By 1960 Marilyn was not only adored by the public, she had finally earned the respect of the film industry and was the worlds top box office attraction. But while her professional life was on the up, her private life was falling to bits..
She was losing faith in her husband who wasn’t able to give her the redemptive love she yearned for. Millars letters show he was deeply affected by Marilyn,but was engaged in his own creative struggles and felt drained by her emotional demands .
During the filming of Some Like it Hot, a film she was reluctant to do as she thought the central concept ridiculous,protesting how could it be possible for Sugar Cane to not recognise two beefy men in drag? According to author Donald Wolf in The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, she only accepted the role because Millar said they needed the money. During shooting she got pregnant and such was her longing for a child, considered dropping out. But (Again according to Donald Wolfe ) was persuaded by Millar to keep going.
After filming ended Marilyn had a painful miscarriage which she blamed on her husband. She plunged into a black depression and to blot out the misery turned increasingly to narcotics, upping her dosage to dangerous levels.
Despite the stars chronic unhappiness, when Some Like it Hot was premiered she drew on her remarkable inner resilience and made a dazzling pHer next film was to be The Misfits with a script written by Millar. The shooting of The Misfits was a difficult and stressful experience for Marilyn and for everyone involved. She was exhausted,suffering from bouts of chronic indigestion and a severe pain in her side which intensified during the rigorous filming schedule in the blazing heat of the Nevada desert.(The pain later turned out to be an inflamed gall bladder requiring an operation.)
She hated the role of Roslyn that Millar had written for her, seeing the character as shallow, latitudinal,and unconvincing.Viewing the Misfits later,Marilyn plunged deeper into depression. She felt betrayed by her husband for failing to write something that reflected the complexity of her nature
The childhood dream had ended. She gave up hoping that her hidden potential would be recognised and cherished by the unconditional love of a “father”. If Millar with his writers sensitivity couldn’t couldn’t see into her soul no one could.Her frail sense of self worth began to disintegrate. And when a few months after the completion of Misfits,Clarke Gable died from a heart attack she was tormented with guilt thinking she might have contributed to the ageing stars death.
She felt alone and stranded. The contrast between her glamourous public image and the bleakness of her inner landscape was becoming too painful to bear.
During convalescence to recover from the miscarriage, her growing resentment of Millar was sparked into fury by the publication of a syndicated interview with Billy Wilder, director of Some Like it Hot, in which Wilder joked about his recent illness being caused by Marilyn erratic behaviour on set.,
She became incandescent. She felt her contribution to the film-which made millions at the box office-had been reduced to nothing but a cheap gag.. She screamed at Millar it was his fault and to do something about the insult -to speak up for her, but the weary writer couldn’t cope with the emotional tirades and told her to “Just forget it” before retreating to his farm.
Marilyn was consumed with fury at his abandonment. She stopped eating and retired to her room, dulling her pain with tranquillisers. After a massive overdose she was found face down on the floor her face caked in vomit and rushed to hospital to be pumped out.
Later on one of her visits to her therapist Marianne Kris, she expressed suicidal thoughts,saying life wasn’t worth living
Little did she suspect that this confession would lead to the realisations of a life long terror. She’d seen her mother go mad and incarcerated in a mental home, and dreaded the same thing happening to her.
Alarmed at Marylins threats,Kris suggested she book into a private room at a New York hospital to withdraw from barbiturates and recover. Marilyn agreed but instead of a private room she was committed to a psychiatric ward and locked into a padded cell reserved for the most critically ill mental patients.
She was kept there alone for two days,her hysterical protests being of such vehemence that they forced her into a straight jacket. Somehow word got to her former husband Di DiMaggio who threatened to take the Hospital apart brick by brick until she was released.
If anyone in this story comes out with honour it’s de DiMaggio, But although his love for Marilyn never died,during their marriage he realised there was no place for him in the glamorous celebrity world destined for his ambitiously driven young wife.Absurdly,he imagined Marilyn would give up showbusiness and settle for a quit domestic life with him .
But Marilyn craved glamour and excitement And even though her emotional and mental condition was in serious decline,she held on the belief that while she was able to hold the attention of the two most powerful men in her life, Sinatra and Kennedy, she really was that special person the world saw her as
She’d become part of the Sinatra inner circle and been close to Kennedy for a number of years. Both men were stimulated by her quirky humour and sparkling presence and seemed genuinely fond of her.
So much so that she believed Sinatra would ask her to be his next wife. She even fantasised that Kennedy might divorce Jackie and marry her. But Marilyn was just one of a number of beautiful intelligent women used to spice up the Senators life.
Their relationship was becoming a well known secret,hinted at in the gossip columns. During the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angles, convened to pick the Presidential runner for the coming elections,they were seen dining together at Puccini restaurant – owned by Sinatra – and a favourite hang out of mafia boss Guanciano and other high ranking mob members.
At the end of the Convention,during the party to celebrate Kennedy’s successful nomination, he and Marilyn danced and flirted. At this point the future President made no effort to hide his intimacy with the glamourous star.
This was to change.
Behind the glittering display of power,hidden forces were at work. Secret talks had been held at the Gianacana owned Sands hotel in Vegas, where Sinatra and the Rat Pack were performing. Jack and Edward Kennedy had met up with Sinatra and Gianacana to discuss plans to use Mafia connections to influence the Senators nomination bid.
But this was only one strand in the plot masterminded by Gianacana. Auther Donald Wolf describes how the Mafia boss planned to use Sinatra’s access to beautiful woman to lure Kennedy into a honey trap. And Marilyn was selected as bait.
Sinatra was more than a willing collaborator. He was Gianacanos patsy-he rated the underworld power of the Mob higher even than the constitutional power of the Presidency.
The Presidential campaign, which ran from July to November 1960 ended in triumphal victory for Kennedy.
This period coincided with the filming of Lets make Love with Yves Montand as Marilyn’s co star. Feeling in need of reassurance,Marilyn made it clear she was attracted to the charismatic French actor.
Despite his deep and enduring love for his wife Simone Signoret,Montand was drawn by Marilyn erotic allure. In writing about the brief affair later, Montand described the profound effect Marilyn had on him,but like all the men she was emotionally intimate with, he couldn’t cope with her deep rooted insecurities and after filming ended went back to his wife.
This seems to mark the time when Marilyn’s inner life started to go into free-fall. The mental and emotional frailty which she’d just about kept at bay throughout her career were now becoming debilitating. She lived on cocktail of drugs, uppers to give her the strength to face the day,and downers to help her sleep and to blot out reality. She suffered badly from insomnia which even high doses of Nembutal couldn’t help.
She was living a kind of hell. But no one besides those closest to her could tell, all they could see was the glamourous public image and her beauty which despite her inner torments remained unspoiled.
But Marilyn complicated story hadn’t played itself out. Another strand in the web closing around her was being spun by the very person the troubled star was turning to for help –her psychiatrist Dr Greenson.
Dr Greenson (who had replaced Marian Er) now held a central position in Marilyn life. But the respected analyst had a deeply guarded secret identity.
Those of a benign liberal mentality tend to downplay the infiltration of Marxism into America during the cold war period, but documented evidence reveals just how widely it’s net was spread. In those weary post war years there was a growing sympathy for the ideals of communism- particularly among writers and artists who genuinely believed it was a more humane system than the red in tooth and claw brand of free market monetary capitalism driving America
A secret Soviet agency called The Comitern had burrowed into all levels of society. Communist cells were embedded across the the land whose members edged themselves into the committees of various institutions and other positions of influence. Psychoanalysts offices were used by Soviet espionage agents as the means to track the loyalty of key cell members.
And Ralph Greeson was one such key member.
An FBI dossier holds information showing that Greeson was the head of The Comitern Arts, Science and Professions Committee,(ASAP) dedicated to spreading communist ideology across the western states of America
Once Marilyn Monroe became Greesons patient he was rated as one of the most important Comitern operatives as he had access to the mind of the woman who shared the bed of the President and was an intimate of Robert Kennedy,the Attorney General – – – –
In January 1961 Marilyn was invited to Pat and Peter Lawfords party for Bobby Kennedy who was travelling to the Far East on government business. She expressed a desire to have a grasp on the political situation so’s to talk intelligently to the presidents younger brother.
Greeson grabbed the opportunity and briefed Marilyn on possible items of discussion. His son even went as far as giving coaching sessions and supplied her with a list of questions to ask the Attorney General..
At the party Marilyn taught a delighted Bobby to do the twist,and Chubby Checkers “ Lets twist again” blared repeatedly from the record player. Later she followed him around wearing comical horn rimmed glasses and carrying a notebook, recording his remarks concerning civil rights and other critical issues of the day..Journalist James Bacon thought her behaviour strange,but passed it off as an example of Marilyn’ brand of kooky humour.
In early February Marilyn flew to Florida,ostensibly to visit Joe DiMaggio,and her ex father in law, but really to spend time with Jack Kennedy who was staying at the Fontainebleau in Palm Beach. Mark McSwaine who worked at the Fontainebleau said later; “Marilyn Monroe stayed just down the hall next to the Kennedy suite-everybody knew that”
From Florida Marilyn flew to Mexico city and checked into the Hilton where Frank Sinatra had arranged accommodation.
That significance of that time time in Mexico city is difficult to assess. It raises a lot of questions. For example why was Marilyn met there by Eunace Murray her housekeeper?
A few months earlier, Eunace Murray had turned up at Marilyn home saying she’d been appointed by Greenson to look after the star’s domestic affairs and to chauffeur her to her daily appointment with the psychiatrist.
What Mrs Murray didn’t say was say was that she was a trained Psychiatric nurse. It later turned out that her husband John Murray was a left wing labour leader and organiser, with strong communist ties.
Marilyn friends considered the housekeeper peculiar,who they said was a constant whispering presence reporting back to Greenson.
So why had Marilyn flown her out to Mexico City a week prior to her own arrival?
The answer leads us into more mystery and intrigue. It was through Murray that Marilyn was introduced to Mrs Murray brother in law,Churchill Murray.
Churchill Murray was an avowed communist. He ran a communist propaganda station and had a number of left wing political contacts, including diplomats from the Cuban and Soviet embassies.
Churchill drove Marilyn and Mrs Murray to the home of another key figure in this mystery plot,Frederick Vanderbilt Field. Vanderbilt field and his wife Neives were part of a colony of high flying left wing ex patriots who had fled the USA to avoid the stigma of their communist affiliations.
Field wrote in his biography From Right to Left “Marilyn was beautiful beyond measure-warm bright attractive and witty,curious about things people and ideas-also incredibly complicated”
During her brief stay in Mexico City Marilyn became romantically involved with a handsome screenwriter Jose Bolanos,member of the La Reforma set. He was held in suspicion by Field,as he’d been a buddy of writer and CIA agent E. Howard Hunt. Field regarded Bolanos as a phony,deeply distrusted by the real left,and advised Marilyn to keep away from him.
As events turned out, this was advice she should have heeded.
Field and Marilyn had long conversations. According to Fields own statements,she told him a lot. About the Kennedies,about civil rights,her anger at McCarthyism,and how the Kennedies hated FBI boss J Edgar Hoover
She told Field that at the Lawford party,she’d asked Bobby Kennedy directly whether he and the President were going to fire Hoover. Bobby said they would like to but it was impossible.( What the Attorney General didn’t say was that Hoover was holding a massive file on the Presidents sexual activity which could be used against him at anytime) She also talked about her marriage to Millar and about the fact that she was approaching thirty six and time was running out.
Marilyn was talking herself to her doom. Fredrick Vanderbilt had been identified by the FBI as a Comitern operative for the Soviets. He was under close surveillance and electronic listening devices had been placed in his home.
On March 6th an FBI document was sent from Mexican City FBI offices to J. Edgar Hoovers desk. It was headed:
MARILYN MONROE-SECURITY MATTER-COMMUNIST
Hoover exploded. Because of Kennedies’ womanising, confidential information had been passed to a Soviet espionage agent.
Alarmingly,The President of the United States had become a security risk – – – –
On her return from Mexico City, Marilyn resumed her routine of visiting her psychiatrist everyday. .Greeson was now guiding Marilyn in all aspects of her life-what friends she could keep,who she should date and where she should live .
When Marilyn decided to buy a house he instructed Eunace Murray help the busy star in her search for something suitable. When Mrs Murray found one in the Mexican style Marilyn wanted,she was delighted.
Conveniently it was located only a few minutes away from Greesons own home It was also overlooked by the house of Hanna Nichelle a friend of Greesons, and an active Marxist within Psychoanalytic Institute circles.
On March 22nd just two weeks after receiving the alarming document concerning Marilyn’s meeting with Vanderbilt Field,the President and Hoover had one of their rare visits to discuss important affairs over lunch. During the Eisenhower years the Oval Office had an open door to J. Edgar Hoover-not so with Kennedy.
Reportedly the main item on the agenda was Kennedy’s affair with Marilyn and her association with Field. Hoover told the President in no uncertain terms the danger he had exposed himself to.
Kennedy was angry and disgruntled but was forced to admit just how much his behaviour had placed him in the power of the detested FBI boss.
Despite this, only two days after the warning,Kennedy rendezvoused with a disguised Marilyn. Wearing a dark wig, horn rimmed glasses,a severe suit and carrying a stone pad and a handful of pencils,she was picked up by Lawford and driven to the airport where Air Force One was waiting.
When Marilyn arrived in Palm Springs where the President and his party were staying, she was quartered in a secluded cottage,hidden from the main house by shrubs and trees. Later that night after the official dinner hosted by the President,another less formal party was held at the cottage. A guest described later that a casually dressed and relaxed President drank and flirted with Marilyn,making no effort to hide their obvious intimacy.
The original plan was for the President to stay at Sinatra’s massive Palm Spring Estate. The crooner was proud of his association with Jack Kennedy-both for the added glamour and kudos it brought to his celebrity life style, but also because it made him an important figure in Mafia circles.
He went to exorbitant lengths to adapt the Estate to accommodate the Presidential party-including special arrangements for Kennedies’ recreational time with Marilyn.
But at the last moment the arrangements were changed,and the Presidential party stayed at Bing Crosby’s ranch instead.
The Attorney General had received a memorandum warning of Sinatra’s close association with the Mafia, particularly Gianfranco. Robert Kennedy was well aware of his brothers fascination with Sinatra’s underworld connections,but the part of the Memorandum he found particular disturbing related to the number of times Gianciano had visited Sinatra s Palm Springs home.
” We’re fighting a public campaign to beat organised crime’” he told Jack “And the President is cavorting with Sinatra and his hoodlum buddies! It’s madness!” Kennedy was forced to agree and instructed Lawford to tell Sinatra the plans were off. Sinatra was furious-and blamed the messenger for the bad news. From then on Lawford became a non person in the Sinatra circle,
Talking in purely speculative terms,it could be said that this last minute change had saved Kennedy from being led into the honey trap being planned by Sinatra and Logician. The conditions for secretly photographing the President in a compromising situation with Marilyn couldn’t be more ideal.
But although the President had escaped,the bait was still at large,walking blindfold to the trap waiting for her. And it was this that would finally push the frailty of Marilyn psyche beyond it’s limits and towards her slide into death.
But that was to come.
In early April Marilyn began preparing for her next motion picture Somethings got to Give
This was another film Marilyn felt no enthusiasm for. It had a silly light weight plot,featuring once again a sexy blonde with lots of charm but not much brain. She’d agreed to it due to contractual commitments-once completed she’d be free to choose her own roles.
The start date for filming of Something’s Got To Give was scheduled for April 9th but beause director Cusack insisted on a rewrite it was delayed until April 23rd.
Marilyn took the opportunity to go East to attend a Kennedy fundraiser for the rich and beautiful. The President had promised his well heeled supporters she’d be there.
When the car arrived at seven to take her to the Park house apartment where the event was being held, Marilyn was nowhere near ready. The dinner was scheduled for eight, and when Peter Lawford rang at ten past eight frantically screaming that the President was waiting he was told-more or less-too bad!
Marilyn arrived-dreamily sedated-at some time after ten.
Looking sensational in a skin tight green sparkling dress,she sashayed over to the President and said “Hi Prez”. He turned round,smiled his gorgeous smile and said, “Hi! Come on I want you to meet some people”
Marilyn was the hit of the party,she electrifed the room,her wit and humour sparkling as brightly as her dress. What made Marilyn so special was not just her beauty-beautiful blonds are ten a penny. She possessed that rare quality-an indefinable magic which created an aura around her, acting like a magnet to all who came in range.
The filming of Somethings Got to Give turned out to be a disaster. The day before the first day of shooting Marilyn became racked with chills and fever.. She was diagnosed with chronic sinusitis which required a month of massive antibiotic treatment to cure.
Marilyn struggled against the illness,but everyone thought she was malingering. On April 30th ,after passing out in the bath tub,and against doctors orders, she went into the Studios and filmed for ninety minutes before collapsing in the dressing room. She made repeated efforts to work but was confined to bed for a week.
The Fox executives were in panic. Cleopatra,starring Elizabeth Taylor had turned into a ravenous cash eating monster ( Soon to become a Turkey) If Somethings got to Give crashed,the studios stood to go out of business.
Because of his influence over his patient Greeson had become deeply involved as an advisor on the film set. He said he could ensure Marilyn would be on set each day. Now he was besieged by paranoid Fox executives reminding him of his assurances and asking what the hell was going on.
At this point events took a strange turn. Greeson,who Marilyn had come to utterly rely on, disappeared for four weeks. No one knows for sure where he went but evidence suggests he spent the time in Switzerland and Germany and attended a conference at the Frankfurt School, an institution dedicated to the creation of a socialist world.
To the relief of everyone involved Marilyn returned to filming on May 15th But a rumour was spreading that she was planning to attend the Presidents birthday gala four days later at Madison Square Garden.
The rumour was correct. When the production company broke for lunch at noon on the 19th, the sound of a deafening whine announced the arrival of an enormous helicopter which landed on the nearby heliport. With blades still whirling Peter Lawford leapt out and ran to Marilyn dressing room to escort her into the royal blue chopper. Before anyone had time to realise what was happening,it rose swiftly into the air and headed towards Los Angeles Airport
The Madison Square Garden event where the star sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” has become part of modern mythology.
Now fifty five years later, knowing the terrible events that lay ahead, watching the television images of that moment is a sad and eerie experience. In the blurry black and white footage Marilyn glows and shimmers through the ether like some ghostly other world being.
After the performance although almost collapsing from nervous exhaustion and a returning attack of sinusitis,Marilyn was determined to attend the post gala party. On arrival,she once more drew on those magical hidden resources and mesmerised everyone there. One of the guests Adlai Stevenson said “ I don’t think I had ever seen anyone as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe that night. She was wearing nothing but skin and beads”.
Later the President and Bobby Kennedy escorted Marilyn to a quite corner where the three held a private but animated conversation for a quarter of an hour. Of the many photographs taken of the occasion only one survives, the rest having been destroyed by the Secret Service.
In the early hours of Sunday, the President and Marilyn left the party and took a private elevator that descended to the basement of the building. From there they walked through the labyrinth of tunnels leading to the Carlyle Hotel and to the Presidential penthouse suite overlooking Manhattan.
In the eyes of the world Marilyn life seemed to have reached a peak of triumph. But the display of Mortal Hubris had pushed the Gods too far. The tragedy was nearing it’s completion. Kennedy would be dead in two years.
Marilyn in two months.
Buoyed up by massive amounts of amphetamines Marilyn reported back at work at 6.15 AM Monday May 23rd. She was obviously ill and sent word that close ups were ruled out On the Wednesday the now famous nude swimming scene was scheduled for shooting-which Marilyn was determined not to miss.
Since her 30th birthday she’d became prone to putting on weight and it was beginning to show. Helped by the amphetamines she’d burned off nearly eighteen pounds. With the weight loss she’d regained her slim figure and wanted to show it to the world .
With her fever quelled by the amphetamines and her aching head eased by Demotrol, Marilyn immediately cast off the flesh coloured body stocking and did the gruelling four hour session gloriously naked.
In this beautiful image from the film,where Marilyn, stripped of the artifice of stardom stands bathed in moonlight,we glimpse the archetypal magic of the eternal feminine which was the true source Marilyn’s power. It was her blessing and it was her curse.
it is also why since her death fifty five years ago Marilyn allure has not faded. It is why she has become an enduring cultural icon. Why she has inspired hundreds of books, countess articles,songs and films. And why I’m writing this now.
In a world where the erotic power of the feminine is dreaded and driven underground,it assumes the form of a monstrous fetish,feared as much as it fascinates. .The fetishfication of Marilyn-which she colluded with and encouraged-became the burden she carried. The glamourous image became all. It obscured her shining soul,and in the end crushed her- – – –
After the “moonlight swim” Marilyn was in excellent spirits and shared several glasses of Dom Perignon with members of the cast and crew who she’d invited over to her bungalow. She was “vibrant and excited” while viewing the stills later with Larry Schiller. As she waved goodbye from her limousine,the photographer thought how much he admired her determination and effervescent spirit.
But during the weekend something happened that shook Marilyn to the very core.
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 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..
The dark side of Marilyn magnetic power was attracting a network of malevolent forces, trapping her in the centre of a rapidly tightening circle
But the struggle wasn’t quite over.
On June 4th she 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.
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
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; they 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 stregnth 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 she knew she was in danger, but her rage at this final abandonment was tearing her apart and weakening her instinct for survival.
The distressed star 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 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 human spirit to survive in 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 has not lowered her great and benevalent dignity.The world’s darkness has not dimmed her gooddnes