In 1962, Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe died at her home in Brentwood, California. The coroner's office ruled her death a "probable suicide." Over the years, numerous stories have surfaced about this controversial case. However, most people don't know that the most fascinating Marilyn Monroe story connects to the small town of Pacoima, California. That it was a San Fernando High School graduate that signed her death certificate and the price he paid for saying something was wrong.
Lionel Grandison, whose family moved to Pacoima in 1952, was the coroner's deputy assigned Monroe's case and signed her death certificate. Grandison, who graduated from San Fernando High School in 1957, was also the last public official to see Marilyn's diary. His daughter, Crystal Jackson, spoke about her late father in a recent interview.
"My dad passed away on January 6, 2021, from COVID, and I really miss him a lot," said Jackson. "He spent a lifetime trying to tell the world the truth about her case. But I never really wanted to get involved because I saw first-hand the pain it caused him and my mother. He lost his family, his job, and nearly his life."
Lionel Grandison's story has been seen and heard around the globe. He has appeared on numerous television shows and in national magazines. 1982, he was the subject of an official District Attorney's Inquiry into Monroe's death.
August 5 marks the 60th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. Yet, many unanswered questions remain after all these years. Why did preliminary toxicology reports show no poison in her stomach? Who prescribed the drugs that allegedly killed her? Why was her home wiretapped? What was Marilyn's connection with the Kennedys?
"What really happened to Marilyn Monroe, I don't know, but evidence shows there should have been an inquest at the very least. Not to mention that a big Hollywood studio, shady doctors, and horny politicians were all involved," added Jackson."
Jackson is currently writing a book and screenplay based on her father's explosive memoir, "The Case of Marilyn Monroe," first published in 2012."
"My dad was a young, vibrant, Black 22-year-old coroner's deputy who had his whole life ahead of him. But when he arrived to work that fateful Sunday morning, everything changed," said Jackson.
"He was assigned this high-profile case and pressured into signing her death certificate, despite his objections. Then immediately after that charged with a crime. They set my father up to discredit him so no one would listen to his story."
Earlier this year, Crystal Jackson released her critically acclaimed historical novel, "Not Colored." The book follows the journey of three generations of African American women through their racial triumphs and struggles.
"In my book, "Not Colored," I touched on the trauma Marilyn Monroe's case caused my mother and father. However, in my new book "The Marilyn Monroe Connection," readers will discover the real man my dad was and what happened at the coroner's office. But, more importantly, the devastation he faced in the aftermath. It's my job now to carry this torch for him, and the best way I can do that is with a story."
Crystal Jackson's new book, "The Marilyn Monroe Connection" is scheduled for release later this year. The town of Pacoima has great stories, and this one is no exception.