One of the legendary "morticians to the stars" who reportedly prepared Marilyn Monroe’s body for burial revealed that the actress was unrecognizable at the time of her death.
In the 1960s, Abbott & Hast was the go-to funeral service for the rich and famous in Los Angeles, with the firm undertaking the responsibility of chauffeuring the bodies of deceased celebrities. One of their most high-profile jobs was the death of Monroe, who had been found dead at her home from a suspected drug overdose on Aug. 5, 1962.
In 2015, Alan Abbott released a book called "Pardon My Hearse" in which he detailed the condition Monroe was in when her body was discovered.
"Because of the tremendous implications of this case, it took much longer for Coroner Theodore Curphey to finally make some statements," Abbott wrote, according to the Daily Mail. "His best and most dedicated pathologist, Thomas Noguchi, known to some as 'The Knife,' spent about three times as much time as it usually took him to do a full postmortem.
"The deputies at the coroner's office informed me that Dr. Noguchi had been extremely thorough with his examination of her body. He spent a great deal of time looking for hypodermic needle marks, which he did discover in her arm pit, but this area is often used by doctors when treating female movie stars.
"He continued to search in unusual places like inside her nose, between her toes and fingers, under her tongue, and in her genitals, but was unable to discover any additional injection points."
Abbott then revealed the way the legendary blonde beauty looked when he examined her body.
"When we removed the sheet covering her, it was almost impossible to believe this was the body of Marilyn Monroe," he wrote. "She looked like a very average, aging woman who had not been taking very good care of herself. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding her death had greatly exacerbated her poor appearance and she was unrecognizable.
"When someone dies, gravity causes the blood to settle to the lowest point of the body. This condition is called lividity, and considering that many people die lying on their backs, the discoloration that occurs is seldom visible. In Marilyn's case, she died face down, so there were purple blotches on her face, and her neck was very swollen.
"They had bathed her at the coroner's office, and her hair was frizzy and fairly short. You could tell she had not bleached it for some time, because the roots were darker and had grown out about half an inch. Her natural hair color was a light brown, not blonde. Her legs hadn't been shaved for at least a week, and her lips were badly chapped. She was also in need of a manicure and pedicure."
Abbott and Hast were reportedly high school friends who bought a limousine together in the 1950s to use on camping trips. They eventually ended up going into business together. They didn't just chauffeur the deceased around though; they also chauffeured celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and even President John F. Kennedy.