a crypt at Corridor of Memories #24, at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles. Lee Strasberg delivered the eulogy. The crypt space immediately to the left of Monroe's was bought and reserved by Hugh Hefner in 1992.
In August 2009, the crypt space directly above that of Monroe was placed for auction on eBay. Elsie Poncher plans to exhume her husband and move him to an adjacent plot. She advertised the crypt, hoping "to make enough money to pay off the $1.6 million mortgage" on her Beverly Hills mansion.The winning bid was placed by an anonymous Japanese man for $4.6 million,but the winning bidder later backed out "because of the paying problem"
In her will, Monroe left Lee Strasberg her personal effects, which amounted to just over half of her residuary estate. She expressed her desire that he "distribute [the effects] among my friends, colleagues and those to whom I am devoted." Instead, he stored them in a warehouse, and willed them to his widow, Anna. Inez Melson successfully sued Los Angeles-based Odyssey Auctions in 1994 to prevent the sale of items taken by Monroe's former business manager. In October 1999, Christie's auctioned the bulk of the items, including those recovered from Melson's family, netting US $13,405,785.
Anna Strasberg then sued the children of four photographers to determine rights of publicity, which permits the licensing of images of deceased personages for commercial purposes. The decision was worth millions as to whether Monroe was a resident of California (where she died) or New York (where her will was probated).
On May 4, 2007, a judge in New York ruled that Monroe's rights of publicity ended at death. In October 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 771.The legislation was supported by Strasberg and the Screen Actors Guild, and established that non-family members may inherit rights of publicity through the residuary clause of the deceased's will, provided that the person was a resident of California at the time of death.
In March 2008, the United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled that Monroe was a resident of New York at the time of her death, citing that the executor of her estate told California tax authorities as much, and that a 1966 sworn affidavit by her housekeeper quoted Monroe as saying that she considered New York City her primary residence.The decision was reaffirmed by the United States District Court of New York in September 2008.