Kennedy brother-in-law, the actor Peter Lawford, facetiously labeled the brother-in-Lawford, was the conduit through which the middle Kennedy brothers met many of Hollywood’s most beautiful female movie stars; and such was the case with Marilyn. Each of the confirmed encounters between the middle Kennedy brothers and Marilyn, except three, transpired at the Santa Monica beachside mansion of Peter Lawford and his wife, Patricia Kennedy Lawford, one of the middle Kennedy brother’s five sisters. Patricia was also Marilyn’s good friend.
In his 1993 Marilyn biography, Donald Spoto advanced his informed opinion and belief that Marilyn met President John Kennedy on just four occasions and each occurred during an eight month time frame. According to Spoto, Marilyn’s initial encounter with John Kennedy occurred in October of 1961 at a dinner party hosted by the Law-fords; then in February of 1962, the actress and the president met a second time during a dinner party in New York City hosted by Fifi Fell; their third meeting occurred in late March at the desert estate of crooner Bing Crosby; and their final meeting occurred during the mid-May birthday celebration for the president at Madison Square Garden.
Likewise, Spoto asserted that Marilyn met Robert Kennedy on just four occasions as well and each occurred during a nine month time frame coincident with the time frame during which she met John Kennedy. Marilyn met the attorney general in early October of 1961 at a dinner party hosted by the Lawfords; then, on February the 1st in 1962, they met for a second time, also during a dinner party hosted by the Lawfords; their third meeting occurred at John Kennedy’s May birthday celebration; and their final meeting occurred on June the 27th during yet another Lawford hosted dinner party.
Marilyn undoubtedly joined John Kennedy at Bing Crosby’s Palm Springs estate in March of 1962. Eyewitnesses observed them together and other evidence which confirmed that meeting also exists. Likewise and obviously, the May 19th Madison Square Garden event in 1962 was the public and now legendary birthday celebration for John Kennedy and the Democrat Party Fund Raiser attended by both of the middle Kennedy brothers. Thousands of eye witnesses observed the lavish event, complete with entertainment provided by many famous celebrities; professional and amateur photographers snapped photographs; home movie enthusiasts filmed Super 8 home movies, which they screened at home then later sold; and professional documentarians filmed the event for the benefit of history. There is no question or debate that Marilyn Monroe met John and Robert Kennedy after that event. The only debate is whether Marilyn met John and Robert Kennedy before or during that event. Of the remaining meetings, two can be confirmed conclusively using the eyewitness accounts of credible witnesses or Marilyn’s confirming statements; and the possibility that three of the meetings could have occurred as described by Spoto can be confirmed using the middle Kennedy brother’s published or otherwise known itineraries and Marilyn’s known locations on the respective dates. One of the meetings advanced by Spoto cannot be confirmed conclusively.
Peter and Pat Lawford hosted a dinner party in October of 1961 to honor the President of the United States, according to Donald Spoto, an event that Marilyn attended; and Spoto cited as his source Marilyn’s legendary make-up artist, Allan “Whitey” Snyder, who testified that he, as Marilyn requested, delivered her to the Lawford’s beach house after a photographic session. Snyder did not attend the party; and apparently he did not provide Spoto with the exact date that he delivered Marilyn thereto. That autumn dinner party, according to Spoto, was the first encounter between the blonde actress and the sitting President of the United States.
Although I am reluctant to question the eminent Marilyn biographer and theologian, John Kennedy’s published itinerary covering the month of October in 1961 does not indicate a trip to the West Coast. In fact, he only traveled away from the Eastern Seaboard on three separate occasions: on October the 9th, October the 12th and October the 29th. He did not venture past Big Cedar, Oklahoma, where, on the 29th, he delivered a speech opening and dedicating a new road in Ouachita National Forest.1
President Kennedy spent his time on the East Coast during October of 1961 in three locations: Washington, Hyan-nisport and Newport. While in Hyannisport and Newport, he was with his family, either entertaining on Honey Fitz, the presidential yacht, or attending church. His days and evenings while he was in Washington were crowd-ed with numerous events, luncheons for various foreign leaders and diplomats, meetings with members of his administration and meetings with the leaders of either industry, business or the military. A trip to California during October of 1961 was not memorialized within any of the president’s published itineraries or calendars; and evidence of an impromptu or unscheduled appearance by him in Los Angeles remains undiscovered.
