WEIRDLAND: Bombshell, The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Bombshell, The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe

Bombshell (2021) by Mike Rothmiller is both unconvincing as an argument and poorly written in general. And no, if he took this to any court he would not get a conviction, unless they chose to investigate all of his crooked dealings as a cop and prosecute him instead. A former (somewhat) bad cop talking about other somewhat bad cops at LAPD OCID while greatly exaggerating his importance and 'insider' knowledge writes on a key historical event about which we can only take his word. He read mystery police files from filing cabinets while not busy performing his primary task of sharpening pencils at OCID headquarters. Without vetted copies of documents, without recorded audio proof of his revelatory {if accurate} conversation with Peter Lawford, around which the substance of this narrative hinges, we can not evaluate his veracity. It's all hearsay. Unfortunately all of the pictures/taped recordings the author has seen or heard have not been shared to prove his statements. And all of the main characters are of course long dead so it is easy to make claims which they cannot refute or confirm. We are given a lot of information about gangsters and LAPD officers that I think we could have done without. There isn't a single photograph in the book apart from the cover photo of Marilyn. 

Despite all the gallons of ink that have been spilled about his “growth” and “evolution” in the groovy Sixties, Bobby Kennedy was supposedly a homophobe and an anti-Semite. From Roy Cohn to Bayard Rustin to J. Edgar Hoover, he seemed to despise gays. As for Jews, Bobby took after his dear old dad, Joe Kennedy, who once described Jews as “pants pressers,” among many other slurs. In 1962, Bobby was assigned to arrange for Marilyn Monroe to sing at JFK’s 45th birthday fundraiser at Madison Square Garden. Then Bobby called up the movie producer she was working for, a Jewish lawyer named Henry T. Weinstein, and demanded she be given a couple of days off. The executive balked, Weinstein later told Seymour Hersh, and Bobby reacted in his usual way. “He called me a ‘Jew bastard’ and hung up the phone on me.”

Among the slew of books purporting to solve the ‘mystery’ of Marilyn’s untimely death, only a few are worth the paper they were written on. David M. Marshall’s The DD Group is one, and Donald R. McGovern’s Murder Orthodoxies another. Gary Vitacco-Robles, author of Icon : The Life, Times, and Films of Marilyn Monroe, will publish his own interpretation in 2022. The remainder, unfortunately, tend to propagate wild conspiracy theories involving the Kennedys, the Mafia etc. Bombshell has been featured in UK tabloids The Sun and the Daily Mail. The blurb reads: "With his training and investigator’s knowledge, Rothmiller used that confidential information to get to the heart of the matter, to the people who were there the night Marilyn died – two of whom played major roles in the cover-up – and the wider conspiracy to protect the Kennedys whatever the collateral damage." Curious to know more about Rothmiller, I consulted McGovern’s Murder Orthodoxies. If you’re considering purchasing Bombshell, either for its low price and eye-catching cover (featuring a classic 1953 portrait by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt), I suggest you read McGovern’s thoughts on the author first.

Donald  McGovern: “Prior to the publication of Donald Wolfe’s The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, his 1998 exposé about Marilyn’s murder, only four persons actually claimed to have seen Marilyn’s diary and read the words she committed in longhand to its pages: Robert Slatzer, Jeanne Carmen, Ted Jordan, and Samir Muqaddin [aka Lionel Grandison], a clerk in the county coroner’s office. Wolfe added a fifth name: Michael Rothmiller, a Los Angeles police detective. Donald Wolfe, according to his source notes, interviewed Michael Rothmiller in 1998. Rothmiller, a Los Angeles Police Department detective, was a member of the Organised Crime Intelligence Division (OCID), otherwise known as LAPD’s infamous Gangster Squad. In 1978, Rothmiller worked in the OCID file room which housed confidential data including the police department’s files regarding Marilyn and the LAPD’s investigation into her death. Those files, according to Rothmiller, contained not Marilyn’s original Red Book of Secrets but a copy thereof. Neither Rothmiller nor Wolfe offered any statements regarding the copy’s type or when the copy was made. In 1982, making copies of documents and books was not as easy and convenient as it is today or as it was in 1998. Rothmiller told Wolfe that Marilyn’s diary was more like a journal; and most of her entries memorialised her conversations with the middle Kennedy brothers. Apparently, Wolfe relied on Slatzer, certainly a questionable tactic. Samir Muqaddin’s memoir, however [Memoirs of a Deputy Coroner, 2012], offered a much more detailed view. It is definitely difficult, if not impossible, to conclude that Marilyn’s Red Book of Secrets actually existed based on Michael Rothmiller’s testimony. By 1998, the year Wolfe interviewed the LAPD detective, two decades had elapsed since he allegedly saw the copy of Marilyn’s diary. Why did he wait so long to reveal that this copy existed, to tell the world what he allegedly observed? Where was he in 1982 during the LAPD’s threshold investigation? 

