It is not uncommon for outrageous claims to be made about deceased celebrities; and more often than not, these outrageous claims involve their alleged procreations. The dishonest or the delusional regularly appear claiming to be an abandoned son or daughter of the deceased celebrity and the abandoned progeny invariably claim that they have been cheated out of their pecuniary birthright.
In the mid-nineties, Lisa Johansen appeared on the media’s radar screen, claiming to be the real daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. After The King’s death in 1977, Priscilla feared Lisa Marie might be kidnapped and held for ransom; so she transferred her daughter from Memphis to Sweden and substituted the current faux Lisa Marie. The Swedish Lisa presented her memoir for publication in 1998: I, Lisa Marie: The True Story of Elvis Pres-ley’s Real Daughter. Apparently, the memoir was ultimately rejected because the Swedish Lisa refused a DNA test that could have proven her claims, even after she had agreed to the test and accepted a $200K advance from the publisher. Eventually, however, her memoir was self-published.
In March of 2013, the Swedish Lisa filed a lawsuit against the Presley Estate seeking to collect her fair share of Presley’s millions; the exact amount the Swedish Lisa wanted to collect from the Presley Estate varied, depend-ing on which magazine account a fellow read. It appeared that the Swedish Lisa also filed a defamation lawsuit in which she named Priscilla and her son, Navarone, as defendants. She asked the court to award her $10M American due to damages and anguish caused by her alleged mother and her alleged half-brother. Both lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice.
In 2008, John Burton appeared with claims that he was the illegitimate son of Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy. He was not relocated and then replaced with a fraudulent substitute like the real Lisa Marie. His parents, he claimed, simply refused to acknowledge his existence for obvious reasons. Burton, age fifty-three at the time, eventually filed a lawsuit against the John Kennedy Estate seeking to collect his fair share of Kennedy’s millions. Both a lower court and then a federal appellate court declared Burton’s lawsuit frivolous. According to my arithmetic, John Burton must have been born in 1955, an inopportune year to claim that Marilyn was pregnant. Marilyn’s incredible rise to international stardom and fame began in 1950; and she was never allowed any respite from the voyeuristic lenses of the press. She attended the NYC premiere of The Seven Year Itch with Joe DiMaggio on the 1st of June in 1955, her 29th birthday. Marilyn was most certainly not pregnant during any part of 1954 or 1955.
Recently, in a rather bizarre case, a man named Scott Stockert claimed not only to be Jesus Christ, but the illegitimate son of Marilyn and John Kennedy; and he admitted that he intended to abscond with one of Barak Obama’s dogs. Stockert also announced a future run for the presidency; but as yet, he has not filed a lawsuit seeking remuneration from his deceased parent’s estates. Odd and silly and goofy for true; but the goofiest claims involving an alleged Marilyn progeny must be the ones made by Nancy Maniscalco. She represents a most painful case.
Nancy Maniscalco, henceforth NancyM, appeared in the Realm of Marilyn in the late nineteen eighties after she learned her true identity in 1985 from a writer she identified as John Bilillo. Born on the 14th of September in 1946, she originally identified a man named Vincent Bruno as her father before she temporarily delegated the title of father to the mobster Johnny Roselli. Eventually, NancyM declared John Kennedy her father; but she ne-ver wavered regarding the identity of her famous actress mother: Marilyn Monroe. In order to educate humanity, NancyM would soon provide additional startling revelations about her alleged mom.
According to NancyM, the woman the world now recognizes as Norma Jeane Mortenson and Marilyn Monroe was not born in Los Angeles, California; she was actually born in Marian, Illinois, to Sicilian immigrants named Cusamano. The ultimate movie star’s birth name you might be wondering? Nancy Cusamano, henceforth NancyC. NancyM became a Maniscalco because NancyC wanted to pursue an acting career in Hollywood. In order to accomplish that goal, the dangerous mobster, Vito Genovese, placed NancyM with her Aunt Jenny and her hus-band, NancyM’s Uncle Joe. Thus, NancyM was raised by NancyC’s sister, Jenny, and NancyC’s brother-in-law, Joe Maniscalco. Just how and why the New York City murderer and crime family boss, Vito Genovese, became involved with the Cusamano and the Maniscalco families of Illinois has never been explained by NancyM. More-over, she has never explained what happened to her Aunt Jenny and her Uncle Joe, at least as far as I know; and she has never explained just how her father transformed from Vincent Bruno into Johnny Roselli and ultimately into the President of the United States. Maybe she felt it was prudent to leave those sleeping dogs asleep.
