The Saga of Marilyn MonroeâThe Final Word
“Riveting...makes the hardest case yet that Marilyn was the victim of foul play.”
Adela Gregory and Milo Speriglio
The Shocking Truth Behind Marilyn's DeathâRevealed at Last
She was an icon, a sex symbol, and a living legend. But when she was found naked and dead on the morning of August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe became the subject of a mystery that has fascinated and perplexed the world for generations. Was her death an accident? Suicide? Or murder? In this riveting account, private investigators Gregory and Speriglio uncover startling evidence that may solve the case once and for all.
â¢ The truth about Marilyn's affairs with JFK and Robert Kennedy
â¢ The top-level government secrets that endangered Marilyn's life
â¢ How Marilyn pulled strings as a political power player
â¢ The identity of the friend who knowingly opened the door to Marilyn's killers
â¢ The startling connection between JFK's father and mobster Sam Giancana
â¢ Evidence of the deadly drugs and how they were administered to Marilyn
â¢ The rumors of an assassination plot masterminded by the Cosa Nostra and and high-ranked government officials
â¢ What happened to the audio tape recording of Marilyn's murder
â¢ The tangled web of wiretaps in Marilyn's home
â¢ Why Joe DiMaggio sent flowers to Marilyn's grave for years
Half a century after her death, Marilyn Monroe still lives in our hearts. Now, at last, the truth can be told.
“Spiriglio and Gregory are fluent, convincing writers.”
To the memory of my father,
the Reverend Jacob Gregory,
whose influence inspired
me to write philosophical truths,
and to my daughter,
To my daughters, Holly and Janelle, who grew into adults while I, as a private investigator, spent hours, days, months, and years probing into the life and death of Marilyn Monroe, and to my wife, Patricia, steadfast during my relentless search for the facts.
And to the millions of Marilyn's admirers and fans, many of them born after her death. And especially to the two groups that bind Monroe devotees from all corners of the globe: the fan clubs All About Marilyn, and its directors, Michelle Justice and Roman Hryniszak, and Marilyn Remembered, Greg Schreiner, president and cofounder.
he plot is one few writers would have the nerve to concoct: a President of the United States, with an elegant and publicly adored wife, takes a shine to Hollywood's most glamorous and publicly adored star and has his brother-in-law, himself a famous actor, play the role of go-between. After the President's passion is spent, he dumps the star and avoids taking her pesky calls to the White House. Then the President's brother, who happens to be the attorney general of the United States, takes up with the star until his passion is spent and he too avoids her pesky calls. Adding to her sense of epic rejection is her relationship with her studio, which has fired her because of her extreme tardiness in the making of a movie prophetically titled
Something's Got to Give.
Next in this improbable tale, the star is found dead, presumably the victim of an overdose of barbiturates, to which she has long been chronically addicted. Not much more than a year later the President is assassinated. Five years later the attorney general suffers a similar fate, and the poor brother-in-law slowly stumbles toward a boozy death, seemingly taking his secrets with him.
The writer of such an unlikely story would severely strain credulity if he or she suggested that most of the findings from the star's autopsy would disappear within days and that her studio, hovering on the brink of bankruptey, would dump some six hours of accumulated takes in their vaults rather than try to assemble them into a film. The writer would have to imply conspiracyâbut in what? If he then went on to claim that the media failed to sniff out any of this amorous and lethal intrigue on such a high level, the writer might be accused of an overheated and ludicrous imagination.
The cast of characters: Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Peter Lawford. Strangely, despite the historical importance of the Kennedys, it is Marilyn who is most written about. No Hollywood figure has been the subject of more books, many of them questioning the facts of her demise as given at the time, with the more recent ones probing the possibility of Kennedy involvement in her death. If true, it is a shattering indictment of two men of vast popularity and importance, and a wickedly unfair ending for an adored actress. But how true is any of this bizarre speculation?
