Cassette 71A: Al Rosen
Evidently, Al Rosen was a big-shot Hollywood agent who founded the eponymous Al Rosen Agency. Rosen also advised Summers that he knew Marilyn very well―that is, in the beginning, you know, when she was a kid. Marilyn signed her initial Fox contract on the 26th of August in 1946 at the tender age of twenty years. At that time, she was still legally a minor in California, but hardly a kid. She had been a wife for four years, recently divorced. Besides, Al Rosen never represented Marilyn, a fact that did not, of course, preclude a possible acquaintanceship. Still, Summers did not tell his audience that Rosen was not Marilyn’s agent.
Rosen confirmed for Summers that Marilyn and the powerful movie mogul, Joseph Schneck, were lovers. After all, Rosen assured Summers, Schneck was a human being; and Schneck wasn’t the only one: he was just one of Marilyn’s many human being lovers. Of course, Summers did not report that both Marilyn and Joe Schneck denied that they were lovers. Each maintained steadfastly that their relationship was strictly platonic, strictly a friendship. Marilyn denounced all the rumors circulating through Hollywood that she was Mr. Schenck’s paramour. She was not. She called the rumors scurrilous lies. According to Marilyn, the aging producer never solicited her for sex; and according to Albert Broccoli, who later produced nine 007 movies, Schneck had special feelings for Marilyn. She was, after all, a sweet and giving creature. Broccoli also asserted that Marilyn’s wonderful laughter invigorated Schneck: his face brightened when he saw her. All Joe Schneck wanted from Marilyn, according to Broccoli, was her friendship; but according to Rosen, Marilyn’s name was one of many in the little black books of Hollywood moguls, the names of ambitious starlets who could be laid. The reason Summers and Netflix positioned Rosen’s interview at the start of their flick is painfully clear: it’s all about the voyeurism: it’s all about the sex. Still, just how well Al Rosen actually knew Marilyn and when he actually knew her is certainly open to debate. Not one of the many Marilyn biographies that I consulted even mentioned Al Rosen.
Cassette 50A: Gloria Romanoff
Married to restaurateur Michael Romanoff, Gloria informed Summers that she and her husband knew Marilyn in the beginning, her husband initially during the early forties, a problematic declaration captured by Summers cassette recorder. Here’s why. In the early 1940s, Marilyn Monroe did not exist. On June the 1st in 1940, Norma Jeane became a fourteen year old junior high school student living with Ana Lower on Nebraska Avenue in Sawtelle. The following year, she became a fifteen-year-old adolescent. At that time, Norma Jeane was four years away from Hollywood.
According to my research, Michael Romanoff was born in Lithuania in 1890 as Hershel Geguzin, but he adopted the name, Harry F. Gerguson. After Gerguson immigrated to NYC, he assumed the flamboyant but fraudulent nom de guerre of Prince Michael Alexandrovitch Dmitry Obolensky Romanoff. During his residency in The Big Apple, according to the New York Times, who labeled Romanoff a peddler and charmer, he wrote a fortune in bad checks, occasionally found himself incarcerated and in Dutch with the INS; but after relocating to Hollywood, faux Prince Michael became the favorite companion of various movie stars, primarily because of the faux prince’s many vivid and colorful stories, most of which were untrue. Certainly his famous friends knew that Michael Romanoff was a fraud. In 1941, the peddling charmer fraud opened his eponymous restaurant, seven years before he wed Gloria Lister. We can logically assume, I think, that the faux prince told his new wife Gloria that he knew Marilyn in the early 1940s, and the new wife simply believed her new husband.
Gloria informed Summers that Marilyn was a generous girl, warm girl, really rather lovable and one who availed herself of the club and restaurant scene in Hollywood; and Romanoff’s was the place where all the pretty girls hung out. However, according to Marilyn’s unfinished memoir, after she signed her contract with Fox, she spent all of her time and money attending acting classes and several undergraduate classes at UCLA. She hoped to improve her mind; she had precious little time for nightclubs and parties and no money available for restaurants, especially expensive ones like Romanoff’s. The most important endeavor in her life at that time was learning the craft of acting.
When this Summers’ account of Marilyn’s life arrived at the middle Kennedy brothers, the author asked Gloria if she could recall just how early she started hearing […] about Marilyn and the Kennedys? Gloria did not exactly answer Summers’ question. John Kennedy spent time in California, she said, on and off all through the 50s ‘cause he had lots of friends here, you know, spending lots of time, you know. Gloria never said that she actually heard anything at all about John Kennedy and Marilyn. Gloria only confirmed that then US Representative Kennedy spent a considerable amount of time in California with his many friends. John Kennedy’s frequent visits to California during the fifties proved exactly nothing about him or his younger brother, especially relative to Marilyn, their putative relationships with her or their putative involvement in her death.
