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Saturday, 16 May 2020 17:18

The Marilyn Monroe/Kennedys Hoax - Part 1: The Mythology is Launched

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Jim DiEugenio reviews Donald McGovern’s important work on Marilyn Monroe's untimely death, Murder Orthodoxies, and, in part 1 of this essay, examines the launching of the mythology surrounding her alleged relationships with John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the money angle associated with promoting this mythology.


I

Back in 1997, I wrote an essay for Probe Magazine concerning the Sy Hersh/Lex Cusack affair. This involved an alleged extortion racket, run by Marilyn Monroe to force the Kennedy family to arrange a trust for Monroe’s mother. Lex Cusack’s father had been involved with part of Monroe’s estate and Lex said he found the documents in his father’s papers. Hersh fell for them hook, line, and sinker. The documents were later exposed as forgeries. I found the attendant controversy fascinating and decided to write about it. (Click here for details)

One of the reasons I did so was that many people within the JFK critical community had taken this MSM meme seriously, e.g. Larry Hancock, Peter Scott, and Paul Hoch. In its totality, that meme went: Monroe had affairs with John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy; she was more or less a Sam Giancana/John Roselli moll; and to top it off, J. Edgar Hoover actually helped cover up the Kennedy/Mafia role in Monroe’s death! (I’m not kidding.) I found all this to be rather wild. My essay made the argument that is was based on quite dubious grounds. Yet, Medusa-like, this idea persisted in the critical community, even after I wrote my essay—which was one of the most popular articles Probe ever published.

I am moved to write about the topic again, because of the appearance of a new book on the subject: Murder Orthodoxies: A Non-Conspiracist’s View of Marilyn Monroe’s Death. The book was written by Donald R. McGovern with a foreword by Gary Vitacco-Robles—the latter is one of the better biographers of Monroe. McGovern’s book is salutary in its intent. I say that because, having been exposed to what passes for literature on the subject, I understand just how toxic the waters in the field are. I once compared it to swimming in a sewer and having to be fumigated afterwards.

That was back in 1997. Since then, with the likes of Donald Burleson, Christopher Anderson, David Heymann, John William Tuohy, and Donald Wolfe, it actually got worse. We are now in the realm of Marilyn and space aliens and Marilyn and the KGB. I wish I was kidding. But, as Don McGovern proves, it’s no joke. Egged on by the expansion of cable television, talk radio, and the rise of self-publishing, the field has now literally reached the Outer Limits.

McGovern begins his book in a simple, but pointed, way. He describes Marilyn Monroe’s last day, August 4, 1962, at her home in Brentwood. He follows what she did and who was there. This included, Pat Newcomb her assistant and publicist; Larry Schiller a photographer; Eunice Murray, her housekeeper; Norman Jefferies, Murray’s son-in-law who was a handy man; and her psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson, who arrived in the early afternoon. There was a disagreement between Schiller and Newcomb over whether Monroe should pose for pictures for Playboy Magazine and Newcomb left. (McGovern, pp. 3-4) Monroe was also involved in a dispute with 20th Century Fox over her behavior during the production of the film Something’s Got to Give. But this had been resolved on terms favorable to her.

McGovern describes certain other events of that day: attempted calls by her former stepson Joe DiMaggio Jr, a walk on Santa Monica beach, Murray taking Marilyn shopping, a second visit by Greenson, a phone invitation to Monroe for a dinner gathering by Peter Lawford at his Santa Monica home. Her stepson finally did talk to her, Greenson left at about 7:15, Monroe turned down two Lawford invitations, and Greenson had asked Murray to stay the night with Marilyn due to his concerns about her mental state. (McGovern, pp. 7-8)

Murray later suspected something was wrong with Marilyn when she woke up past midnight and saw a light on in Marilyn’s bedroom beneath the door. (McGovern, p. 545) She called her name, but there was no reply. This worried her, since it was unlikely she was asleep with the light on. She then knocked on the door, but there was no answer.