And why this endless interest in Marilyn Monroe? This was a woman of rare talent, but Hollywood's history is packed with actresses who were as beautiful and as capable, and certainly easier to work with. In terms of her being late for work, hours late, days late, Marilyn's record may never be equaled. Even as the guest of honor at Jack Kennedy's birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, host Peter Lawford had to introduce her as “the late Marilyn Monroe.” Even the President had to wait. Was it ill manners or arrogance? Probably not, not so much as insecurity and fear, doubt and confusion. This was a woman whose life pattern had been chaotic.
George Sanders, who acted with her in
All about Eve,
said that he was sure she would eventually succeed because “she so obviously needed to be a star.” She certainly needed to be something. Brought up in foster homes, she claimed to have been sexually abused as a child, and she married at sixteen. What might have crushed others did not crush this girl, then named Norma Jeane Baker. She wanted to be someone and worked hard to that end. Nothing about it was easy. Marilyn was no overnight success. With her own tenacity and with help from a few who believed in her, she struggled from model to bit player to starlet to star. And the girl from a depressed level of American society became more successful than anything she could have imagined. Unloved as a child, she was, and still is, admired and adored by millions. Marilyn had magic. She was one of those for whom the motion picture camera has an indefinable rapport. The camera loved her, and the image captured by the camera went on to be loved by almost all who saw that image.
Could teenage Norma Jeane have imagined herself a Hollywood legend? Could she have believed that among her husbands would be baseball star Joe DiMaggio and celebrated playwright Arthur Miller, and that among her lovers would be a United States President? And could she have imagined that fame would be a burden, that it would from time to time be painful, confusing, and demanding? That she would be used and taken advantage of? How confusing it must have been for her to be idolized and yet not be able to find simple contentment and happiness, to be worshiped by men but not enjoy a fulfilling relationship with any one man.
I came face to face with her only once. Early in 1961, when I was producing radio programs about Hollywood for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I spent a day at 20th Century-Fox on the set of
Let's Make Love
. My friends in studio publicity advised me there was no hope of getting an interview with Marilyn but I could try for some of the other actors. The picture was already weeks behind schedule. Marilyn never arrived much before midday and sometimes not at all. Most of the cast and crew were bored with doing nothing very much and looking forward to getting out. When interviewed for broadcast, actors tend to be cautious about what they say about the project on which they are working. They were all very cautious about this one, although hints and a few caustic comments made it obvious that all was far from well.
Rumor had it that Marilyn was having an affair with costar Yves Montand, despite the presence of his wife, Simone Signoret, and that director George Cukor, famed as a man who could draw wonderful performances from actresses, was not getting much from Marilyn. The fussy, temperamental Cukor swore he would never work with her again. But he did, much to his anger. When
Something's Got to Give
went into production, Fox assigned Cukor, claiming he owed them a film and this was the only one they had in production at the time. Cukor did the job but hated it, which might have been one of the reasons Marilyn turned up less than half the time she was needed. The atmosphere on the set of
Let's Make Love
was strained. With
Something's Got to Give
it was brittle.
During the lunch break on the day I was on the set, Marilyn came onto the soundstage to talk to someone. I watched her from a distance and then set myself up at the point she would have to walk by on the way out. I remember my impression vividly, mostly I suppose because it was one of disappointment. I had to remind myself, as on many occasions before and since, that the image on the screen and the actor in person are two separate beings. With Marilyn the discrepancy seemed more acute. And tragic. Why could this woman who had thrilled and pleased so many people not find happiness in her own life? Why did she have to suffer so much illness and confusion? And why did her life have to end the way it did?
Marilyn and the Kennedys. The evidence mounts. Was there a connection beyond the merely sexual? Whether it can be proven or not, it remains a searing tragedy, one that haunts the American conscience. Their lives were the stuff that dreams are made of, certainly the stuff from which legends are formed. But what were they really like as people? Celebrities, whether entertainers or politicians, are like icebergs. Only a small part is visible, and that small part may not be much like the rest. Charming Jack and enchanting Marilyn were other things as well, like ambitious, calculating, and complicated. They personified the old belief that beauty is as beauty does. They played by their own rules. They courted dangerâand danger had the final say.