Theodore Curphey



Theodore Joscelyn Curphey (October 25, 1897 – November 27, 1986) was an American coroner who was the chief coroner for Los Angeles and Nassau Counties.Curphey was elected Nassau County medical examiner on December 15, 1937 by the Nassau County Board of Supervisors. Prior to becoming county medical examiner, Curphey had worked as a pathologist at St. Johns Hospital in Brooklyn and Meadowbrook Hospital in East Meadow, New York. As Nassau Countys Chief Medical Examiner he oversaw the autopsies of Robert L. Bacon, Janet Fay, Owen Davis, Jr., and William Woodward, Jr.. He also worked with the FBI to identify the fatalities of Northeast Airlines Flight 823. While working as Nassau County Medical Examiner, Curphey also served as the Chairman of the New York State Medical Societys Public Health and Education Committee, President of the Nassau County Medical Society, and Chairman of the Nassau County Committee of the American Cancer Society.On March 19, 1957, Curphey was announced as the first Coroner of Los Angeles County. In his first year as coroner, he was involved in a dispute with local morticians over delay in issuing death certificates. In November 1958, Curpheys autopsy procedures were investigated by a grand jury, which accused him of misconduct. The charges against Curphey were later brought before the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission, which promised him that no further complaints will be filed against him.Curphey was the chief coroner during the investigation into the death of Marilyn Monroe. On August 7, 1962, two days after her death, Curphey announced that a massive overdose of barbiturates was the cause of death. He later said she had lethal doses of both Nembutal or chloral hydrate and she could have been killed by either.Curphey also administered the autopsies of Jack Westrope, George Reeves, Davey Moore, Red Sanders, and Dorothy Dandridge.Curphey retired on October 25, 1967 from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. After his retirement he served as consultant in forensic medicine and on the Suicide Prevention Bureau, which he founded.

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