She called Greenson who advised her to look into the bedroom from outside. She did so and then called him back to tell him Marilyn was nude on her stomach, but her body looked strange and unnatural. Greenson dressed and drove over. He pounded on her bedroom door with no answer. He took a fireplace poker outside and broke a pane in the window and then rolled open the sash. He slid through, approached the body and when he saw the hue, he knew she was dead. (ibid)

As the author notes, this is really all we know that happened that day and night. We cannot, of course, know what happened behind Marilyn’s closed bedroom door. The problem, as the author notes, is simple: some people—like Schiller and Murray—have altered their stories. (McGovern, pp. 7-8, pp. 538-39) The other problem is that many people would not accept the official verdict in the case, which was one of “probable suicide”. But more important to the development of the cottage industry of books on Monroe was the constant expansion of a growing legerdemain about the facts of her life and death. This aggrandizement was performed by people who either greatly exaggerated, or completely invented, their roles in both.

We can begin by noting two examples dealing directly with the crime scene. Sgt. Jack Clemmons was the first police officer to arrive at Marilyn’s home. When Robert Slatzer talked to him for his book on Monroe in the early seventies, Clemmons was no longer a policeman. He had been forced to resign due to his role in a libel conspiracy case. The target of that plot was California Senator Thomas Kuchel. The idea was to smear Kuchel in a homosexual tryst. Why would Clemmons take part in such an enterprise? Because, as Clay Risen reveals in his book The Bill of the Century, Kuchel had been the strongest Republican ally to Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Senator Hubert Humphrey in their struggle to get John Kennedy’s civil rights bill through the senate in 1964. Obviously, Clemmons was no friend of Kennedy liberalism. And, as the author writes, “Jack Clemmons did not have a problem corrupting the truth.” (McGovern, p. 546)

Glass is usually cropped in books and on TV shows

Clemmons was accommodating to Slatzer. The policeman told him that the bedroom scene at Marilyn’s looked staged to him. For example, he said a “drinking vessel was not on Marilyn’s night stand or near her bed.” Further, he could not find a glass in the nearby bathroom either. (ibid, p. 547)

Clemmons was up to his old tricks, because:

Police photographs snapped that morning revealed that Marilyn…had a glass at her bedside. One of these photographs depicted a policeman’s hand pointing at Marilyn’s cluttered bedside table, indicating the many prescription bottles resting thereon, and that photograph clearly revealed a glass… (p. 547)

I do not like policemen who manufacture evidence or deceive the public about key facts in a high-profile case. Being familiar with the RFK assassination, I am fully aware of this type of behavior by the LAPD in 1968. And the Slatzer/Clemmons interview took place after that event.

But this was not the only alteration that Robert Slatzer elicited about the crime scene at Marilyn’s home. As mentioned previously, Eunice Murray said that what had her worried about Marilyn was being able to see a sliver of light underneath her door after midnight. This indicated to her that the actress—who suffered from insomnia—was not able to sleep. Years later, Murray changed her story. It was not a sliver of light she saw. That was changed into a phone cord. Who helped her change her story? Robert Slatzer again. Twelve years after the tragedy in Brentwood, Slatzer convinced Murray that she could not see anything under the door, because of new carpeting being installed. As the author notes, the idea of having carpeting so thick that it blocked any door clearance is rather dubious. To prevent any light passage usually requires specially designed seals. (McGovern, p. 552)

Don McGovern will reveal much more about just how pernicious Robert Slatzer was in the Monroe case. In so doing, he achieves something I would not have thought possible. He proves Slatzer was even worse than I thought he was.

II

How did the Marilyn mythology begin? And why? As hinted at above with the Clemmons/Kuchel plot, it was politically motivated. No president did more to tear down the walls of segregation in the South than John Kennedy. No one was more instrumental in that destruction than Attorney General Robert Kennedy. (Click here for details). In fact, as Clay Risen notes in his book, The Bill of the Century, the main reason RFK stayed on as Attorney General into 1964 was to make sure his brother’s bill passed through congress. After that happened, the Attorney General resigned and ran for the senate in New York. As he said, his goal was to represent the Kennedy wing of the Democratic Party in the senate.

There were some conservatives who did not wish RFK to succeed in that race. For the senate seat was perceived as a springboard to the White House. They did not want one Kennedy replaced by another Kennedy, who—because of his epochal stewardship of civil rights—was even more liberal than his brother. They were aided in their cause by journalist Dorothy Kilgallen who, in a column written the day before Monroe died, hinted at some kind of affair between Bobby Kennedy and the movie star. As the author notes, there was no basis for this insinuation. (McGovern, p. 21) Her alleged source was a person, Howard Rothberg, who had no connection to Monroe’s circle. But with the help of this tinder, three arsonists set a fire.