Neither Robert Slatzer nor Jeanne Carmen nor Samir Muqaddin nor the 1982 LADA Summary Report regarding that investigation mentioned Michael Rothmiller. But then, the mythology surrounding Marilyn’s diary, as it relates to her death, is so ingrained in her story and so well known, it is entirely remarkable that more persons have not appeared with odd stories similar to Rothmiller’s. The assertion that the little red diary existed in a storage room filled with secret files fits neatly into the conspiracist’s mindset and their conspiracy puzzle: for them, the diary has become the missing piece which will bring into focus the complete picture of Marilyn’s odd, mysterious and, for the conspiracists, unexplained death. Still, Rothmiller’s testimony remains uncorroborated and unverifiable. Wolfe apparently expected his readers to accept Rothmiller’s testament on faith, a quantum leap that I, for one, cannot make.

Many biographers and many conspiracists have delineated over the years a Marilyn Monroe that did not exist. She was neither a helpless victim nor a silly pubescent girl of fantasy swooning over or gripped by the passion of an infatuation. When we compare the actual writings of Marilyn Monroe [collected in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters, 2010] with the writings certain individuals have alleged were Marilyn’s, a large chasm between what those individuals have alleged were Marilyn’s and what we now know is real becomes painfully apparent… It is their word against history: no diary of the type described by Slatzer, Carmen, Jordan, Rothmiller and Muqaddin has, in forty-four years, been found. Besides and in fact, not one person in Marilyn’s inner circle ever mentioned seeing a diary of the type described by our witnesses, not Pat Newcomb nor Susan Strasberg nor Ralph Roberts nor Joe DiMaggio nor Arthur Miller, not even Eunice Murray, who allegedly possessed it briefly, ever mentioned a little red diary.” Source:

A mysterious box of Marilyn Monroe documents sealed until 2039 could prove she was murdered by her obsessed psychiatrist, claims a private investigator. The papers belonged to Dr Ralph Greenson, who found her body and who is suspected by some of administering the barbiturate overdose which killed her in 1962. Private detective Becky Aldrige found 'Box 29' stored at UCLA library where it will remain sealed to the public for another two decades, despite a list of contents showing it contains  a trove of files about Monroe. Aldrige claims that Dr Greenson killed Monroe after she threatened to reveal affairs she'd had with the Kennedy brothers and he remained haunted by the actress. Aldrige told The Sun that she was stunned to find that Dr Greenson, who died in 1979, had a sealed box of papers. 'I spent hours looking at everything I was allowed to - I couldn't make copies or take pictures so I just took notes.'  'I discovered he was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe because he had every book, every magazine, every newspaper that was ever written about Marilyn Monroe, everything. Then there were letters that were written to him, people telling him to kill himself because they thought it was his fault, she was dead. I remember thinking "Why did you save this?" 'There is also letters in there to Marilyn Monroe from other people - and letters she wrote to other people - why does he even have those? There's also some of his confidential medical files, and another file that doesn't say what it is.' Aldrige says that in Monroe's previous suicide attempts she had left a note, but on the night of her death there was none. Source:

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