WEIRDLAND: Happy Anniversary, Marilyn Monroe!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Happy Anniversary, Marilyn Monroe!

On August 1, 1962, three days before her death, Marilyn Monroe was rehired by Twentieth Century-Fox to complete shooting on Something’s Got to Give and signed a one-million-dollar, two-picture deal. Just over three decades later, in July 1993, her stand-in, Evelyn Moriarty, told Richard Buskin, “There’s no way she killed herself. I spoke with her the Wednesday before she died and she was so excited about going back to work. She told me they’d be shooting Dean Martin’s close-ups first and then placing Dean for her close-ups—she was really up. She had to finish this picture at Fox because she was going to film I Love Louisa at United Artists with Frank Sinatra, produced by her publicist Arthur Jacobs. She also talked about having three pictures to do in Europe; two of them with Brigitte Bardot. It was all ‘We’re going to do this’ and ‘We’re going to do that’—she had battled the studio, she had won, and she was really looking forward to all of those projects.” George Erengis, a Twentieth Century-Fox security guard, relayed to Richard Buskin, “On the Monday following her death, I went into Marilyn’s dressing room on the Fox lot and it had been cleared out. Nothing, not a trace of her had been left. I was shocked. She had earned that studio a fortune but they didn’t waste any time trying to erase her memory.”

Debbie Reynolds relayed to Britain’s Daily Express newspaper how she told Marilyn to watch herself when dating the Kennedy brothers: “I saw her two days before she died and warned her to be careful. I believe she was murdered because too many people were afraid the truth would come out.” In an earlier interview, Reynolds remembered, “Her life was very sad. And the ending was very sad indeed. And those of us who knew Marilyn, always were kind of dreaming for that great white knight to arrive and really love her and not take advantage of her.” Joe DiMaggio was that great white knight. As for Marilyn’s second marriage on January 14, 1954, former FBI agent Monte Hall revealed to Jay Margolis, “I was at the wedding. Marilyn was married by a judge in a San Francisco courthouse. I happened to be there at the time. I knew Joe quite well. A lot of us in the San Francisco office knew Joe DiMaggio.” Morris Engelberg was one of DiMaggio’s best friends and the executor of his estate. According to Engelberg, “Joe DiMaggio was in love with Marilyn Monroe until the moment he died . . . ‘I’ll finally get to see Marilyn,’ were his last words. He ached at the thought of how close they had come to remarrying. The date of their second marriage was set: August 8, 1962.” Marilyn’s house was being bugged by everyone—Jimmy Hoffa, the FBI, the Mafia, even Twentieth Century-Fox. Jimmy Hoffa wanted to gather information on Monroe and the Kennedys for personal use; the FBI wanted to ascertain what Marilyn knew about Frank Sinatra’s connections to the Mafia; the Mafia was curious as to what she knew about the FBI. As for Twentieth Century-Fox—her former studio who knows what they wanted? Best friend and occasional lover, Frank Sinatra, was more than a little suspicious after learning a crucial detail from the autopsy. Sinatra’s valet, George Jacobs, stated, “When the cops said it was an overdose, he had no doubt about it, nor did I. It was only later when the autopsy revealed no residue of pills in her system that we got curious. Mr. S began to suspect Lawford and his brothers-in-law of possible foul play.” Pat Newcomb countered to biographer Donald Spoto, “There’s no way they could’ve done this. I resent it so much. I’d like to see Bobby exonerated from this. He would never do it. He wouldn’t hurt her. He was in San Francisco.” Former Police Chief Daryl F. Gates conceded: “The truth is, we knew Robert Kennedy was in town on August 4. He was the Attorney General, so we were interested in him, the same way we were interested when other important figures came to Los Angeles.”

On Marilyn and Bobby, Gates continued, “My feelings were that she was emotional over many things; a relationship gone sour would be just one of many problems she had.” Michael Selsman, a twenty-four-year-old press agent in 1962, held a job alongside Pat Newcomb within the Arthur P. Jacobs Company. Selsman relayed to biographer Jay Margolis, “After Marilyn died, I worked at Fox and Paramount as an executive. I’m from New York. Back in the sixties, I knew of [Marilyn’s acting coaches] the Strasbergs, and knew their daughter Susan. The Strasbergs were horrible people, and Susan was, in my mind, destroyed by her mother. The parents were attention-seekers, users, preyed on weak-minded actors, and never came up with anything original. They copied Stanislavski and feasted on the notoriety of the few successful actors that happened to come up in New York at that time. There were thousands more who never amounted to anything. Those who can act, act. Those who can’t, they become coaches.” 

Describing what it was like working with Marilyn day-to-day, Selsman relayed, “It was strictly business. All actors are shy and lonely people. That’s why they are actors . . . Marilyn’s concerns in the office were mainly about interviews and photo sessions. Pat was her main contact, so whatever she thought was threatening was discussed in private with Pat and sometimes Arthur . . . It was part of my job to be at the funeral. I attempted to coordinate with the reporters, photographers from around the world, and the press agents from Fox. It was a circus.” When told that many now agree Bobby Kennedy was in Los Angeles on August 4 before Marilyn died and after she died, Mrs. Dean Martin said, “I don’t care where he was. He didn’t kill Marilyn. Bobby Kennedy would not kill anybody. He would kill somebody? It’s impossible. It’s such yellow journalism.” —"The Murder of Marilyn Monroe" (2014) by  Jay Margolis and Richard Buskin

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