Maurice Reis ran the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. This group was a leftover from the McCarthy era and it terrorized the movie business in the fifties. (See the film Trumbo.). Reis kept files on anyone in Hollywood suspected of being a communist or a sympathizer. Because Monroe had been married to playwright Arthur Miller—pegged as a sympathizer—Reis had files on her. Sgt. Jack Clemmons, who we have already met, was part of the Fire and Police Research Organization, a similar anti-Communist group. Frank Capell started his Red hunting career in Westchester New York as an officer in the Subversive Activities Department. The three men knew each other and, in the autumn of 1962, Reis informed the other two about his files on Monroe. He then spun a tale: Marilyn thought Bobby Kennedy was going to marry her, but the Attorney General backed out of the proposal. Monroe was angered and threatened to reveal the affair; thus, the Kennedys had her eliminated. As McGovern notes, there was no evidence to back this up. But Clemmons and Capell wrote summaries of this wild theory and forwarded them to J. Edgar Hoover’s pal, columnist Walter Winchell, who printed much of it. (McGovern, pp. 24-25)

In August of 1964, Capell wrote a pamphlet titled The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe, the publication of which coincided with RFK’s entry into the New York senate race. It was essentially the Reis concept, padded out with filler: Bobby Kennedy had Monroe killed by communist agents, because he romantically betrayed her and she was going to expose that betrayal. (James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease editors, The Assassinations, p. 360) As more than one biographer has noted, the anti-Kennedy forces circulated this fruity screed in New York to hurt his candidacy. In order to make his spurious thesis credible, Capell criticized both the investigation into Monroe’s death and the autopsy, in order to suggest her death was a murder disguised as a suicide. Capell’s pamphlet did not gain any real traction, but it was the intellectual basis for a similar effort that did gain wide currency. And, as we shall see, Capell also cooperated on a similar effort beyond that.

Like many American males, Norman Mailer had a liking for Marilyn Monroe. He tried to meet her once but, for whatever reason, she did not want to meet him. (McGovern, p. 31). In 1973, nine years after Capell’s political hit job was issued, Mailer published his own piece of hackery, Marilyn: A Biography. It was a coffee table book, featuring photos by several photographers, including Larry Schiller. Mailer’s accompanying essay suggested that somehow Marilyn’s death was actually a murder. He at least partly formulated this idea through Capell—even though Capell had surrendered on charges in the same libel action against Kuchel that Clemmons had resigned over.

But Mailer had a different reason for continuing the baseless smear. He admitted to Mike Wallace on Sixty Minutes that he needed the money. Unsaid were his alimony and child support payments. (McGovern, p. 33). What Mailer did was, as McGovern describes it, a use of paralipsis. That is, implying something could be true while knowing you have no basis for postulating it. Mailer even tried out the idea that maybe, if Bobby did not kill her, agents of the FBI or CIA did, in order to make it look like she had killed herself over unrequited love. Mailer could get away with this nutty speculation since JFK, RFK, and Monroe were all dead, so there were no legal consequences involved. The book made the cover of four magazines and became a huge bestseller. (See Norman Mailer: A Double Life, by J. Michael Lennon, pp. 467-68) But as author John Gilmore notes, it might be the worst of the lot. Because Mailer “originated the let’s trash Marilyn for a fast buck profit scenario.” Gilmore continued in his description of the genre:  “There are many others in the line; in fact, most every biography on Marilyn is part baloney sandwich peppered gingerly with so-called invention.” (McGovern, p. 36)

That description is probably too kind to apply to the next writer to follow in the Mailer/Capell fiction as non-fiction line. He is the previously mentioned Robert Slatzer. Slatzer’s The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe was published just a year after Mailer’s yarn, so it is hard not to conclude that the publishing company at least partly shaped and modeled their product on the success of Marilyn: A Biography. Especially since, as Michael Lennon points out, Mailer’s book had a combined hard cover and paperback sale of one million copies.

It turns out that Slatzer knew Kilgallen and, in fact, he wrote her column at times when she was on vacation. (McGovern, p. 38). In that column, he once wrote that he met Monroe in 1947 at Fox. In his book, he changed this to the summer of 1946. But this would only be a minor contradiction in a Slatzerian sea of them.

