On Monday May 28th when she arrived on set it was obvious that the star was in deep trouble. Cuker could see something was very wrong. “ I’ve never seen her like this “ he said. “ She looked like she was falling apart“.
“From the moment she arrived,she looked like a piece of fine crystal about to shatter”,said co star Tom Tyron. She couldn’t string two words together and repeatedly fluffed her lines. After several takes Cuker grew irritated and lost patience. Marilyn ran hysterically from the set to her bungalow, grabbed a scarlet lipstick and scrawled several times on her mirror,” Frank,help me! Frank,please help me!
Considering the dreadful events that were to take place not long after this, Frank Sinatra was the very last person Marilyn should have been turning to for help —
Meanwhile rumours started circulating about Marilyn alarming condition on the set of Somethings Got to Give.Some said she’d had an abortion. That she’d had a bad LSD trip with Timothy Leary ( who was closely involved with Hugh Hefner) Some said she’d finally succumbed to her mothers madness.
What had happened was this. Following the Presidents birthday gala. On May 22nd the Oval Office received an urgent call from J. Edgar Hoover The FBI boss was well aware that the presidents clandestine relationship with Marilyn had continued despite his warnings. If it persisted it could bring down the Presidency in the midst of an escalating cold war crisis over Cuba. He told Kennedy that it had to stop.
Kennedy finally capitulated, and on the same day sent out instructions to the Oval Office switchboard saying that calls from Marilyn Monroe would no longer be accepted-and ordered the private number he’d given her to be disconnected. He left it to Peter Lawford break the news.
On May 27th Lawford called long distance to perform the task. He stated bluntly that the relationship was over and she’d never be able to speak to the President again. He said far from being a being a possible First Lady she was not even a serious affair. When she broke down he said,”Look Marilyn,face up to it. You’re just another of Jacks fucks”.
Rejection was something that Marilyn couldn’t handle. She became hysterical. Alarmed that Marilyn state of mind might lead to her calling the press and spilling the beans about the President-and in the absence of her psychiatrist Ralph Greenstone-her publicist Pat Newcome moved into distraught stars home,bringing massive supplies of sedatives to keep her quiet. Nothing was seen of Marilyn for three days.
Despite the devastating effect of being humiliatingly cast off by the man who she believed really cared for her, it is widely believed that this was not the sole cause of Marilyn’s disintegration. Something dreadful had happened during those mysterious three days. Exactly what remains a matter of speculation.
It has even been suggested that she’d been subjected to MK Ultra conditioning. And although there is no hard evidence to back this up, as I said before, the deeper you descend into the hell-pit of power politics the more you come to realize the surreal nature of that world. And of the bizarre methods used to perpetrate it.
Newcomer, who was a high flying employee in the firm that handled publicity for Marilyn Monroe Productions, had an intriguing background. She came from a rich and powerful Washington family who had business ties with the extended Kennedy clan..
On June 4th Marylyn Monroe was informed that she had been fired by the Fox executives from Something Got to Give and was being sued for the sum of $1 million.
This came as a terrible blow,made worse by the vendetta waged against her,orchestrated by Fox. A full page advertisement was published purportedly from the crew of the film,”thanking” her for depriving them of their lively hood. This turned out to be just another dirty trick by Fox. The affection felt for Marilyn by the ordinary people she’d dealings with is well known. A denial was published from the crew who said they were in support of the beleaguered star who had always treated them with kindness and respect.
Buoyed by this support Marilyn once more displayed her miraculous ability to haul herself from the depths of adversity and focus her will on a goal. The struggle wasn’t quite over. On June 9th she called the president of Fox and discovered her sacking was part of a massive take-over struggle going on within the company. She also discovered that Wall Street executives now held the controlling shares in Fox, and that the chairman of the board of executives was Samuel Rosen man-a close friend of the Kennedies. It was rumoured that Kennedy money was involved in the studio takeover.
Although all communication with Jack Kennedy had been terminated, Marilyn remained in contact with Bobby-who in fact had been assigned by his brother to keep her sweet and to make sure she didn’t make good her threats go to the press. Through Peter Lawford,it was arranged for Marilyn to meet with Bobby at a dinner at the Lawford home.
Marilyn was nervous about the meeting “I never saw her so nervous about a party“dress designer assistant Elizabeth Courtney recalled. “We altered three dresses before she found the right one” Marilyn, true to form arrived at the party two hours late.
The following Sunday June 24th Bobby Kennedy arrived at Marilyns house. She showed him her new kitchen and then they went outside to the pool and spoke for over an hour.Whatever she said to him-it worked. The next day the Attorney General picked up the phone and spoke to Peter Levathes. The Fox studio head was ‘advised’ to renegotiate Marilyn’s contract for the completion of Somethings got to Give.