Likewise, according to Spoto, Marilyn’s first meeting with the Attorney General of the United States occurred in early October of 1961, either on the 3rd or the 4th of the month, a meeting confirmed by Edwin Guthman, Robert Kennedy’s press officer, friend and confidant. The occasion was another Lawford dinner party. During an inter-view conducted by Spoto, Guthman recounted his trip to the West Coast with the attorney general during which they met with FBI agents and United States’ Attorneys in several cities, including Los Angeles. Then Guthman recounted their encounter with Marilyn at the Lawford’s beach house. According to Guthman, Marilyn decided to return home around 12:00 midnight; but she was slightly intoxicated from drinking too much champagne. The two chivalrous knights, Guthman and Robert Kennedy, would not let Marilyn drive in her condition; so according to Guthman, he and Robert drove Marilyn safely to her door (Spoto 490). Still, Guthman could not stipulate the dinner party’s actual date, only that their encounter with Marilyn occurred on October 3rd or 4th.
Robert Kennedy’s early October visit to Los Angeles, confirmed for Spoto by Edwin Guthman, was also memorialized by an FBI File, 77-51387-149, dated October the 3rd, a memorandum written by Agent Alan Belmont to Agent Courtney Evans. Belmont’s memorandum confirmed that Robert Kennedy along with his wife, Ethel, arrived in Los Angeles from Denver on October the 3rd at 5:35 PM. Ethel continued to Washington; but Robert remained in Los Angeles for the remainder of the 3rd and all day on the 4th. He then departed for San Francisco at 7:15 AM on the 5th. Certainly, as Guthman asserted, that dinner party in 1961 could have occurred on either the evening of October the 3rd or the 4th. Both Agent Belmont and Agent Evans appear prominently in a later section.2
America’s most famous actress and president met for a second time, according to Donald Spoto, in February of 1962 during another dinner party honoring John Kennedy in the New York City apartment of Fifi Fell, a wealthy socialite and widow. Escorted to the dinner party by Milt Ebbins, a partner in Peter Lawford’s production com-pany, Marilyn arrived late but caused quite a reaction when she finally appeared. When she walked in, Ebbins recalled, Christ Almighty, it was like the red sea parting. The parting sea of guests created a path for Marilyn; and as she approached John Kennedy, he said to her, according to the actress Arlene Dahl, who was also in attendance: Finally! You’re here! There are some people here who are dying to meet you. Arlene would recall years later: Then she was descended upon. People just wanted to stand near her, smell her fragrance, breathe the same air as she (Vitacco-Robles v2:395).
Once again, I must take issue with Donald Spoto’s assertion that John Kennedy met Marilyn for a second time in February of 1962 in Manhattan. I can accept the testimony of Milt Ebbins and Arlene Dahl as reliable and credible; but still, like Alan Snyder, neither Milt nor Arlene provided an exact calendar date for Fifi Fell’s dinner party; and even though Marilyn was in Manhattan during February of 1962, a review of John Kennedy’s published itineraries did not indicate a February visit to The City That Never Sleeps. However, according to President Kennedy’s 1961 December itinerary and calendar, he flew to New York City on the 5th where he attended the National Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Marilyn was also in Manhattan on December the 5th in 1961; and while she was there, she visited Carl Sandburg while the Pulitzer Prize winning poet and Lincoln biographer visited with his photographer friend, Len Steckler,3who photographed the meeting. It appears more than just likely that Marilyn’s meeting with President Kennedy at a Fifi Fell hosted dinner party occurred in early December of 1961. There are no other dates during the month of December in 1961 when both Marilyn and John Kennedy visited Manhattan and could have attended a dinner party. It is worth noting here, that on January the 19th in 1962, the president flew to New York City for a luncheon with U Thant, the Secretary–General of the United Nations. That evening he also attended a performance of the Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He returned to Washington on January the 20th. Marilyn was in Southern California on those dates.