Slatzer was born in Ohio in 1927. He worked in the D movie business as a writer and director e.g. Bigfoot. In the seventies, he turned more to writing celebrity biographies: two on Monroe and one each on Bing Crosby and John Wayne. In his books on Marilyn, he depicts himself as her closest confidante. In fact, he maintained that he married her. It was a brief marriage. It lasted about 48 hours on the first weekend in October, 1952, the ceremony being performed in Mexico. (McGovern, p. 42) As the author notes, this poses an obvious question: Why would Slatzer wait until 12 years after Monroe’s death, and 22 years after their wedding, to reveal he had been married to her? This is where McGovern hits a double off the wall in left field. Nobody who reads this book will ever believe Slatzer again. (Perhaps excepting, as we shall see, Tony Summers)

III

According to Slatzer, after spending much of the previous day together, he and Marilyn left for Mexico on the morning of October 4, 1952. The couple booked a room at the Rosarita Beach Hotel. They then went to the Foreign Club for dinner and ran into the world-famous matador Carlos Arruza. Arruza happened to be an acquaintance of Slatzer and they shared a drink. At 8:30 that night, they took a cab and went to see a barrister in Tijuana. He informed them he could do the ceremony, but they needed two witnesses. The barrister could supply one, but he would only furnish another for a fee. Slatzer and Monroe happened to stumble upon still another friend of the writer: boxer and actor Noble “Kid” Chissell. The ceremony was performed and the couple then returned to the Foreign Club. They encountered Arruza again, with whom they shared a wedding night dinner. (McGovern, p. 46)

On the drive back, Marilyn seemed distracted by Joe DiMaggio’s voice announcing the World Series. When they arrived in LA, DiMaggio called Marilyn. Slatzer understood that, even though he was her husband, Marilyn was in love with the Yankee Clipper. Like Sir Galahad, he decided to be noble. On Monday night they returned to Mexico to have their marriage annulled. The same barrister said he could not do so that quickly, since it hadn’t been processed. But for a price he pulled the certification from a pile and burned it in front of the couple. When they returned to Los Angeles, Monroe promised never to say anything about their wedding. (p. 47)

McGovern slices this story open with a precision and mastery of fact that is riveting. There are two recent calendar type books on Monroe’s day-to-day life in Hollywood; one by Carl Rollyson and one by April VeVea. According to those two books, it is highly unlikely that Monroe was with Slatzer beginning on Friday night as he says he was. (McGovern, p. 49). Further, with the kind of money Marilyn was making at the time, would one not think the couple would buy wedding bands in LA and hire a photographer to shoot pictures of the ceremony? If you were going to marry one of the most famous film stars in Hollywood, would you not wish to have a picture of the ceremony? Slatzer never mentions a photographer and, according to him, they had to buy wedding bands in Tijuana. Need I add that no one ever saw those bands again.

The retired Carlos Arruza wrote an autobiography in 1955, which was translated into English in 1956. Since Arruza was in some films in his career, one would think that he would have mentioned having dinner with Marilyn Monroe on her wedding night. If only because, by 1955, Monroe was one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Apparently, Arruza did not think that dinner was notable. And somehow, Marilyn forgot all about meeting the great matador twice in one weekend. (McGovern, pp. 63-64)

Two of the most amazing things about this fairy tale concern Joe DiMaggio. McGovern tried his best to locate the broadcasts of the 1952 World Series. He found out that DiMaggio was not part of the broadcast team. Either on radio or television. (ibid, p. 54) The other utterly baffling part of this DiMaggio story is this: Marilyn was living with DiMaggio at the time. The house was located on Castilian Drive in Hollywood Hills. (Click here for a look) Does anyone believe that the powerful, six foot DiMaggio would let the short, portly Slatzer come over to his house and depart with his live-in girlfriend for a Tijuana weekend?

But what of Kid Chissell? He was a witness, right? No he wasn’t. The boxer was questioned by Marilyn photographer Joseph Jasgur about the subject. He admitted that, “No, there wasn’t a wedding between Bob Slatzer and Marilyn…I don’t think Bob ever knew Marilyn.” (McGovern, p. 99). Then why did he go along with the charade? Because, like a true con man, Slatzer offered him money for the backup baloney. And like any amoral hustler, Slatzer did not come across with the funds.

