In 1962, ten years after a major African American migration blanketed Pacoima, a young 22-year-old San Fernando High graduate, Lionel Grandison, found himself working for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office as a deputy coroner’s aide. A prestigious job primarily held by non-minorities, he was promoted to that position due to his advanced intelligence and intrapersonal skills, after working there for only 9 short months.
The youngest to ever hold that position, Grandison as led investigations on high-profile cases such as comedian Ernie Kovacs and assisted with investigations into George Reeves (Superman). But what catapulted this Pacoimian into infamy was his role in the Marilyn Monroe controversy after he reluctantly signed her death certificate that stated probable suicide.
Grandison had access to the police and autopsy reports that raised multiple questions about whether it was suicide or homicide. But more importantly, he was the last known person to see her diary which arrived to the Coroner’s office during his investigation. After reading alarming entries that included then-president John F. Kennedy, his brother Bobby, and a host of mafia leaders, he expressed multiple concerns about her death. Wanting him silenced, Grandison was falsely set up for stealing a credit card from a dead body which immediately discredited his Monroe story, while also costing him his job, family, and dignity.
Despite suffering this humiliating situation, Grandison eventually went on national television shows sharing his truth. He was appeared on “In Search of,” with Leonard Nimoy, “The Marilyn Files,” with Bill Bixby, and countless others in his quest to share his story and get justice for the death of Marilyn Monroe. In 2012, he wrote a book titled “Memoirs of a Deputy Coroner: The Case of Marilyn Monroe,” which detailed his entire experience with the Hollywood actress’s case. The book is extraordinary and can be purchased on Amazon.