Socialites Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy met for a second time on February the 1st in 1962, according to Spoto. This second meeting also occurred at a Lawford dinner party, confirmed once again by Edwin Guthman. Marilyn’s publicist, intimate friend and confidant, Pat Newcomb, was also present at the February party, during which Marilyn and Robert Kennedy spent what members of the press, who also attended, considered to be an inordinate amount of time conversing. Especially for this second meeting with Robert Kennedy, Marilyn prepared a list of questions to ask him. Pat Newcomb reported to Spoto that she saw the questions and knew what Marilyn and the attorney general were talking about, primarily civil rights, an issue about which the actress particularly cared. Marilyn identified with the underprivileged and the marginalized: she had experienced that special degradation (Spoto 490). This second meeting between movie star and attorney general was also confirmed by John Seigenthaler, who also attended the dinner party. Mr. Seigenthaler’s complete testimony will appear later in this section.
Robert Kennedy’s trip to the West Coast on February the 1st in 1962 began, however, in Washington. According to President Kennedy’s published itinerary and schedule, he began that February Thursday with three meetings. After those meetings, he hosted Robert Kennedy, along with four of his children, in the Oval Office at approximately 11:45 AM. Not long thereafter, the attorney general along with Ethel, his wife, Edwin Guthman, John Seigenthaler and several other persons boarded an airliner and flew to Los Angeles. That evening, they attended the Lawford’s dinner party. The following morning, the entourage boarded another airliner and flew to Berlin, Germany, where they began a Goodwill Tour that lasted twenty-six days.4
Even though she did so inadvertently, Marilyn confirmed her second meeting with the attorney general. She wrote two letters, each dated February the 2nd, one to Isadore Miller, her ex-father-in-law, and another to Bobby Miller, her ex-stepson: in those letters she mentioned her meeting with Robert Kennedy. In her letter to Isadore regarding the dinner she had attended the night before, Marilyn described Robert Kennedy as keenly intelligent and wise beyond his thirty-six years. She particularly liked his position on civil rights issues along with his wonderful sense of humor (Spoto 490). She offered similar observations in her letter to her ex-stepson.
After dinner that February evening in 1962, the Lawford’s began to phonographically spin their exciting twist records, which led to some impromptu dancing. Apparently Marilyn and Robert Kennedy created quite a scene and a ruckus when the movie star tried to teach the attorney general how to dance the twist. Additionally, sometime during the festive dinner party, Robert Kennedy telephoned his ailing father, who could not speak nor walk in the aftermath of the debilitating stroke he had experienced during the preceding December. Marilyn spoke to the ailing patriarch; and later she sent him a note which prompted his daughter, Jean Kennedy Smith, to send Marilyn a thank-you note in response, which also confirmed the February meeting in 1962. It read:
Mother asked me to write and thank you for your sweet note to Daddy. He really enjoyed it and thought you were very cute to send it. Understand that you and Bobby are the new item! We all think you should come with him when he comes back East.
Again, thanks for the note.
Love, Jean Smith
During Marilyn’s second meeting with John Kennedy, Spoto declared that the president invited her to join him for a March weekend at the home of Bing Crosby in Palm Springs, California, an invitation she accepted and an invitation which resulted in their third meeting according to Donald Spoto. In fact, there is no doubt that Marilyn and John Kennedy were together during the fourth weekend in March of 1962. While the actress and the president visited Crosby’s sprawling desert estate during that March weekend, indications are they shared a bedroom and a bed therein on Saturday the 24th.
The president’s published itinerary indicated that he first flew to the University of California on the 23rd of March where he visited the Radiation Laboratory, met with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and delivered a speech. He then flew to Vandenberg Air Force Base where he inspected the base’s ICBM launch facili-ties before he traveled to Palm Springs. Peter Lawford, who delivered Marilyn to the desert estate of the singer and actor, and into the awaiting arms of John Kennedy, offered confirming testimony; Ralph Roberts, who re-ceived a telephone call from Marilyn regarding the president’s back ailments and who actually spoke to John Kennedy about those ailments during that telephone call, also offered confirming testimony; and Marilyn herself confirmed that she and John Kennedy shared one evening together that weekend in March. Their encounter was also witnessed by more than just a few of Crosby’s additional guests. During John Kennedy’s weekend at Crosby’s desert mansion, the president was accompanied by his normal Secret Service contingent. They bivouacked in a compound nearby. On the 26th of March, both John Kennedy and his Secret Service Agents returned to Washing-ton where he remained through the end of the month.
Likewise, there is no doubt that Marilyn and John Kennedy were together briefly on May the 19th in 1962, possibly at Madison Square Garden prior to her appearance on stage but certainly at the Krim’s after party following the Democrat event; and there is no debate that Robert Kennedy, along with his wife Ethel and other members of the Kennedy clan, also attended that May celebration. During the after party hosted by Arthur and Mathilde Krim in their Manhattan residence, the president and the attorney general met Marilyn and talked briefly, one extraor-dinary moment caught on film by the White House photographer. According to Mathilde Krim, as you should have expected, Marilyn was the center of attention. Mathilde noticed and recalled that Marilyn possessed and trans-mitted an appealing softness: She was―well, just extraordinarily beautiful (Spoto 521). The Krim’s after party was the last time both John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were together.
Approximately two months after the May event in Manhattan, Marilyn and Robert Kennedy met for the fourth and final time on the 27th of June. Many years later, Eunice Murray recalled the attorney general’s brief visit on that Wednesday evening in 1962. She reported to Donald Spoto that the Lawfords arrived at Fifth Helena to collect Marilyn and Robert Kennedy was with them: Marilyn had invited them to tour her new hacienda. After that brief tour, the group proceeded to the Lawford’s beach house for dinner. Edwin Guthman also recalled that June even-ing for Spoto. It was a pleasant party, he remembered, during which he experienced the fun of talking to a sober, terrific and nice Marilyn Monroe, who was also interested in significant issues (Spoto 491). After the party, Robert Kennedy’s chauffeur returned Marilyn to Fifth Helena. As an aside, Eunice also commented to Spoto that Marilyn did not sneak around with the attorney general or have a love affair with him, an issue about which Eunice would frequently contradict herself during the years following Marilyn’s untimely and unfortunate death.
While Marilyn’s 1962 June meeting with the attorney general has been questioned by a few Marilyn historians, FBI file 77-51387-260, dated the 20th of June, written once again by Agent Courtney Evans and sent to Alan Belmont, finalized the attorney general’s June travel plans. Beginning on June the 25th, Robert Kennedy briefly visited eight cities, including Los Angeles. A teletype from Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles field office declared that the attorney general was in Los Angeles on June the 27th: Today Attorney General met with USA [United States Attorneys] Los Angeles and selected members of his staff and with heads of Federal Investigative agencies limited to FBI and IRS. The attorney general remained in Los Angeles until June the 28th when he departed for Oklahoma City on American Airline’s Flight 126, which was scheduled to leave LAX at 10:30 AM.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the interesting but none the less peculiar anecdote rendered by the actress, Kim Novak. On the 5th of January in 2004, the actress appeared opposite Larry King on CNN and provid-ed a lengthy interview, during which King invoked the name of Marilyn Monroe. Did you know her? King asked. The following conversation about Marilyn ensued:
NOVAK: I’d met her, yes. I met her at … with Bobby Kennedy and John Kennedy at a party over at Peter Lawford’s house on the … in Malibu.
KING: Did you notice anything between them?
NOVAK: Well, it was interesting because I was Bobby Kennedy’s … I was seated on his left, and she was with … I can’t think of who it was, but it was the first time she’d met him. And she kept leaning over. She had all these questions to ask. She had on, of course, a wonderful low gown. And so she got caught in the plate several times … (laughter) … and had all, a list of questions to ask him, political things and all. It was really interesting and fascinating. And I kept wondering: would you like me to move over … (more laughter)?5
How should we assess and interpret Kim’s anecdotal testimony to Larry King? No Marilyn biographer of which I am aware, not even one advancing a murder orthodoxy, has ever asserted that Marilyn, John and Robert Kennedy attended a Lawford dinner party together. The only time that Marilyn encountered the middle Kennedy brothers while they were together was during the Madison Square Garden event; and, too, the Lawford’s did not live in Malibu in 1962: they lived in Santa Monica. Malibu is slightly over eleven miles northwest of Santa Monica along the California coast.
Obviously Kim was recounting for Larry King the Lawford’s dinner party that occurred on the first day of February in 1962, the dinner party also attended by Ethel Kennedy, Edwin Guthman, John Seigenthaler and Pat Newcomb, among others, the dinner party during which the curious Marilyn posed her civil rights questions to the attorney general. However, after the passing of forty-two years, Kim’s memory appeared to display an understandable fuzziness. John Kennedy could not have attended that dinner party: he was in Washington meeting with repre-sentatives of the Foreign Policy Association, the Ambassador of Guinea and the US Ambassador to the Congo, just to mention only three of the many meetings he attended on that date. And, too, that February the 1st dinner party was not Marilyn’s first encounter with Robert Kennedy at the Lawford’s beachside mansion.
Kim’s testimony is curious for more than just the inclusion of John Kennedy: she failed to mention the presence of Ethel Kennedy during that February 1962 dinner party. It is interesting to note that Kim stopped in mid-sentence, appeared to catch and arrest herself just short of declaring that she was Robert Kennedy’s date for that evening; but if Ethel Kennedy was present how could Kim Novak have been Robert Kennedy’s date? Addi-tionally, Kim did not mention the impromptu dancing which occurred after dinner; and she did not mention Robert Kennedy’s telephone call to his ailing father. It is more than probable, I believe, that Kim Novak conflated several dinner parties that she attended at the Lawford’s Santa Monica beach house, perhaps with John and Robert; but Marilyn would not have been there. It has been rumored but unproven, of course, that Kim became romantically and sexually involved with both of the middle Kennedy brothers, especially Robert the Younger.
Based on the testimony offered by certain credible eyewitnesses, testimony offered by Marilyn herself, the FBI files heretofore referenced and the published itineraries of both John and Robert Kennedy, when compared to the known locations of Marilyn Monroe, various conclusions follow: 1) the October 1961 dinner party attended by John Kennedy as described by Donald Spoto probably did not occur and therefore Robert Kennedy was the first middle Kennedy brother to meet Marilyn that October; 2) John Kennedy’s first meeting with Marilyn occurred approximately two months later at the Fifi Fell hosted dinner party in Manhattan; and the Fifi Fell dinner party did not occur during February of 1962: it occurred on December the 5th in 1961 and perhaps that is drawing a dis-tinction without any real difference; 3) the October dinner party in 1961 and the June encounter at Fifth Helena, each of which involved Marilyn and Robert Kennedy, could have occurred as asserted by Donald Spoto and more than likely did; 4) Marilyn and the President of the United States enjoyed a sexual liaison, I assume it was enjoyable, in March of 1962; and 5) the middle Kennedy brothers inhaled Marilyn’s Chanel No. 5 on May the 19th, also during 1962. Any and all of the additional encounters between the movie star and politicians that have been alleged must be considered speculation fueled merely by rumor and innuendo. Those alleged encounters lack any verifiable evidence leading to a definitive conclusion or a conclusive proof.
While over one-thousand books of many types and descriptions have been written about the life and death of Marilyn Monroe, with new ones published regularly, the quantity of books written about the life, the presidency and the assassination of John Kennedy, according to one estimate, approaches a staggering forty-thousand, with new ones published regularly. Certainly, as you have already correctly assumed, I have not read all the books written about John Kennedy. I have read only a tiny fraction of the thousands available and a majority of the ones that I have read were ones which chronicled his tragic and brutal assassination. I have reviewed a handful of biographies in a cursory manner and found that each dedicated a few sentences, paragraphs or even chapters to John Kennedy’s tantalizing and putative romance with the Queen of Hollywood. Those biographers accepted the alleged lengthy and complex affair as fact while offering second and third hand testaments from presidential friends, associates and others, recollections tendered three or four or more decades after the fact, testaments preceded by qualifiers like I recall hearing or I recall being told or someone told me or I believe. Those testaments are nothing more than imprecise notions and memories, impressions of remembered conversations from long ago, fuzzy inscrutable collections of impressions, vague mutterings and shadows that remain from whispered innuendo and gossip. Besides, we all know persons talk and persons assume and persons often pull vague and questionable, flickering and mutable memories into a narrative, partially tinted by their own past experiences, their own personal expectations and their own predilections. It is easy to craft a romance, gently hammer the rumors and innuendos into an affair involving persons frozen in youth, frozen iconic persons from what seems to be a far away past and time, not unlike those unearthed wrought iron figures from Athens or Rome, romantic figures from Antediluvia.
Direct evidence confirming the alleged lengthy and complex affair between Marilyn and John Kennedy simply does not exist; and during the half century plus since the deaths of the alleged lovers, not one conspiracist has produced an authentic letter or correspondence of any type between Marilyn and John Kennedy. Only one photograph of the president with Marilyn exists, the photograph taken at the Krim’s after party which depicts Marilyn, John and Robert Kennedy surrounded by several other guests and celebrities who performed at the event. Usually, deceitful bloggers or columnists crop that photograph to exclude those surrounding the famous trio which gives the otherwise innocuous meeting a more clandestine and sinister flavor. Over the years, photographic images of Marilyn and the president, purporting to prove their relationship, have appeared on Al Gore’s Amazing Internet, all proven to be fraudulent, photo-shopped images or poses staged by professional and often amateur photographers hoping to earn a quick buck. Again, I repeat, evidence and proof of a lengthy love affair between Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy does not exist.
Many meetings between actress and politician have been alleged. For instance, the lovers putatively met for a sexual romp at Lake Tahoe on the 1st of February in 1960, a Monday. Guy Rocha, former Nevada Historian and Archivist, confirmed that John Kennedy visited the lake several times before his election to the presidency; but Seth Richardson, a writer for the Reno Gazette-Journal, dismissed the 1960 meeting as a popular local myth. Richardson wrote:
The rumors about Kennedy’s visits run rampant. Supposedly he visited Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana, an alleged silent partner of the [Cal-Neva] Resort with crooner Frank Sinatra, but the biggest myth surrounding Kennedy and Lake Tahoe is the rumor that he had sex [at Cal-Neva] with Marilyn Monroe.6
Seth Richardson quoted Tahoe Historian, Mark McLaughlin, in the former’s Reno Gazette article. McLaughlin also dismissed the rumor as a popular local myth perpetrated and perpetuated by the owners of Cal-Neva. Allegedly, then candidate John Kennedy crept away from the press in Reno and made a beeline to Cal-Neva for a liaison with Marilyn in a heart-shaped bed. From the article:
McLaughlin said it is possible that Kennedy stopped at the Cal-Neva to visit his close friend Sinatra on the way back to Carson City, but that’s as far as the story likely goes. […] The reason that [the rumor] still has traction is even though the Cal-Neva is going through these major renovations and it’s not really open, the operators over the years past―that was one of their things. There’s a lot of shady, fake allegations of things that happened at the casino. That just added to its own mystique, but there’s no backup or basis in facts for it.
As McLaughlin correctly noted, in February of 1960, Marilyn wasn’t anywhere in the picture; she was in Hollywood filming Let’s Make Love with her co-star, Yves Montand.7
Not unlike the situation with Marilyn’s alleged affair with John Kennedy, many lurid accounts of the steamy and sexual relationship between Marilyn and Robert Kennedy found their way onto the shelves inside bookstores and libraries, compliments and extensions of the tarradiddles written by Frank Capell, Norman Mailer, Robert Slatzer, the unprecedented fictionalizing of C. David Heymann and the dizzying tales and eddies twisted by Jeanne Carmen. Still, direct evidence confirming that Robert Kennedy possessed a loose and easy attitude toward sex and his marriage to Ethel and his flock of children, evidence confirming that he fell into bed with Marilyn, evi-dence confirming the allegedly passionate whirlwind and fatal love affair between the actress and the attorney general did not, and simply does not, exist. What does exist, and what has frequently been distorted by sensa-tionalists and conspiracists, is evidence that Marilyn and Robert Kennedy enjoyed a relationship during the last year of her life that can best be described as social, convivial and friendly. Eye witnesses have testified to their friendly, platonic relationship; and unlike Marilyn’s relationship with John Kennedy, documents exist that readily verify her friendship with the attorney general and their friendship’s timber. Therefore, it is difficult to com-prehend why the legend of Marilyn’s relationship with Robert Kennedy has been even more persistent and per-nicious than the legend of her relationship with John Kennedy.
As previously noted, Marilyn sent a kind note to Joe Kennedy, Sr. after she spoke to him in February of 1962 during the Lawford’s dinner party. In response to Marilyn’s act of kindness, Jean Kennedy Smith wrote and sent Marilyn the aforementioned thank-you note. That thank you note has always been of particular interest to conspiracists. They have even pointed to it as evidence and proof that Marilyn and Robert Kennedy were involved in an affair, the new item, whereas Marilyn and John Kennedy were no longer involved in an affair, hence, the old item. The invitation extended by Jean Smith for Marilyn to join the attorney general when he comes back East has been used by the conspiracists as evidence that Robert Kennedy’s extramarital relationship with Marilyn had been accepted by the Kennedy clan, specifically the Kennedy women. However, during the decades since the note was written by Jean Smith, its context has been completely disregarded.
Obviously, the comment about Marilyn and Bobby being the new item was meant as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Marilyn’s twist teaching efforts and the uproarious scene caused by Robert Kennedy attempting to dance with Marilyn Monroe; and who would not want Marilyn Monroe in their home for a visit? That Jean Kennedy Smith would invite Marilyn to visit Hyannisport seems only natural, while the lack of an invitation would appear suspicious. The conspiracist’s efforts to use the note as proof of not only a romantic affair but its acceptance by the Kennedy clan and the Kennedy women is especially preposterous; and the conspiracist’s effort should be viewed realistically, viewed as an effort to fabricate evidence where no evidence actually existed or actually exists. The same attempt to use the letters Marilyn wrote to Isadore and Bobby Miller as evidence of an affair also fits into the same category of shameless, nefarious and obvious evidence fabrication.
Edwin Guthman confirmed that Marilyn called the Justice Department several times over the summer of 1962 and spoke with Robert Kennedy, who was interested in Marilyn’s life and her many problems. According to Guthman, the attorney general was not a man inclined to chit chat or idle talk with anybody; and so his telephone conversations with Marilyn were invariably short and concise (Spoto 491-492). Angie Novello, Robert Kennedy’s personal secretary, stated in a 1984 interview that the attorney general always accepted Marilyn’s telephone calls, if he was not occupied; and if he was occupied, he returned her calls as soon as he could. Marilyn was, after all, Marilyn Monroe! Angie additionally remarked during the interview that Robert Kennedy was a sympathetic person, aware of Marilyn’s many problems. He was also an excellent listener. In Angie’s opinion, that is exactly what Marilyn needed the most: a sympathetic ear. Angie also appropriately declared that Judy Garland was a close friend with whom Robert Kennedy spoke frequently via the national telephone wires; but not one person has ever suggested they were involved in a love affair. A fellow might ask: Why is that so? The answer is obvious.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. also confirmed that Marilyn called the attorney general and used a nom de guerre. Schlesinger noted that Marilyn usually called Robert Kennedy when she was distressed or troubled; and Robert Kennedy’s secretary, Angie Novello, who intercepted Marilyn’s telephone calls, talked to the actress more than the attorney general (Schlesinger 591). The content of those conversations between Marilyn and the attorney general remain unknown; but they are often characterized by those with a vested interest as impassioned con-versations between lovers, as if those offering such characterizations actually know or knew, as if they, too, were involved in the dialogue flying with the speed of light from coast to coast.
Additionally, sensationalist conspiracists authors often referenced and quoted persons who have been thoroughly discredited, like the tarradiddlists I have already discussed; and along with the writings of those fabulists, the conspiracists also quoted the writings of Lena Pepitone, June DiMaggio and Ted Jordan. While Marilyn resided or visited Manhattan, Lena Pepitone was her maid. June DiMaggio was Joe DiMaggio’s cousin by marriage. Both Pepitone and DiMaggio published memoirs that were actually written by other persons, written about their association with Marilyn many years after her death. Marilyn experts discount both memoirs; and some assert that Pepitone, along with several of her relatives, eventually admitted that her memoir was primarily a fiction fabricated by its actual author, William Stadiem, who also assisted George Jacobs with his book about Frank Sinatra, a book which included many of the same lurid assertions about Marilyn contained in the dubious Pepitone memoir. Ted Jordan, who wrote a memoir about his secret life with Marilyn, the grossly lurid book that I have already discussed, occasionally appeared in the conspiracist’s literary efforts as has the testimony of Sgt Jack Clemmons, who appeared earlier but will also appear prominently in later sections. Anthony Summer’s pathography, which allegedly revealed Marilyn’s secret lives, has always been a favorite source for conspiracists; but then Summers relied heavily on Bob Slatzer and Jeanne Carmen. Summers accorded them the status of unimpeachable sources, former spouse and best girlfriend respectively, when the reality of their association with Marilyn was just the opposite; and unimpeachable sources they were not.
But the coup de grâce must be Donald Wolfe’s reference to the claims made by Nancy Maniscalco, the fantasy daughter of Marilyn and John Kennedy who appears later in this section, and the fraudulent documents offered by Laurence X. Cusak, III as proof that Marilyn and John Kennedy were involved in a tangled romance and relationship. Cusak III also appears later in this section. But then, as correctly noted by Sarah Churchwell, Wolfe generally accepted any and all of the murder orthodoxies: There isn’t a conspiracy theory that Wolfe doesn’t endorse, Sarah noted correctly; if someone said it, that seems to be proof enough (Churchwell 96). Of course, all the someones who said it only said it long and well after the untimely deaths of Marilyn and the middle Kennedy brothers.
Still and all, and despite a considerable amount of evidence that disproves their assertions, many historians, both real and quasi, and biographers, both real and quasi, have written about Marilyn Monroe and her alleged romances with the middle Kennedy brothers using a prose that can only be described as postulating an assumed certitude that relies for its proof on notions calcified, like flesh become bone, into accepted fact by repetitive assertion and the passing of decades. One might argue that these writings are, perhaps, just an attempt to fashion some sense from chaotic and unfortunate events that we will never completely comprehend and never completely understand. However, the constant attempt to prove the suppositional and the hypothetical, this constant search for artifacts―the secret tapes or the 8mm movies or the written documents―that undoubtedly do not exist, has actually done more harm than good, has created a vast world of hyperbole and a vast world of fantastic supposition, many dubious, mostly circular and frequently contradictory pathographies masquerading as biographies.
Of course, almost anything can and virtually every manner of accusation has been written about Marilyn Monroe and her relationships with the middle Kennedy brothers, her mobster murderers and an impressive passel of paramours which features movie stars, male and female, political figures, dignitaries, foreign spies and leaders. It is possible, of course, to write anything about a deceased person, particularly one that has been deceased for over fifty years, one whose inner circle of friends and confidants have also established their residency in eternity. Thus, who exists to refute the sensational, the turgid and the lurid allegations? No one. But despite the seductive and titillating nature of Marilyn’s sensationalized life and what is essentially a voyeuristic glimpse into the sexual affairs of the most famous female celebrity of all time, none of it has any evidentiary value what-soever. About Marilyn’s many lives and her alleged affairs, Sarah Churchwell correctly observed, belief in them precedes any evidence of them; and conspiracist writers respond to dubious allegations, assertions and testimony about the alleged Kennedy affairs like Othello who transforms a handkerchief into what he will call proof of an adultery in which he already believes. Similarly, Sarah noted, biographical literature can construct a gossamer foundation, the insubstantial nature of which stands as manifest evidence of the author’s foregone conclusions and circular strategies for dealing with evidence, which will become apparent (Churchwell 102).