But further, Marilyn could not have been in Mexico on October 4, 1952, because she was on a shopping spree in Beverly Hills that day. She wrote a check for $313, about three grand in today’s currency. (Ibid, p. 100) And the address on the check is the house she rented with DiMaggio. How does it get worse than all this?

I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But in this instance, there is no doubt. Robert Slatzer was a damned liar. His book took Mailer’s paralipsis and Capell’s suggestions further than either had. It was from Slatzer’s phony book that all the elements of a pseudo conspiracy to kill Monroe emanated: the Red Diary of Secrets; a Monroe milieu of not just Kennedys, but mobsters; Monroe’s inside knowledge of what was going on at the White House etc. But Don McGovern has unearthed information that goes beyond the above.

IV

For decades, Will Fowler was a fairly celebrated journalist, news director, and publicist in Los Angeles. His career extended back to the Black Dahlia case. Fowler said that Slatzer approached him in 1972 with an article proposal about the death of Marilyn Monroe. Fowler declined saying that if he had been married to her, now that would make an interesting proposal. Shortly after, Slatzer returned and told Fowler that, he forgot to tell him, but he had been married to her. (Click here for details)

This much had been known through a 1991 memoir that Fowler wrote about his reporting career. It turns out that it was not the whole story. Apparently, upon his death, Fowler donated his papers to California State University Northridge. In those papers, it was discovered that Fowler did not just walk away from Slatzer after their second meeting. On the promise that Slatzer would provide notes and tapes proving his relationship with Monroe, Fowler agreed to be part of a writing enterprise to produce a book on the Monroe case. (Click here for some of the documents)

As one can see from the linked documents, the third party to this literary enterprise was none other than Frank Capell. Capell was to produce evidence to ostensibly demonstrate the true character of Bobby Kennedy. This included supplying a pamphlet he had written about the deceased senator originally titled Robert F. Kennedy: Emerging American Dictator. (McGovern, p. 74) The reason I adduce for Fowler’s initial cooperation was his own innate conservativism—he worked on the Goldwater campaign of 1964—combined with the promise that Slatzer would produce tangible evidence of his relationship with Monroe. When such evidence was not forthcoming, Fowler began to have his doubts about Slatzer’s honesty. For if Slatzer did not have any real relationship with Monroe, then what was the point of the book?

One of the reasons that Fowler left the project is the fact that he was promised by Slatzer full notebooks proving his relationship with Monroe. These were to include letters exchanged between the two. Slatzer also said he had tapes of interviews he did with her. He never came up with either; thus Fowler departed. After he left, the end result was a cooperative writing venture by Pinnacle Books, with some of the writers being paid on a work for hire basis.

As McGovern points out, it is hard to exaggerate the impact of Slatzer’s business enterprise on the Monroe field. For example, Tony Summers invoked Slatzer’s name 179 times in his 1985 book Goddess. Donald Wolfe went beyond that. In his 1998 book, The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, he found cause to mention Slatzer 266 times. (McGovern, p. 76). Wolfe did not mention Fowler but Summers did, and in an odd way. In his footnotes, he suggests he did a joint interview with the two and, in his text, he indicates that Fowler was backing up Slatzer as to a long relationship with Monroe extending as far back as 1947. He even has Fowler looking at Slatzer’s marriage certificate in 1952, which no one else has ever seen. Yet in Fowler’s 1991 memoir, he stated flatly that Slatzer was never married to Monroe. (Reporters: Memoirs of a Young Newspaperman, pp. 287-88)

One way to explain this apparent dichotomy is that Pinnacle and Slatzer threatened litigation against Fowler for voicing his disagreements with the enterprise after he left the project. (McGovern, p. 78). It turns out that the evidence in the Fowler archives strongly suggests that Slatzer forged a letter to Summers which he tried to pass off as Fowler’s. In a letter to TV critic Howard Rosenberg, Fowler said he only recalled one phone interview with Summers. In that call, he clarified that episodes like a description of a marriage certificate and Marilyn dancing nude, these were only anecdotes that were related to him by Slatzer. (Letter of August 7, 1991). In a memo to his file, Fowler recalled this experience further. He wrote that he told Summers that:

Slatzer informed me about the marriage license and that I had not seen it. And also, that in 1946 or 1947, Slatzer had seen Marilyn walk around at a party in the nude. This became the last interview I would have about Marilyn Monroe, because Mr. Summers, in his book, quoted me as having seen the marriage license and been at the party in the 40’s with Robert Slatzer. Not true. I never even met Marilyn Monroe. (McGovern, p. 81)

When contacted about this discrepancy, Summers said that he stood by what he wrote in his book. As McGovern notes, that might be fine for him, but it does not explain the material differences. (ibid, p. 85)

The letter to Rosenberg concerned a TV movie that was made largely out of Slatzer’s first book about the actress, The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe. The movie was 1991’s Marilyn and Me. If the reader can believe it, and you probably can by now, that production went even further than the book. For instance, there is a scene in Mexico with Marilyn having an abortion of Slatzer’s child on a kitchen table in Tijuana. Which would mean that while she was living with DiMaggio, she was carrying Slatzer’s baby. There were other additions to the film that are also not in the book. McGovern makes a strong case that these were all further deceptions. (McGovern, pp. 87-88)

V

The fact that Slatzer made a career—and considerable cash—out of his exercise in literary fraud was a signal to others that there were no boundaries anymore in the field. The fact that ABC made a film of his trashy fabrication and that talk show hosts and documentary film makers featured him on television, this clearly designated that the MSM would not perform due diligence on the subject. Therefore, it now became standard practice to posthumously libel Marilyn Monroe, President Kennedy, and Senator Kennedy. This meant one could construct a meme by utilizing one of the most unreliable—almost ludicrous—stable of witnesses ever gathered in one case. By using this methodology, the MSM allowed tall tales to sprout unchecked and then rise to heights (or sink to depths) of dreadfulness, to the point that they approach a kind of collective cultural dementia. If the reader thinks I exaggerate, let me demonstrate with three examples from McGovern’s book.

Most readers of this site will recall the whole Lex Cusack/Sy Hersh debacle. In 1997, ABC had purchased the TV rights for Hersh’s book The Dark Side of Camelot. Reportedly, Hersh had spurred interest in his hatchet job by claiming he had documents that proved a legal settlement between Monroe and the Kennedy family. In return for payments well into the six figures to her mother, Monroe would stay silent about an affair she had with John Kennedy and her seeing him associating with known gangsters, i.e. Sam Giancana. This agreement was made in 1960 and was signed by John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Janet DeRosiers (Joe Kennedy’s assistant), and Monroe’s lawyer, Aaron Frosch (DiEugenio and Pease, pp. 365-66). After noticing some problems with the documents, like using zip codes before they existed, ABC had them tested. They were forensically proven to be forgeries. That part of the story was written about at length. For example, by David Samuels in The New Yorker (November 3, 1997)

In the Samuels article, there was a passage that almost everyone overlooked. But it is important, because Samuels thought it may have given Cusack the idea to create the forgeries. In 1986, Cusack met a woman named Nancy Greene. She conveyed to him a bizarre claim to the Monroe estate, which his attorney father had partly represented. Lex concluded she was not in a well state of mind so he dismissed her.

The Samuels article upset Nancy to the point that she filed a legal action for defamation. The court found no merit in her claim and dismissed the lawsuit. Nancy later published a book in 2013. In that book, she claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of Monroe and JFK. Her last name was Greene by marriage. She later legally changed her last name to Miracle. But she was born with the last name Maniscalco. How do we know that? Because in the Cusack files there was a note from Jennie Maniscalco. The note said Marilyn Monroe could not be Nancy’s mother, “Because I’m her mother.” (McGovern, p. 230)

To go through Maniscalco’s story is to be amazed that anyone could listen to it with a straight face. To use just one example: she says Monroe was not born in California, but in Illinois. And the movie star’s name was not Norma Jeane Mortenson, but Nancy Cusamano. I cannot possibly explain how one became the other, but I will just say that mobster Vito Genovese was involved. (McGovern, p. 221). I don’t even think Nigel Turner would have touched that one.

But Donald Wolfe did. (McGovern, p. 227) He actually tried to prove the story was true. And that Monroe was really Nancy’s mother. This is what passes for investigatory literature in that field. Wolfe is a writer who believes both Robert Slatzer and Nancy Maniscalco. As Sarah Churchwell wrote about Wolfe, “There isn’t a conspiracy theory that Wolfe doesn’t endorse…If someone said it, that seems to be proof enough.” (The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, eBook edition, p. 96)

By now, the reader should understand that the money angle is a recurring theme in the Marilyn industry. We are about to encounter it again.