The story of Norma Jeane and her transformation into Marilyn Monroe is but a myth created by the Hollywood studios, or so claimed NancyM. The dubious daughter also claimed that her mother was actually born in 1920, not 1926, and thus was 42 years old, not 36, when she died. She also alleged that Norma Jeane, who never existed, was therefore never married to James Dougherty, that Gladys Pearl Monroe was paid to impersonate Norma Jeane’s mother by Hollywood executives. Those same executives also paid Berniece Baker, Norma Jeane’s faux half-sister, to perpetrate the Marilyn Monroe hoax. NancyM acknowledged her alleged mother’s marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller and claimed she spent time with both men during her childhood; and remarkably, NancyM explained away all the documentation regarding Norma Jeane Mortenson, her birth certificate, her mar-riage license, her work records and all the photographs taken of her this way: forgeries and fakes.
At some point in NancyM’s life, she married a man named Fred Greene, and for a while, as a natural result thereof, she became Nancy Maniscalco Greene, henceforth NancyMG. I do not know when or why her marriage to Greene collapsed or how she discovered the relationship between Gladys Pearl Monroe and the New York law firm of Cusak and Stiles; but in early 1986 NancyMG appeared unannounced and unexpectedly at Cusak and Stiles with an odd request: she wanted to speak to the attorney representing her grandmother, meaning Gladys Pearl, the nonexistent Norma’s faux mother. By then, Gladys had been dead for two years and Lawrence X. Cusak, Jr., the founder of the law firm, had been dead since October of 1985; so NancyMG was introduced to the founder’s son, Lawrence X. Cusak the 3rd, then a paralegal with the firm. Thus, the life of NancyMG intersected the life of Lex Cusak the 3rd, leading him to perpetrate one of the more incredible literary hoaxes of the 20th century, now known infamously as the Kennedy-Monroe Papers or, if you prefer, the Monroe-Kennedy Papers.
When Marilyn died, even though she had just purchased a home in California, Aaron R. Frosch, her attorney, attempting to avoid the exorbitant California inheritance taxes, filed her will for probate in New York Surrogate Court on the 17th of August. Frosh was named the executor of the estate and trustee of the $100K trust fund Marilyn established for the care and maintenance of Gladys Pearl Baker, Marilyn’s mother. Marilyn willed seventy-five percent of her estate to Lee Strasberg and the remaining twenty-five percent she willed to Marianne Kris, Marilyn’s former psychiatrist. Marianne Kris died in 1980; but apparently the Kris estate sued Frosch in 1981, alleging that the attorney had embezzled $200K from Marilyn’s estate. Apparently by agreement, Frosch resigned his trusteeship and a New York Surrogate, Marie Lambert, appointed Lawrence Cusak, Jr. as trustee and guardian of Gladys Pearl’s trust fund. Gladys Pearl died in March of 1984 and in October of 1985, Cusak, Jr. follow-ed her into eternity.
At the time, Seymour Hersh was struggling with an exposé regarding the murky shadows in the mythology created by Jacqueline Kennedy known as Camelot. Fate intervened, or so it seemed, when Cusak the 3rd emerg-ed from the shadows of paralegaldom to announce that he had discovered a few incredible, and until then, unknown facts about his father. Not only was his daddy the lead attorney for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, daddy was a clandestine attorney for the former president’s father along with the ruler of Camelot, John F. Kennedy. Moreover, Cusak the 3rd announced that he had discovered some of the most explosive hand and typewritten documents regarding the lives and affairs of not only the former president but the most famous actress and woman on Earth, Marilyn Monroe. News of those documents spread through the media like flood waters, rightfully so; and Seymour Hersh wanted them as grist for his dark Kennedy mill.