Gloria briefly mentioned the Lawfords 1962 dinner party, which Marilyn and Robert Kennedy attended on the 1st of February along with many other guests, including Robert Kennedy’s wife, Ethel, Pat Newcomb, Edwin Guthman and John Seigenthaler. Tony Curtis and his wife, Janet Leigh, also attended, along with members of the media. As Gloria noted, during the dinner party, Robert Kennedy telephoned his father, who had recently suffered a serious stroke; and Marilyn spoke to the aging patriarch. During the course of that same evening, Gloria reported, Marilyn actually danced with the attorney general. All the nerve of Marilyn! John Seigenthaler, Robert Kennedy’s administrative assistant and admittedly his friend for most of his political life, noted in a newspaper article: Yes, Robert Kennedy danced with Marilyn Monroe. So what? I danced with Janet Leigh. Ethel Kennedy danced with Tony Curtis and Bobby danced with Ethel. It was dinner, dancing, conversation―and that was it; and according to Seigenthaler, Robert Kennedy’s social encounters with Marilyn were just that, simply that and nothing more. Be-sides, Marilyn’s friendly conversation with the ailing Joe Kennedy, Sr., who could barely speak, and her dance with Bobby, proved absolutely nothing, except this: any activity, regardless of its innocence, can be transformed into innuendo and used to suggest a villainous intent, particularly by persons who constantly search for villainy.
Cassette 84: John Huston
In late 1949, John Huston directed Marilyn in The Asphalt Jungle; and the gritty noir officially launched her cinematic career. Eleven years later, during the summer of 1960, he directed The Misfits, Marilyn’s last completed film. During his interview with Summers, the auteur did not provide any new information pertaining to Marilyn’s career, her life or her death.
Marilyn and Johnny Hyde were involved in a sexual relationship, Huston confirmed, a well-known fact. Huston confirmed another well-known fact: Johnny was in love with Marilyn. Of course, Summers reduced the relation-ship to its most ignoble form by asserting that Johnny Hyde was Marilyn’s sugar daddy, a label with an ugly and a pejorative connotation suggesting that a heartless gold digging woman has become involved in a sexual relationship with an older man only for the financial benefits. Certainly, Marilyn received some benefits during the year she was with Johnny Hyde; but the main benefit was Johnny’s ability to advance her career, something he wanted to accomplish, to make Marilyn a star.
Johnny left his family hoping Marilyn would marry him; and he enticed her with his considerable wealth. Suffering from heart disease, Johnny knew that his days on Earth would soon end; and he enticed Marilyn with the promise of a large inheritance. Even though Marilyn often stated that she loved Johnny, she also admitted honestly that she was not in love with him. She also felt sorry for Johnny, and she did not consider her sexual submission to be a transgression, to be anything wrong: the sex meant so much to him, she confessed, but not much to me. Guided by her moral compass, she could not marry a man with whom she was not in love; and she also realized that she could not give Johnny the love that he desperately wanted. Joseph Schneck advised Marilyn to marry Johnny for the financial security the wealthy agent could provide, but she ignored Schneck’s advice and refused Johnny’s entreaties and proposals. As the biographer Donald Spoto recognized, hardly the behavior of a heartless gold digging predator. It seems wrong and unfair to tag Marilyn with such an ugly label, but doing so fits perfectly into a salacious and voyeuristic intent.
Eventually, Summers asked Huston about Marilyn’s decline during The Misfits’ filming. Very soon we were aware that she was a problem, Huston asserted. She’d be late on the set always. Sometimes the whole morning would go by. Sometimes she’d be alright. Of course, Huston’s comments were but a small part of the actual picture that Summers left unexplored and incomplete. Marilyn endured some hellish conditions while she filmed The Misfits, the oppressive mid-summer heat of the Nevada desert, Arthur Miller’s constant script changes and Huston’s deplorable shenanigans.
Their marriage essentially over, Miller used Rosalyn as an outlet for his bitterness, as a weapon to bludgeon Marilyn and her cinematic career. As his negative feelings for Marilyn became more negative and his bitterness increased, so did his frequent script alterations, often requiring Marilyn to spend many of her nights memorizing new lines of dialogue. Is it not possible that Marilyn’s tardiness could have been caused, on occasion at least, by Miller’s last-minute script re-writes? Miller’s alterations became so frequent that Clark Gable eventually refused to accept any more of them. And, too, often her director would occupy the director’s chair when he was drunk. Even if relatively sober, he was frequently hung over, resulting in either directorial napping, disinterest or a display of what his daughter, Angelika, admitted was her father’s mean streak. He would often mistreat his cast. Huston often asked for dozens of retakes, despite the oppressive desert heat and even after Marilyn and other members of the cast were satisfied; but arguably the worst slander attached to Marilyn and The Misfits is the egregious prevarication that her pill addiction and pill abuse alone caused all the production’s problems and a complete shutdown: she had to be hospitalized for detoxification.
Even before Marilyn arrived in Reno, Huston was already using a credit line established with the Mapes Hotel Casino. In his memoir, Huston soft-pedaled his gambling addiction. He gambled practically every night, he admitted. Huston also admitted that he liked to gamble, to lose and then recover his losses the following night; but evidently, Huston lost considerably more than he ever won, frequently gambling all night, frequently traveling to shooting locations straight from the casino. Huston amassed a gambling debt of $50K, more than $400K in today’s currency, far in excess of what the casino agreed to allow in terms of credit, not only for Huston, but the entire company. In late August, the Mapes Hotel and Harrah’s called the debt. Not long thereafter, the vice-president of United Artists informed Huston that the production’s bank account was empty and ordered the production stopped immediately.
Recognizing an opportunity to solve his financial problems, Huston telephoned Marilyn’s doctors, alerted them to her pill problem, what Huston termed her precarious behavior and asked them to intervene. On Sunday, August the 28th, her doctors notified Marilyn that production on The Misfits had been discontinued for a week and suggested that she would benefit from a week’s rest, not at her hotel, however, but at a restful private hospital. She agreed and that evening, her doctors admitted Marilyn to the Westside Hospital in Los Angeles. Apparently, Arthur Miller and the movie crew in Nevada were unaware of the unfolding machinations until Frank Taylor, the movie’s producer, convened a meeting Monday morning for the entire production company; during the meeting, Taylor announced that Marilyn was in the hospital after suffering a breakdown. Even Arthur Miller, according to Evelyn Moriarty, Marilyn’s stand-in, was angered by the subterfuge. Arthur knew, as they all did, what had transpired. Of course she had troubles, Evelyn admitted. We knew that, too; but Marilyn was being blamed for every-thing. Huston had exaggerated Marilyn’s condition to cover for his excessive drinking, profligate gambling and general wastefulness. It was so easy for her to be made the scapegoat, Evelyn added. During the production re-spite, Huston was able to negotiate for more money.
Huston’s assertion that he chastised Arthur Miller for allowing Marilyn’s drug abuse appears to be primarily self-serving if not a fabrication. As an inveterate philanderer, he often twisted the truth to cover his behavior. How could Arthur Miller prevent Marilyn’s drug abuse, considering that her doctors prescribed the pills for her. Besides, it is painfully clear that John Huston did not really care about saving Marilyn Monroe. What he cared about was saving himself. Now, had Anthony Summers revealed John Huston’s contribution to The Misfits’ production problems, then he would have actually revealed some relatively new information.
Cassette 96: Jane Russell
In 1953, Jane Russell co-starred alongside Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane told Summers that Marilyn was very bright, and she wanted to learn. Marilyn also worked constantly, Jane reported. Even after long days on set filming, Marilyn would work tirelessly with her dramatic coach: Marilyn wanted to be as good as she could possibly be.
Jane noted that the co-stars considered themselves to be friends while they filmed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; but when filming ended, Marilyn departed to create a new group of temporal relationships. Marilyn kind of went from one group to another, Jane informed Summers and then added: She didn’t go back and seek out any of the people that had become close to her. Even though Jane would not associate with Marilyn during the nine years preceding Marilyn’s tragic death, her brunette co-star has invariably received the identifier as Marilyn’s good friend, certainly an amplification of Jane Russell’s relationship with Marilyn if not an aggrandizement. I’m not sure why Summers included Jane’s testimony. The brunette did not reveal anything new. If anything, she confirmed that Marilyn did not maintain prolonged friendships.
Cassette 92A: Danny Greenson
Dr. Ralph Greenson was Marilyn’s west coast psychiatrist, and Danny was the good doctor’s only son. While Dr. Greenson treated and enjoyed associations with many of Hollywood’s biggest stars and moguls, by his own admission, Danny was not fond of Hollywood and the people associated with cinema. Danny considered them all to be phonies and narcissistic characters; and he admitted to Summers that he hated them.
Born in August of 1937, Danny was twenty-three years old when, in early January of 1960, his father began his frequent sessions with Marilyn. So when I heard that Dad was seeing Marilyn, Danny admitted to Summers, I was not jumping up and down and cheering. Due to Marilyn’s inordinate fame, Dr. Greenson had to see her at the Greenson home; and Danny considered that arrangement to be a bunch of bullshit. However, after he began to talk to Marilyn, and he began to know her, his opinion of her changed. A friendship developed.
Danny confirmed for Summers that Marilyn was frequently depressed, a woman with practically no self-esteem, a woman who constantly referred to herself as a lonely waif that nobody liked and about whom nobody cared. We all need to get out of childhood in one piece, Danny observed, but if nowhere along the line do you get that sort of reinforcement that you are worth love, you’re lovable, that there’s something in you, that we’re a good person, what you end up with is a sort of emptiness. Marilyn felt her emptiness as a severe loneliness; and evidently her loneliness and her depressive thoughts were so deeply ingrained that they could not be dislodged from Marilyn’s mind, not even by Dr. Greenson or his family. Still, Marilyn was happy on occasion. A photograph of Marilyn with Arthur Miller’s father, Isadore, prompted her to confide in Danny: this is my happiest period. I was pregnant then.
Eventually, Danny recounted how Marilyn had been invited to a Lawford’s dinner party that would also be attended by Robert Kennedy and other luminaries. Danny recalled Marilyn commenting that she wanted to have some-thing to talk to him about, meaning the attorney general. Danny must have been referring to Marilyn and Robert Kennedy’s second meeting, which occurred on February the 1st in 1962. Danny helped Marilyn develop some questions that she jotted down on a piece of paper and put in her purse. At that dinner party, she posed those questions to the attorney general while seated beside him at the dinner table. Everyone present heard the questions and the conversation that ensued, including the actress Kim Novak. She discussed the event briefly during an interview with Larry King eighteen years ago. She had all these questions to ask, Kim recalled. She had on, of course, a wonderful low gown. And so she got caught in the plate several times, a comment that elicited laughter from the television crew. Kim continued and informed Larry King that Marilyn had a list of questions to ask the attorney general, political things and all. It was really interesting and fascinating. Certain members of the press also attended the dinner party and reported that the actress and the politician spent what they, the re-porters, considered to be an inordinate amount of time conversing; and thus, a few imaginative authors have speculated that Marilyn and Bobby discussed more titillating topics that night. In his memoir, Norman Rosten, Marilyn’s New York poet friend, remarked: Romantic overtones were undoubtedly read into the prolonged tête-á-tête by the movie colony, whose greatest indoor game is to create imaginary infidelities […], carnality in the eye of the beholder, civil rights in the hushed voices of Bobby and Marilyn. Also, Pat Newcomb, a friend of both Marilyn and Robert Kennedy, testified unequivocally that the conversation between the movie star and the attorney general focused on his civil rights ideology and agenda.
Danny acknowledged that his father’s method of treating Marilyn was unorthodox; but his father realized, Danny explained, because of who Marilyn was, because of her unrestrained fame, she could never be hospitalized, which led to her hanging with the family. In fact, Dr. Milton Wexler, another therapist who shared Dr. Greenson’s office, suggested that Dr. Greenson and his wife, Hildi, should allow Marilyn access to their home as a method of re-parenting her. Dr. Wexler believed that having a place to return to would alleviate her separation anxiety, a treatment modality considered controversial then and now.
The testimony that Summers elicited from Danny Greenson repeated information that has been known for decades. Marilyn’s psychological difficulties have been discussed and written about frequently; her personality and her behavior have been analyzed by psychologist and psychiatrist alike, leading to diagnoses that Marilyn possibly struggled with a bipolar disorder along with a borderline personality. Her mood swings and her feelings could be extreme. Her thoughts generally focused on her profound unhappiness.
Cassette 56: Joan and Hildi Greenson
Born in 1941, Joan Greenson, now Aebi, was twenty years old when her father began treating Marilyn Monroe. Joan was forty-two years old when Anthony Summers interviewed her for the first time in 1983. According to his source notes, he re-interviewed Joan in 1986, virtually four decades ago. Joan is now an octogenarian.
Joan’s mother lived to the advanced age of ninety-nine. She died in 2013. According to her obituary Hildi Green-son was a remarkable woman. She and her husband, Dr. Ralph Greenson, transformed their home into a haven for exchanging ideas and a refuge for all from the world’s cold winds. An insightful, inquisitive and generous woman, Hildi had a passion for justice and beauty which found expression in her paintings. Evidently, Hildi was also an artist.
In May of this year, I contacted Joan via email. I hoped she would agree to open a dialogue with me, during which we could discuss Marilyn along with the Greenson family’s association with Anthony Summers. The Greenson family, I had been warned by Donna Morel, felt that they had been misled by Anthony Summers about the type of book he planned to write. I have read transcripts of taped interviews with Joan and Danny, her brother, during which both said as much.
Each complained, but especially Danny, that Summers did not exactly write Marilyn’s biography. Summers wrote a pathography, condensed the first thirty years of Marilyn’s life into a single chapter, and then he concentrated primarily on the final two years of her life and her association with the middle Kennedy brothers. