Marilyn Monroe

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Marilyn Monroe Pencil Portrait
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There are so many obvious images of Marilyn Monroe as a glamour pin up girl and Hollywood sex symbol that I instantly rejected them all, opting instead to capture Norma Jean Baker, her alter ego and the young woman for whom life’s early experiences would indelibly affect her emotional stability.

She is often described as one of the most beautiful women of all time, ardently pursued by many men, yet the one enduring love affair of her life remained the relationship she enjoyed with the camera, a medium that fully recognised and appreciated the meticulous calculation that went into creating her “natural beauty.” A size twelve with less than yard long legs, a bump on her nose, a widow’s peak that proved difficult to dye and less than plumpish lips, turning into Marilyn was a four hour labour of love that could run adrift at anytime, necessitating a complete restart of the process, but it was worth it as she well knew. Once ready, it only took a flick of her internal switch to light up any room with a luminosity that has endured for more than fifty years since her untimely death.

She is still everywhere. When I venture out of my front door, her image is only the shortest distance to a local retailer away, whether it be adorning a full length mirror, a wall clock, poster, plate, compact disc, rug, diary, magazine or book. Yet, two years ago, the world’s highest-paid dead woman lost her earnings power. Marilyn Monroe pulled in $27 million in 2010 despite having died 48 years previously, but an appeals court sided with a photographer and denied her estate the protection of California’s generous post-mortem publicity rights which were written mainly for the Monroe estate. Her likeness is presumably now in the public domain and the court decision was significant in view of her ongoing earnings potential. Of course, depending on the manner in which an image is marketed, there will be question marks over artistic credibility; for example Jackson is everywhere whereas Apple Corps controls licensing for Lennon very selectively.

Top earning dead celebrities of 2011

According to Forbes

October 2010 to October 2011

Rank Name Year Died Age Earnings
1 Michael Jackson 2009 50 $170m
2 Elvis Presley 1977 42 $55m
3 Marilyn Monroe 1962 36 $27m
4 Charles Schulz 2000 77 $25m
5 John Lennon 1980 40 $12m

The following wesite makes a valid case for her abilities as a dramatic actress.\

For me personally, the artefact that stands out above all others is the fascimile reproduction of the “Baltimore Sun” front page announcing her death. Yes, one is drawn to the photograph of her from the aborted “Something’s Got To Give” movie yet the announcement of her probable suicide does not consume all the available editorial space as it no doubt would in many tabloids today.

She was not ‘lucky in love’ throughout her life and as ever, many of her emotional problems can be traced back to childhood; her time spent in and out of orphanages and the dreadful experience of sexual molestation at the hands of an older man. Like many readers, I have found myself drowning in a sea of third hand aspersions made by numerous biographers; her less than fastidious approach to personal hygiene during menstruation, and the ambiguity of her feelings about sex, an act that seemingly never brought her to the point of physical and mental fruition, yet a role for which she studiously prepared, in order to entrance her bedroom partners. It’s been the perennial subject matter for one stand up comedian after another down the years but the one liners only tell half the story. Whilst millions of woman are portrayed as ceiling crack inspectors during intercourse this assertion is insulting to the fairer sex for in reality they are thinking way more deeply at this point in time; either taking their mind someplace else or considering the desired beneficial consequences of their acquiecense. Millions find spiritual and emotional communion in the act, Marilyn was amongst the many more who seemingly do not. Perhaps matters might have been greatly assisted had the majority of her lovers cared about her as a person and in turn, she about them. Men saw her as a sex object and she felt compelled to oblige them.\\

There remains a case to suggest that she contributed much to her own problems in her single minded persuit of acting stardom, and it is equally clear that any criticism of her provokes considerable backlash as the link below indicates.\

Her second marriage to the all American sporting hero Joe DiMaggio, perhaps more than any other of her liasons, says much about the emotional manipulation that exists within so many relationships.

The DiMaggio’s marriage\

The link above provides a brief synopsis of the DiMaggio/Monroe relationship. The article suggests that Dimaggio never knew where he stood from day to day with Marilyn. Moving closer to what he no doubt presumed would be re-marriage, the man saw her off on a furniture buying expedition to Mexico and she returned with a new escort in tow. This will be the central point to my commentary on the actress, not her many varied and doomed relationships but the inclination of various men to involve themselves with her in the first place.

I have to confess that this is personally a difficult area to explore, for when I was younger looking for my “partner in life”, I had no inclination whatsoever to ‘boldly go where umpteen men had gone before’. However, how was I to discern between an attractive yet predominantly unresponsive woman who would have clearly generated considerable male interest, and one who had been promiscuous? More importantly, if my partner of choice were to have lived by such a moral code, then it would be hypocritical of me to conduct myself in anything less than a similar fashion. So I try to imagine myself working in Hollywood in some senior creative role, and being introduced to Miss Monroe. Assuming I don’t have an aversion to blondes, I am attracted to her. I know the score with how the studio system works, so this woman will have been auditioned several times on the casting couch. I have also read about several high profile relationships she has had, and here she is engaging in conversation and clearly happy to spend time alone with me. Let us presume my moral code is somewhat more diluted, and that all I have to consider is whether to embark on such a relationship. What would be the motivation? Genuine interest or self aggrandisement? The offer of emotional and practical support to an emotionally unstable yet talented actress, or career advancement? Concerted anonymity, or reflected fame? Perhaps ultimately little more than youthful impetuosity, yet in the case of Joe DiMaggio he was a divorcee and a man already in his late thirties. Although he had recently retired at the time he met Marilyn, he was still very much a national hero, whilst her star was only in the ascendency. She was twenty seven with a ticking biological clock yet understandably, little appetite for putting her career on hold. In contrast DiMaggio was looking to build a tranquil love nest whilst running the risk of becoming a tolerant cuckold. Worst of all, he could not have selected a greater object of desire or source of unbridled jealousy. On January 14, 1954, they predictably divorced because, according to Marilyn Monroe, “Joe wanted me to be the beautiful ex-actress, just like he was the great former ballplayer. We were to ride into some sunset together. But I wasn’t ready for that kind of journey yet. I wasn’t even 30, for heaven’s sake.”

Beyond the personal immaturity that made divorcing Joe inevitable, the interference of those who thrive on the misery of others proved to be the predictable trigger of the divorce.

Walter Winchell, J. Edgar Hoover’s close friend and regular conduit for celebrity news, stage-managed the timing of the divorce between Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. It was Walter Winchell who called Joe in Beverley Hills, the evening before, to insist that Joe witness the incident that caused their breakup. On the prompting of Walter Winchell, Joe caught a plane to attend the spectacle, the next evening. When he arrived, Joe was exhausted, tired, frustrated, and Winchell had to practically drag him out to view the incident that Richard Ben Cramer, Joe’s biographer, described in the following terms:

The scene they went to witness would produce one of the most famous screen images in history. Marilyn Monroe, in simple summer white, standing on a subway grating, cooling herself with the wind from a train below. But what sent Joe DiMaggio into a fury was the surrounding scene. Fans were yelling and shoving at police barrickades as the train blew Marilyn’s skirt around her ears. Actually it was a wind machine, manned beneath the street by a special effects crew. Each time it blew, the fifteen hundred strong crowd would yell, “Higher!, More!” Her legs were bare from her high heels to her thin white panties. People were climbing on roofs to get a good view even thought it was a midnight shoot to avoid large crowds. Over one hundred photographers were stretched out on the pavement with their lenses pointing at his wife’s crotch, the glare of their flashbulbs clearly outlining the shadow of her pubic hair. “What the hell is going on here?” Joe growled. The Director, Billy Wilder, would recall “the look of death” on DiMaggio’s face, yet continued shooting take after take. Joe turned and bulled his way through the crowd, on his way to a bar, with the delighted Winchell trodding at his heals. That night, the couple fought, and DiMaggio was physically abusive towards Marilyn. The noise on the seventh floor of the St. Regis hotel was so loud that reportedly none of the guests in the adjacent rooms could sleep.

Whichever volume on Marilyn the casual reader picks up, that is the general summation of what happened, but never is there any attempt at analysing what it says about male-female relationships. Did Marilyn approach her director to request that the scene be captured and “in the can” within two/three takes? Did she know her husband was there, and if so did she walk over to reassure him? Did she think that was a possibility without starting a fight there and then? In reality, I suspect she lapped up the adoration from the crowd and why should she be criticised for that, for after all, was this not what she had been working towards? Nevertheless the exterior “on location” shots could have been less provocative and the wind machine utilised only during filming of the studio “interiors.” As it was, the date and timing of the location shooting was printed in all the New York newspapers. When you really love someone, you don’t want to torment them, and you search for ways to compromise. It’s difficult enough making any relationship work, without the attendant pressure of financial “hangers on” intent on keeping the gravy train rolling. DiMaggio was in over his head.

The fact that Walter Winchell deliberately produced the famous fight did not get any press. Indeed, having been raised in a strict, Catholic household, there was no doubt that Joe would be absolutely enraged by watching air pump his wife’s dress over her head, and Marilyn, who had endured abuse as a child, predictably refused to tolerate Joe’s anger. Joe’s indifference to moviemaking was a further assurance that he would not share the enthusiasm of the crowds that cheered, and Walter Winchell’s cruel tweak proved that he was anything but Joe’s pal.

In the beginning it had appeared a fairy tale romance, for DiMaggio was a national hero and Monroe was a rapidly rising movie star. To this day I am not familiar with the finer points of a uniquely american sport but like all children I played rounders at school which is the earliest and usually the only connection any of us make with baseball. Nevertheless, a cursory glance at the following link concisely details the available statistics that made DiMaggio a sporting legend.\

An intensely private man, “Joltin’ Joe” was mistrustful of others, avaricious and highly protective of his merchandising bankability. His biographer charts the exploits of a cold, ‘small,’ often nasty, uncaring, resentful, self-centered man, a man of public grace and private misery who broke friendships, shunned family, and chased money with the same focused energies he once harnessed to run down fly balls. It’s not a pretty picture.

Richard Ben Cramer was interviewed at the time of publication of his book “Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life.”\

Monroe went onto her third and final marriage with the renowned playwright Arthur miller and several other high profile relationships. Meantime, DiMaggio carried a torch for Marilyn whilst viewing her descent into oblivion from a stupor of drink and prescrption drugs. He could have moved on with his life and forged a relationship with another woman yet showed little inclination. In the music and words of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart perhaps he was glad to be unhappy.

Look at yourself, if you had a sense of humor
You would laugh to beat the band
An’ look at yourself, do you still believe the rumor
That romance is simply grand?

Since, you took it right on the chin
You have lost that bright toothpaste grin
My mental state is all a jumble, I sit around and sadly mumble
Fools rush in, so here I am, very glad to be unhappy
I can’t win, but here I am more than glad to be unhappy

Unrequited love’s a bore and I’ve got it pretty bad
But for someone you adore it’s a pleasure to be sad
Like a straying baby lamb with no mammy and no pappy
I’m so unhappy but oh, so glad

‘GLAD TO BE UNHAPPY LYRICS © 1936 Rodgers/Hart

When Monroe divorced Arthur Miller, she was physically and mentally exhausted over a series of personal and professional setbacks that included feeling guilty over the sudden death of Clark Gable, and on February 4, 1961, she was admitted by her psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kris, into Manhattan’s Payne-Whitney Clinic and placed in the ward for the most seriously disturbed. Joe DiMaggio’s biographer described the experience in the following terms:

On February 6, 1961, her psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kris drove over to the Cornwell university’s medical centre on New York’s east side where Marilyn checked herself in for a rest. Immediately she was taken to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric division, where she was locked into a cell on a ward for truly psychotic patients, her screams of protest, her demands to be released were ignored or taken as evidence of her sickness. When she broke the payne of glass in her locked bathroom door, she was threatened with restraint and watched day and night. For Marilyn this was the worst fear of her life come true, she was locked away like her mother, a prisoner in a loonie bin. After three days, when she was finally permitted one call, she phoned to Florida. she called Joe DiMaggio. He was there the next day, at the Payne Whitney reception desk, six feet, one-and-a-half inches tall, wide at the shoulders, glowering darkly, and in no mood for talk. “I want my wife” DiMaggio said. No one pointed out to him that he and Marilyn Monroe had not been married for the last 6 years. Instead they tried to tell him that they had no authority to release Miss Monroe, to him or to anyone else.“I want my wife” Joe DiMaggio said, with menacing precision. His large hands gripped the reception desk. “And if you do not release her to me, I will take this place apart, piece of wood by piece of wood.” Suddenly, the Payne Whitney staff discovered that Miss Monroe was free to go. Joe had his wife transferred to another hospital, Columbia Presbyterian, where she could have a real rest, in a normal, private room which he would visit daily, and which he would fill with roses.

Marilyn Monroe was forced to endure six days of hell before Joe DiMaggio got her out.

What really happened to her?

I don’t know is the short answer. She was a woman badly scorned and potentially a very explosive loose canon on deck. Had she wished to discredit the Kennedy administration, she could simply have called a regular press conference ostensibly to discuss new movie projects and then spilled the contents of her diary. Instead she opted to indiscretely inform friends and selected media people that she was considering such action. She was probably incapable of determining what would represent ‘emotional restitution’ having been unceremoniously “dumped” by the Kennedy brothers and yet, even within her many incoherent moments, still recognised that she would be alienating some of the most powerful forces in the land. Monroe was sitting on some explosive secrets, and might best have been advised to get out of America at the time. She didn’t and I suspect repeated calls to the White House necessitated executive action. She was not a woman to be reasoned with. In Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, she had married the most famous sportsman and literary writer in the country and the presumption of usurping Jacqueline Kennedy to become First lady was preposterous only to everyone else.

If JFK did truly despatch his brother to visit with the troubled star, Bobby Kennedy therefore once again found himself putting his reputation on the line for his brother but with the huge problem of making a substance controlled actress understand the complexities and ramifications of any untoward actions on her part. That scene in her house with Kennedy brother in law Peter Lawford also in attendance was inevitably heated and ugly. Perhaps, having been calmed by her physician, Monroe later accidentally overdosed herself whilst under the effect of his previously administered medication. Resusitation efforts may have been delayed. Whatever really ensued, Marilyn had put her own life at risk; she didn’t respect the rules of engagement as she moved in ever increasingly powerful circles.

And what of Joe DiMaggio in all of this? The man organised her funeral whilst simultaneously barring all members of Hollywood who she had been “affiliated” with. Feelings ran high that day and having arranged for roses to be delivered to her crypt twice a week, the man repaired to Mexico and then devoted the last forty seven years of his life to business ventures. Apparently he never shared his life with another woman and certainly did not remarry. What are we to make of all this? Ultimately Marilyn displayed all the symptons of a manic depressive. If one of her last written yet unfinished letters was testimony to her commitment to making DiMaggio happy, then what on earth was she still doing involving herself in the affairs of State with the Kennedys no matter how badly treated she felt? If we explore a subject area that her ex-husband could not conceivably consider, we must ask ourselves how Marilyn would have reacted during her last reported tryst with JFK in May 1962 had he declared his love for her and a commitment to finding a way to win a second term and have her by his side as his First Lady? Where then would DiMaggio have stood in her emotional rankings? Poor Joe, and indeed all men – we really don’t get it do we?

A useful summary of the theories surrounding her death can be located at:\

In the final analysis, her death was a tragedy. Speaking at the 1993 Virginia Film Festival in Charlotsville, Robert Mitchum spoke about Monroe:

“I loved her. I had known her since she was about fifteen or sixteen years old. My partner on the line at the Lockhead plant in Long Beach was her first husband.l That’s when I first met her. And I knew her all the way through. And she was a lovely girl; very, very, shy. She had what is now recognised as agoraphobia. She was terrified of going out among people. At that time, they just thought she was being difficult. But she had that psychological, psychic fear of appearing among people. That’s why when she appeared in public, she always burlesqued herself. She appeared as you would hope that she would appear. She was a very sweet, loving and loyal, unfortunately loyal, girl. Loyal to people who used her, and a lot who misused her.”

Recommended viewing

The Seven year Itch (1955)

It might have cost her a second marriage but it defined her career.

The Seven Year Itch (1955) is a delightful, sophisticated and witty farce, using to the fullest extent the mordant humour of director Billy Wilder on the subject of sex and in particular adultery after seven years.

It was adapted from a Broadway play of the same name by George Axelrod, with Tom Ewell reprising his stage role. Although the play was about an actual consummated affair, it was modified due to the Hays Code in force at the time, and many of the best lines from the play were cut. The Motion Picture Production Code was the set of industry moral censorship guidelines that governed the production of most United States motion pictures released by major studios from 1930 to 1968. It was more popularly known as the Hays Code, after Hollywood’s chief censor of the time, Will H. Hays.

The film is best known for the definitive performance of a radiant Marilyn Monroe as the blonde bombshell, and known simply as ‘The Girl’. The film’s promotional tease photographs packaged her as the sexually-endowed girl next door, an ideal fantasy figure yet she conveys an innocence and naivety that is both bewitching and beyond the capabilities of any of her contemporaries.

The movie contains the most famous film moment of its time, Monroe clutching her dress as a perfectly timed gust of wind makes it billow up and around her exposed legs.

At the California auction of fellow Hollywood star Debbie Reynolds’s costume collection, Monroe’s ivory pleated Travilla dress, from the 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch”, undoubtedly stole the show. The dress sold for £2.8m ($4.6m) at the ‘Profiles in History’ auction house in Calabasas, California on June 19, 2011 and was one of a selection of iconic film costumes and memorabilia collected by Reynolds over the years as Hollywood studios sold or emptied their warehouses.

The lucky punter broke the bank for the unique piece of 1950s film history , a dress that made millions of young men’s hearts skip a beat.

Some like it hot (1959)

The American Film Institute hailed it as the #1 Funniest American Movie in 2000, as well as the 22nd Greatest American Movie in 2007 (although it had ranked #14 in their 1997 list). Additionally, the film won a place amongst the first 25 films to be inducted into the National Film Registry in 1989 and all this for a movie that was condemned by the Roman Catholic Legion of Decency and banned in Kansas upon its initial release.

I have to tell myself that amongst younger visitors to my site there may be some who haven’t seen “Some Like It Hot” yet it is one of the greatest comedies ever filmed and works on every level not in spite, but because of its absurdity. It follows the antics of two idiot musicians (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) who, after witnessing the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, struggle to escape the gangsters (including a severely unsmiling George Raft) by dressing up in drag and joining an all-girl band. Comic complications aplenty ensue when Tony Curtis – now a pouting girlie, strives to express his lust for Marilyn Monroe, while Jack Lemmon, equally high-voiced and simpering, is being pursued by an amorous Joe E Brown, who has one of the funniest and most radical final punch-lines in screen comedy.

“Some Like It Hot” is one of those rare movies where all the elements gel all the time. Both Curtis and Lemmon display a real feeling for sexual ambiguity and full-blown silliness, while Marilyn provides a suitably contrasting innocence to the antics of the two rogues. Director Billy Wilder presents all three with classic comic scenes which soar on the back of originality and great timing and embrace both slapstick and super-sharp wit. The monochrome look of the film imbues it with a suitably apt period feel and when Monroe coos “I want to be loved by you” every male viewer takes her exhortation personally. It’s doubtful any other actress of her day could have carried off the role as memorably.

The Misfits (1961)

A disturbing but captivating film about modern cowboys who have lost their purpose in a world that has robbed them of the West into which they were born. “The Misfits” regularly turned up on the BBC throughout the 70’s which is when I first caught the movie during a late weekend screening. For both Clark Gable and Marilyn it represented their cinematic swansong. Whether or not the strenuous stunts and bronc-busting feats he performed killed Gable is still in debate, but he certainly gave one of the finest performances of his career for the fade-out.

Gay (Gable) and sidekicks Guido (Wallach) and Perce (Clift) are cowboys without saddles, driving a pickup about the West in search of odd jobs. Their talk is nostalgic, liberally laced with thin bravado and the future looks bleak. In Reno, they meet recently divorced blond voluptuary Roslyn Taber (Monroe), who has left her successful businessman husband. A one time stripper who is seeking truth and a meaningful relationship with anyone who can relate to her naive yet idealistic notions Roslyn is attracted to Gay in the role as a father figur. Twice her age, he has no noble purpose, and intends to round up “misfit” horses, those wild mustangs too small for rodeo or ranch work, so they can be ground up for dog food. They tentatively begin a romance, but these “misfits” have a few things to prove to themselves and to each other first.

Written for her by third husband Arthur Miller “ The Misfits” is a sluggish and awkward film, even though it has many fine moments, notably Gable when he gets drunk and begins calling for his long-lost children, his spirited horse-breaking scenes and some of his tender scenes with Monroe. Gable had his misgivings about what he called the “arty” qualities of Miller’s script, but he eventually did more with his introspective role than the playwright could have expected.

Monroe breaks free of her sonambulistic drug induced lethergy in the scene where she screams at Gay and his buddies in the Nevada as they tousle with one particularly feisty mustang), but is often weak and directionless in her part. She tries adopting Actor’s Studio methods and deadpanning her scenes while belying her altruistic lines with a jiggling, tight-skirted image. Miller’s presence at the on-location scenes in Reno and Dayton, Nevada, undoubtedly inhibited director John Huston, who fails to significantly develop anyone’s character except Gable’s. Huston could not control Monroe, who was taking various drugs and seemed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown; when she did show up for work, she couldn’t remember her lines without heavy coaching. Somewhat surprisingly, Gable treated her and the similarly distraught, alcoholic Montgomery Clift with great consideration and kindness.

The film was finally completed on November 24, 1960, eight days after Gable’s death from a heart attack and several months before his fifth wife Kay gave birth to his only child. Monroe’s death from a sleeping-pill overdose would soon follow but not before attending the christening ceremony for Gable’s son, a mystifyingly surprise appearance considering his widow’s accusation that she had contributed to his on set stress through constant tardiness.

Whilst its no masterpiece, the film nevertheless hints at Monroe’s continuing dedication to improving her status as a dramatic actress; in that respect she couldn’t have selected a finer swansong.

Recommended reading

The Final years of Marilyn Monroe – The shocking True story (Keith Badman) 2012

Badman made his initial mark as a Rock biographer with several meticulously researched volumes, most notably “The Beatles : After the Breakup [a day by day diary] 1970-2000.”

2012 heralded three significant 50th showbusiness anniversaries, The Beatles debut single “Love Me Do,” “Doctor No,” the first James Bond motion picture and the death of Marilyn monroe.

If her films go unwatched by most people under 50 these days one must ask the question “how do we care about Marilyn Monroe now?” As I alluded at the beginning of my commentary – the answer appears to be as a subject of biographies, an iconic face on walls and shirts and a color-drenched silkscreen portrait by Andy Warhol. If we dig deeper, then she has a place on the periphery of American politics at a time of tumultous changes in world affairs yet, contrary to previous biographies, Badman argues that her involvement with high ranking officials was merely tenuous at best.

The book focuses exclusively on 1961-62, the disastrous last two years of her life, a period involving ill-advised liaisons with the sexually predatory President of the United States, his flirtatious but morally upright younger brother Bobby, the sleazier Frank Sinatra and his Mafia buddies, all of whom it can be argued put her in harm’s way.

Despite the welter of new material uncovered, the author is still compelled to make assumptions about periods of time when Monroe was evidently alone. Nevertheless, his desire to sift through masses of disinformation and to crosscheck/list sources is laudable, his polite reply to author and reviewer Tara Hanks in the link below a clear indicator of his reaction to any contrary accusation.

Ultimately, her drinking and prescription drug intake simply stirred the cocktail of self destruction. In the final analysis, Marilyn may have saved others a task; her own self destructiveness denying the harbinger of death fueled by her intimate knowledge of powerful men.\

The last known photos of Monroe, five days before her death.


Marilyn Monroe – the Biography (Donald Spoto)

Using more than 150 interviews and some 35,000 pages of previously sealed files, including Monroe’s diaries, letters, and other personal and revealing documents, this is certainly the best and most accurate biography of Marilyn.

Spoto reveals new details of every aspect of her life, and her mysterious death. No, Marilyn was not killed by the Kennedys. Her suicide may have been accidental, after being fed all those barbiturates by different people over the years; and Greenson and her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, may have had a hand in it. Murray certainly was incapable of presenting a consistent story about her last few hours.

‘The Assassination of Marilyn Monroe’ (Donald H. Wolfe)

Spoto doesn’t have the inside track all taped up and Wolfe’s tome explores the darker aspects to her final hours. While there always had been speculation that Robert Kennedy was involved with Monroe’s death, the official story was that the Attorney General was in northern California that weekend. However, the retired Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates has now admitted that Kennedy was in Los Angeles on the day Monroe died, and in 1985 Eunice Murray, her housekeeper, revealed on the BBC documentary ‘Say Goodbye to the President’ that Robert Kennedy had visited the film star’s house in the hours before she died.

Norman Jefferies, Mrs Murray’s son-in-law, was recently interviewed for the first time and proved to be an eye-witness to the events that took place at Monroe’s home on the day she died. Jefferies said the Attorney General arrived with the actor Peter Lawford in the mid- afternoon of 4 August 1962, and there had been a violent quarrel. Jefferies revealed that Kennedy had threatened Monroe and her psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson, was called to quiet her down.

Jefferies stated that Kennedy returned at approximately 10 o’clock that evening with two men he didn’t recognise. Told to leave the premises, Jefferies and Mrs Murray waited at a neighbour’s house for Kennedy and the two men to depart. Upon returning to the house later, they found Monroe comatose in the guest cottage, where she died. Jefferies said Monroe’s body was moved to the main house by officers of the LAPD intelligence division and that the “suicide in the locked bedroom” scenario was orchestrated by the intelligence officers.

A re-evaluation of Marilyn Monroe’s autopsy report establishes that she didn’t die of an overdose of sleeping tablets, but by an injection of a barbiturate. John Miner, Assistant Los Angeles District Attorney, who was present at the autopsy, has never been convinced that Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. Miner believes the evidence points to murder, and he has requested that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office re-open the case and have the her body exhumed. There’s no statute of limitations on murder, and there’s more than ample evidence to support the re-opening of the Marilyn Monroe case. John Miner and many others feel that Monroe should not bear the stigma of a “probable suicide.”

Towards the end of his book asks some all important questions – “Did they intend to murder Marilyn Monroe? Or was the intent to subdue her with a “hot shot” if she caused any problems while they broke into her file cabinent in the guest cottage; took the notes, letters and legal documents, and searched for the book of secrets? The evidence points to premeditated murder. In the presence of Bobby Kennedy, Monroe was injected with enough barbituates to kill fifteen people.”


Immortal Marilyn

A thoughtfully compiled website with a useful bibliography, some interesting original film posters and photo archives.

Marilyn Monroe and the Camera

A fansite celebrating her life and work rather than sensationalising her death. I was interested to see the first edition of “Playboy” magazine and the minute variances between the original issue and the 20,000 strong reprint edition. Collecting authentic memorabilia is fraught with problems due in no small part to the ever present bootleg/piracy market.