Cusak the 3rd had the documents that he allegedly discovered authenticated by John Reznikoff whose website declares Mr. Reznikoff to be a world renowned authenticator and expert witness. Another alleged document and signature expert, Charles Hamilton, declared the handwriting and signatures to be authentic. One of the more damaging documents, essentially an agreement submitting to and permitting extortion, then President Kennedy agreed to establish a $600K trust fund for Marilyn’s mother. Additionally, in that extortion document, President John Kennedy agreed to pay Marilyn millions of USDs for her silence about his affair with her and his association with figures of the underworld, particularly Sam Giancana. In short, Marilyn Monroe was blackmailing one the most powerful men on Planet Earth. It could be argued, then, that President John Kennedy affixed his signature to a document which provided a woman blackmailing him even more power to blackmail him in the future while also creating a signed confession admitting to adultery, a signed confession admitting to associating with known criminals, gangsters and murderers; and obviously, the conspiracists realized such an incendiary document could be placed in evidence as a motive for Marilyn’s murder.
Such was the impact of those documents that Hersh finagled an additional $250K advance from his publisher, Little Brown and Company, while he also finagled a $2M deal with NBC-TV to produce an explosive one-hour documentary using the 3rd’s documents as an irrefutable source. However, eventually citing creative differ-ences, NBC-TV withdrew from the deal and documentary, although doing so cost the network a $1M withdrawal fee. Actually, NBC’s withdrawal had nothing to do with the purported creative differences. The network’s exec-utives had started to question the authenticity of Cusak the 3rd’s monumental discovery.
Undeterred, Hersh was able to sell his story to ABC News; but chairman Roone Arledge eventually became skeptical as well. Even though Cusak the 3rd had allegedly authenticated the documents and Hersh believed, based on the testaments of Hamilton, that the Kennedy signatures were authentic, Arledge commissioned several forensic examiners to review the documents; but by this time, even Hersh had started to have doubts: he could not confirm the bank account the wealthy Kennedys had allegedly established to compensate Marilyn Monroe in accordance with the trust fund agreement. Eventually, the examining experts determined that the typewriter used to create the documents did not exist in the early sixties and one document displayed a postal zip code, which would not be incorporated by the USPS for another year. Then on the 25th of September in 1997, ABC News Anchor, Peter Jennings, reported that the Monroe-Kennedy story was not true: the documents which purportedly proved a relationship long assumed to have existed between Marilyn and the president were, in fact, forgeries. One of the documents, the explosive extortion agreement, was typed on a machine that did not exist until 1971, eight years after John Kennedy’s assassination. That was the beginning of the end for the documents and for Cusak the 3rd.
Perhaps the final knell sounded when the only person living who had allegedly witnessed the signatures of both John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, Janet DesRosiers Fontaine, informed Hersh, after she viewed the documents, that her signature was forged. Plus, she informed the journalist, although she had known both Joseph and John Kennedy, she had never met Marilyn Monroe. Fontaine later wrote letters to both Hersh and Hersh’s publisher warning them that the documents in their possession were fakes. Eventually and ultimately, all the documents were declared by Kennedy experts to be forgeries, unusually well done and convincing forgeries, but forgeries nonetheless. And too, among Cusak III’s papers, investigators discovered evidence that the 3rd had practiced forging the signatures of both John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Several million dollars worth of the letters and memoranda, along with the phony extortion document, had already been sold by the time the media et al. declared Cusak the 3rd’s documents to be bogus. Eventually, the documents were confiscated by the authorities, despite their legitimate sale. Some of the buyers wanted their money refunded; but despite the uniform declaration that the documents were not authentic, some of the buyers simply wanted the confiscated documents returned.
Despite Hersh’s disappointment, he finished his book, The Dark Side of Camelot, remaining calm and unperturbed while so doing. Even though he was sharply criticized and ridiculed for his gross misjudgments, Hersh’s book became a best seller. Cusak the 3rd, however, was not as fortunate; he was indicted for forgery, fraud and several other related charges, found guilty and sentenced to ten long and unhappy years in a federal prison.
The point and the moral of Cusak the 3rd’s story are clear. Never get involved in forgery; but more importantly, virtually any type of document can be forged. Additionally, persons who are, or at least claim to be expert au-thenticators, can be fooled. No doubt, they often have been and will be in the future; but then Nancy Maniscalco has also fooled many persons by assuming the surname of Miracle.
Berniece Inez Gladys Baker was born to Gladys Pearl Baker (née Monroe) on July the 30th in 1919. Along with her older brother, Robert Kermit, her father, John Baker, kidnapped Berniece in 1923 and transported her to Kentucky, where John had been born. Berniece grew up in Kentucky with the Baker family and married Paris Miracle on the 7th of October in 1938. Their only child, Mona Rae Miracle, was born on the 18th of July in 1939. De-spite the fact that the surname Miracle had nothing whatsoever to do with Norma Jeane Mortenson, or Marilyn Monroe, except through the vehicle of a connubial stitching, NancyMG apparently decided around 1991 to become a Miracle and assumed that surname in an obvious attempt to give her claim of kinship with Marilyn some much needed validity. Thus, NancyMG became Nancy Maniscalco Miracle, henceforth NancyMM. One can readily see the symbolic significance of the MM in Nancy’s new name; but the obvious question is this: why didn’t NancyMG simply assume the surname of Monroe or Mortenson? She could have retained the symbolism of the MM in her new name and would have created an even stronger familial link to Marilyn Monroe. Odd and injudicious you will no doubt agree.
On November the 3rd in 1997, The New Yorker published an article written by David Samuels entitled “Fakes: Who Forged the JFK–Marilyn Monroe Papers?” This magazine article dealt primarily with Cusak III’s forged Kennedy–Monroe Papers; but the article also mentioned Cusak III’s encounter with NancyMM. According to Samuels, the coincidental meeting between Cusak III and NancyMM fundamentally implanted the idea for the 3rd’s now infamous literary hoax. The article recounts Cusak’s 1986 meeting with a dishevelled [sic] woman in her early forties. The article states that Nancy Greene laid out a tangled claim to the Monroe estate, and Lex Cusack quickly concluded that she was nuts.1Cusak’s interest was aroused, however, leading him to conduct a search through his father’s files which led to the discovery of documents purportedly evidencing the Monroe–Kennedy affair. Samuels then recounted Cusak the 3rd’s efforts to sell the documents. Samuels’ article incensed NancyMM so much that she filed a defamation lawsuit in 2001. The lawsuit was filed in US District Court, Honolulu, Hawaii, where NancyMM was living at the time. According to the lawsuit: Miracle asserts claims for (1) libel per se, (2) defamation, (3) tortious infliction of emotional distress, (4) tortious interference with contractual relations and business, (5) unjust enrichment, and (6) punitive damages. The court found no merit in any of NancyMM’s claims and ruled in favor of The New Yorker.2
NancyMM published a literary effort in 2013: From Sardi’s to Sicily, The Biography of Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn’s Secrets Fifty Years After Her Death. She has written two screenplays about her alleged mother, Nancy Cusamano: “Mama Mia Marilyn: An Interview” and “Here I Am Mother: The Real Story of Marilyn Monroe.” Could it be that she explains, in her book and the screenplays, her connection to Vito Genovese and then draws a connection to Marilyn’s MOB affiliations? Does she explain the transformation of her father into different men? Since I have not read NancyMM’s book or her screenplays, I do not know if she explains therein her connection to Genovese or her paternal transformations; but I find the possibility of that MOB connection very intriguing and something a hardcore conspiracist like Donald H. Wolfe could believe and upon which he could easily expound.
Perhaps the oddest aspect of this tangled story is not the incredible claims made by NancyMM or the documents forged by Lex Cusak the 3rd, as unbelievable as each may be, the oddest aspect is that some persons actually accept NancyMM’s story, accept that she is, in fact, the long lost and unacknowledged daughter of Marilyn Mon-roe and President John F. Kennedy; and thus by extension, they must accept all of her claims as facts. Evidently, one of those believers was, in 1998, Donald H. Wolfe, author of The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe.
According to Wolfe, for some reason he did not explain, an authority or person he did not identify, placed a girl born in November of 1947 with a Brooklyn Sicilian family named Maniscalco. Once the girl became an adult, she assumed the name of Nancy Maniscalco Greene, or Green at times, and thereafter consistently claimed to be the daughter of Marilyn Monroe. Wolfe then noted that the putative daughter of Marilyn Monroe had become an important central character in a criminal prosecution and other law suits related to the disputed Cusak docu-ments, allegedly and secretly in the possession originally of Kennedy attorney, Lawrence Cusak the 2nd before they were discovered by his son, Lawrence Cusak the 3rd. Wolfe then referenced the 1960 handwritten Cusak document in which John Kennedy expressed his concern regarding “Nancy Greene” and that “MM claims to make this public” (Wolfe KE:27). If an authentic document, Wolfe contended, and apparently he believed the document was authentic, it would conclusively prove that the former president was the father and naturally Marilyn was the mother of Nancy Maniscalco Greene. However, there are a few inaccuracies in Donald Wolfe’s assertions, a few of which he was probably unaware in 1998, and one extremely important document contained in Cusak’s files that Wolfe completely ignored.
Importantly, NancyMM’s birth date, as reported by Wolfe, is incorrect; NancyMM did not just assume the name of Nancy Maniscalco Greene on a whim, as Wolfe implied: she became a Greene by marriage; and Lawrence X. Cusak the 2nd was not a Kennedy attorney. The New York Times interviewed a Cusak and Stiles employee, identified merely as Ms. Landi, regarding that firm’s involvement with Kennedy family.
In an article written by Joyce Wadler, which appeared in the New York City newspaper on the 17th of March in 1998, Ms. Landi stated that nothing in Cusak the 2nd’s documents suggested that he ever met John Kennedy or Marilyn Monroe. She then explained that Cusak the 2nd would not have kept a Kennedy relationship secret; and she further explained the firm’s connection to Marilyn. A New York City Surrogate, Marie Lambert, appointed Cusak the 2nd guardian of Gladys Pearl, Marilyn’s institutionalized mother, who was then living in a Florida sanatorium; and the firm had no contact with Marilyn Monroe. Ms. Landi stated that the Cusak firm was involved with Marilyn’s estate relative to Gladys only. The firm worked on it a few years, Ms. Landi remarked, then added. I worked on it myself. Then it was concluded. We reported it back to the surrogate, and that was it.3
It is interesting how Donald Wolfe attempted to prove that Marilyn was pregnant in 1947. Accordingly, he seriously declared: At Harry Drucker’s barber shop in Beverly Hills―where film moguls and mafiosi talked business, broads, and horses―the hot rumor wafting in the cigar smoke was that Fox had dropped Marilyn Monroe because she was pregnant (Wolfe KE:27). That tidbit of local color certainly settled the issue for me; does it settle the issue for you? I mean, hot rumors floating in the stogie smoke floating in Drucker’s barber shop, hot rumors in smoke mingled with the smell of lanoline and talc and acidic hair tonic, must be afforded absolute credence.
Since Marilyn’s contract was not optioned by Fox, on August the 26th in 1947 she officially became an unem-ployed starlet. She signed her contract with Columbia Pictures on March the 9th in 1948. Thus, six months elapsed between leaving Fox and joining Columbia. It was during this time, according to Wolfe, that Marilyn gave birth to her daughter. He noted, as evidence, that Marilyn essentially disappeared from view for seven months. He also alleged that not one photograph of Marilyn snapped between July of 1947 and when she resumed her movie appearances, sometime at the start of 1948, could be found, an assertion by Wolfe that was, and is, of course, completely false.
Astrid Frase and Michelle Morgan reported in their book, Before Marilyn: The Blue Book Modeling Years, that Marilyn was photographed wearing Jantzen Swimwear throughout 1947 and she was involved in several publicity events late in the year, one of which was the National Postmasters Convention between October the 12th and 16th in 1947. Advertisements for that event, according to Astrid and Michelle, included a souvenir post card which featured Donna Hamilton, Mike Fanning and a twenty-one-year-old Marilyn posing before a Trans World Airlines big silver bird. Also, Stacy Eubank reported in her Marilyn biography, that photojournalist, Nat Dallinger, photographed Marilyn and George Jessel eating dinner at the Mocambo Club, a photograph which Dallinger published on the 25th of September in 1947. His caption did not mention a protuberant midsection and one was not visible. If NancyMM was born in November of 1947, NancyC, or Marilyn Monroe, would have been visibly pregnant during September and October; and that simply was not the case.
Several biographers denote that Marilyn became involved with the Bliss-Hayden Miniature Theater between studio contracts. According to Gary Vitacco-Robles, Lila Bliss and Harry Hayden cast Marilyn in the role of Lady Bonnie Towyn in the play, Glamour Preferred, which ran from October 12 until November 2 […] (Vitacco-Robles v1:128). Wolfe dismissed similar assertions by other biographers as unreliable, just foggy twenty-year-old memories of Lila Bliss, who managed the theater. That’s certainly odd when you consider that Wolfe readily accepted the hazy recollections of many persons throughout his book, including the testimony of Amy Greene and Lena Pepitone regarding a Marilyn pregnancy while she was a teenager, not to mention the hot gossip floating in the cigar smoke floating in Harry Drucker’s barber shop. It appears that Donald Wolfe desperately wanted Marilyn to be the mother of NancyMM, John Kennedy to be the father and the Cusak documents to be authentic, thus providing ideal motives for the nefarious Kennedys to murder Marilyn. What better murder motives could possibly have existed for a conspiracist than blackmail, a sexual relationship and an unwanted pregnancy ended by an illegal abortion?
A year after Wolfe published The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, the courts adjudicated the Cusak 3rd case; so Wolfe could not have known, at the time he wrote his book, the unfavorable outcome relative to the document’s authenticity which resulted in Cusak 3rd’s incarceration. Additionally, I do not know how Wolfe determined or obtained what he reported to be NancyMM’s birth date; but translating her arrival on Planet Earth into 1947 represents a significant alteration of reality and avoids confronting the following unalterable fact: on August the 26th in 1946, just about three weeks before NancyMM’s actual birth date, Norma Jeane Dougherty signed her first contract with 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. She was not the least bit pregnant; and therefore, certainly, she could not have been Nancy Maniscalco’s mother. Additionally, according to an article which appeared in The New York Daily News, 9 November 1997 edition, written by Michael Daly, another folder related to NancyMM was in Cusak the 2nd’s files. That folder contained a note, handwritten by Jennie Maniscalco as to why she doubted Greene’s claim. “Because I’m her mother.” So, once again, neither Nancy Cusamano nor Norma Jeane Mortenson nor Marilyn Monroe gave birth to Nancy Maniscalco.4
Still, nearly three decades after she appeared in the Realm of Marilyn, proclaiming herself to be Marilyn Monroe’s daughter, and despite the overwhelming, irrefutable evidence to the contrary, some persons, even a Marilyn biographer, believed NancyMM’s most peculiar plethora of nonsense. I’m not sure why; but then, many persons believed Lawrence X. Cusak the 3rd; and they spent millions of dollars to own, not just a piece of history, but a piece of history pertaining to Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy. Even after experts declared that the documents were forged, and therefore were worthless, even though the documents had been confiscated by law enforce-ment officials and the Kennedy family requested the document’s destruction, those who had bought the fake documents wanted them returned: the owners still intended to display them prominently in their homes and businesses. Why? Certain persons it appears simply want the alleged lengthy romantic affair between Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy to be true? Forget the absolute lack of evidence supporting such a romantic rela-tionship. Forget reality.