In 1982, as the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office was conducting a threshold investigation on the Monroe case, the man supervising that inquiry, Ronald Carroll, received an odd phone call. The caller said his name was Rick Stone and he told Carroll he had a story to tell about the Monroe case. (As we shall see, it was a story he intended to sell also.) He said he had been dispatched, along with his partner, to the Monroe home between the hours of 4-6 AM. When he got there, the body was in the guest house. Further, Monroe was not quite dead yet. He and his partner tried to revive her. But then a doctor arrived with a black bag. He pulled out a hypodermic and plunged it into her heart and that is what killed her. (McGovern, p. 515)

Stone’s real name was James Hall. He ended up selling his story to The Globe. Which is significantly below the National Enquirer as far as credibility goes. (ibid, p. 516) This story has been used, in one form or another, by various authors, including Slatzer in his 1992 book and Donald Wolfe. Why it would be used is the real question.

Monroe’s guest house was even more sparsely furnished than her home. As McGovern notes, it contained only a card table and chairs. (McGovern, p. 518) The concept seems to be to build on Sgt. Clemmons’ attempt to make the crime scene into something suspicious. But this story makes Clemmons look conservative in that regard, since not even he said the body was in the guest house. In fact, the first four witnesses at the scene—Murray, Greenson, her internist Dr. Engleberg and Clemmons—said Monroe’s body was in her bedroom. In fact, that Monroe was still alive at the 4-6 AM time frame also clashes with Greenson, Engelberg, and Clemmons. Her body showed signs of fixed lividity and advanced rigor mortis by the time Clemmons got there at 4:35 AM. (McGovern, p. 521) Finally, the idea that the medical examination—done just a few hours later—would not reveal the trail of a hypodermic into the heart, that seems beyond comprehension.

If one thinks the above two stories are bizarre, the one by Lionel Grandison might take the trophy. By 2012, Grandison had changed his religious affiliation, so his book about the Monroe case was issued under the name Samir Muqaddin. But since we are talking about the 1962 time frame, I will use the surname Grandison. Grandison wrote that, as a member of the coroner’s office, he came across Monroe’s diary in a purse that was retrieved from her home. He read it over two nights, took some notes, and tried to commit it all to memory. But after the second night, it disappeared from a safe he placed it in.

According to Grandison, we all had the wrong idea about Marilyn Monroe. Like Chuck Barris, she was actually a secret agent. She was originally recruited by the FBI to spy on her husband Arthur Miller. She then became closely associated with John and Robert Kennedy—although the dates he says she met them do not coincide with the actual calendar dates writers have adduced. (McGovern, p. 252) She had to divorce Miller, because her espionage work now advanced to a higher level in the Kennedy White House. She now began to attend high level intelligence briefings with FBI and CIA officers. She also met up with mobsters like John Roselli and Sam Giancana due to her knowledge about the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro—and the president was at those meetings. According to Grandison’s notes, one Mafiosi plan proposed shoving a poison pill into Castro’s rectum.

I really cannot go any further with this—although McGovern does. I have a hard time thinking anyone could dream up, let alone write down this malarkey. One of the biggest film stars in the world at a high-level briefing and no one mentions it—ever? J. Edgar Hoover would have had it in the papers within a half hour. John Kennedy was never at a meeting where the CIA/Mafia plots were discussed, since the CIA deliberately kept them secret from him. (1967 CIA Inspector General Report, pp. 62, 64, 118, 130-32) But beyond that, the CIA emissaries to the Mafia for those plots donned false identities as businessmen and met the mobsters on their home turf: those meetings did not take place in Washington, but in Miami and New York City at private establishments. And finally, Kennedy was not even president when they occurred. (Inspector General report, pp. 16, 18)

There is no excuse for this kind of publishing irresponsibility. The CIA Inspector General Report on the plots was declassified by the Assassination Records Review Board about 15 years prior to the publication of Grandison’s book. Therefore, this smacks of cheap sensationalism.

see The Marilyn Monroe/Kennedys Hoax - Part 2: The Mythology Soars into Outer Space

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 01:52
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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