On Thursday June 28 Marilyn met with Levathes for meeting to discuss terms for resuming work. “ I found, surprisingly, that she was an astute business woman” Levathes said later.” Very rational”.
The deal they worked out landed Marilyn a million dollar contract. $50 000 for finishing Somethings Got to Give plus a bonus if it was finished on schedule. And 50 000 more for a musical,What a way to Go, to be produced by a director of Marilyn choice.
This astounding victory had had been accomplished through Bobby Kennedy’s influence. But at what price? Had Marilyn brought her fate closer by issuing warnings which had forced the hand of the Attorney General? Marilyn was becoming a number one threat to the Kennedies and to the network of hidden influence that lay behind the Presidential Office.
Dark forces were gathering The dark side of Marilyns’ magnetic power was attracting a network of malevolent forces, trapping her in the center of a rapidly tightening circle. In the week leading to her death Marilyn spent the weekend at the Cal-Neva lodge in Lake Tahoe,owned by Sinatra and Sam Gianancna. And this is where the terrible events alluded to earlier took place. The full extent of what happened during this time is not fully known. Those who witnessed the events refuse to talk.
Ostensibly,the reason for the sinister occasion,orchestrated by Sinatra, was to celebrate her deal with Fox and to discuss her new film What a Way to Go, which was to co-star Sinatra. Sinatra flew Marilyn to Cal-Neva in his private plane, picking up Peter Lawford,who because of influence on Marilyn,had been allowed temporarily back into the Sinatra circle
There was another guest who Marilyn hadn’t expected – mafia boss Gianano. She had been told Robert Kennedy would be there,but although Bobby had checked into a Beverly Hills hotel the day before, his name does not appear on the Cal-neva register. It soon became apparent why Marilyn had been brought to Cal-Neva. It wasn’t a gathering of friends; the participnts wanted her to forget about the Kennedy brothers and to ensure her silence.
Giacana was there to enforce how important it was to him that Marilyn did not rock the boat. The Mafia boss made it very clear that if she made trouble,she’d be dealt with..Marilyn was frightened and called her only true friend, DiMaggio. But when he arrived Sinatra wouldn’t allow him entry and he was forced to to stay at athe Silver crest motel opposite to the Cal-Neva
A doorman from the motel later told of a poignant incident he witnessed. As he looked through an early Sunday morning fog,he saw Marilyn by the Cal Neva pool,bare footed and swaying, Standing looking over from on opposite hill.was DiMaggio. It was the last time de DiMaggio would see her alive.
Speaking of that time later DiMaggio expressed his rage and disgust about what went on that weekend. He was furious with Sinatra and the Kennedies. “They gave her pills” he said,”They had sex parties. They used her”.
But the truth was even more dreadful than that. Marilyn was not naive. She’d been around Hollywood for 16 years and knew the score. Willing participation in a sex party is one thing,but to be drugged and forced to participate in activities that rob you of your dignity as a human being is another.
And this is what had happened to Marilyn.
Photographer Billy Woodfield could verify to that. Woodfield stated that when Sinatra returned from Cal-Neva he handed him a roll of film to be developed. In his darkroom the photographer was horrified to see a naked unconscious Marilyn being sexually abused while Sinatra and Giancana looked on. Woodfield told Sinatra to burn the photos, but the pictures were intended to ensure Marilyns’ silence.
When the plotters had got what they wanted,their victim was hurriedly bundled onto the Sinatra plane. Mrs Lieto,the widow of the planes pilot,recalled that her husband was ordered on short notice on the afternoon of Sunday 29 to take Marilyn back to Los Angles. Lieto observed that when Marilyn walked to the plane supported by Lawson she seemed intoxicated or drugged; “She was out of it-a mess”, he said. On arrival she stumbled barefoot to her waiting limo and was driven to her house
Peter Lawford later tried to say that Marilyn condition on her return from Cal-Veda was due to a suicide attempt. He said it was due to being fired by Fox, conveniently failing to mention her triumphant reinstatement by the studio on a vastly improved contract.The crew gave Lawford a ride to his beach house. Leito was annoyed when Lawford stopped to make an eighteen minute call from a call box only a few blocks from his home. He wasn’t to know that Lawford had heard from Bobby Kennedy that his house was under electronic surveillance.
So who was Lawford calling in such a hurry?
The White House telephone records show that the President received a call of eighteen minutes duration from Lawford at exactly that time, 8 40AM Monday July 30th.
The legends about Marilyn frailty are only partly true. Although she lacked that essential inner core of strength which comes from a loving and secure chidhood,her driving ambition and determination to succeed endowed her with miraculous powers of recupuration. She’d taken many blows during her life and was used to suffering. Suffering was the base note of her existence,the foundation on which her life was built. And once again she wasn’t going to succumb to this latest attempt to annihilate her spirit.
On return from Cal-Neva she placed an eight minute call to The Justice Department and spoke to Robert Kennedy. There is no record of the conversation, but there’s no doubt that it contributed to the growing conviction that Marilyn Monroe posed a very real danger to the President, to the Democratic party,and to the underlying power structures of the USA.
Fueled by a burning desire to make Jack Kennedy pay for his rejection of her, Marilyn organised a theatre party in Washington DC to coincide with the opening of the Irvin Berlin musical Mr President, which was to be attended by Kennedy and the First Lady. She ordered a $6 000 evening gown,fully aware of the sensational press attention she would attract.
The press were already hot on the trail,with columnists dropping heavy hints of Marilyn’s association with the Kennedy brothers. But the outcome arising from the revelation of a sex scandal was the least of the dangers of that time.
In July 1962 just three weeks prior to Marilyn death, America-and thus the world-was on the brink of nuclear holocaust. The Soviets had constructed long range nuclear missiles on Cuban territory, aimed at coast of Florida only 100 miles across the stretch of sea dividing the island of from the mainland.
At this critical juncture in the cold war, the relationship of Marilyn and the Kennedy bothers had become a grave national security matter. Intelligence agencies had become acutely aware of the connections between suspected Soviet agent Vanderbilt Field and Monroe. A CIA document establishes that electronic surveillance equipment had been placed in the stars home.
Marilyn is heard describing a luncheon at Peter Lawfords home attended by Robert Kennedy, where politically sensitive subjects had been discussed, including the morality of the secret hydrogen bomb tests, conducted recently in the Nevada Desert.
On July 13th J. Edgar Hoover received another memorandum from the FBI in Mexico stating once again: MARILYN MONROE -SECURITY MATTER – COMMUNIST.
Now it was Robert Kennedies turn to be hauled in front of Hoover. And when Marilyn next dialled the Attorney Generals private number she was unable to speak to him. Monroes telephone records of July 17 show that she tried several times to reach Kennedy through the Justice Department switchboard,but her calls were blocked. Like his brother, Robert had suddenly cut off communication with Marilyn. She had no idea what had happened and was furious.“ Damn it! He owes me an explanation and I want him to tell me personally”.
After constant knock backs from the Justice Department Marilyn tried to contact Robert at his Hickory Hill family home. According to Patricia Lawford “Bobby was furious with Marilyn for taking this liberty”.
She was angry,hurt and totally outraged that both Kennedy brothers had abandoned her. It was a terrible blow to her sense of self esteem. Only two months ago she’d been singing Happy Birthday to the President and was the feted and celebrated guest at the party that followed. She felt used and abused by the Kennedies and then rejected and cast off by them.She became seriously depressed,so much so that even the daily cocktail of drugs she took to maintain some kind of functional equilibrium,proved ineffective.
She turned to her psychiatrist for help. Records show that between early July and August the 4th. the day of her death,Marilyn visited Ralph Greeson and her internist Dr. Hyman Engleberg on a daily basis,and that on a number of these occasions was given injections to sedate her when she became overwhelmed by anger and despair.
The doctors and the Kennedies were united in a common cause-to keep Marilyn quiet. In this they were aided by housekeeper Eunice Murray who could keep her under close surveillance After the events of that dreadful weekend the beleagured star knew she was in danger, but her rage at this final abandonment was tearing her apart and weakening her instinct for survival.
She decided to play her final hand..When Marilyn and Robert Slatzer were discussing her problems,she pulled out of her handbag some papers wrapped with a rubber band. They were handwritten notes from Bobby Kennedy-some on Justice Department stationary..She also showed Slatzer her red diary and allowed him to browse through it. Inside he saw notes pertaining to conversations with the Kennedies regarding the Bay of Pigs,Cuba,the Mafia and other highly sensitive matters of State.
It was clear that Marilyn Monroe was in a position to bring down the Presidency. She threatened to hold a press conference “I’ve certainly got a lot to say” she told Slatzer, At that moment her fate was sealed. Two days later she was dead.
There are countless books describing the circumstances surrounding Marylins’ lonely death. And it it is not within the scope of this article to repeat them.
The impact of Marilyns personality on the world was extraordinary. She was a modern mythological being,born to express the eternal struggle of the spirit to shine the darkness of a fallen world .I leave the final tribute to Marilyn to Edith Sitwell,the venerable English poet.
—- Miss Monroe knew the world,but this knowledge did not lower her great and benevalent dignity. And the world’s darkness has not dimmed her gooddness —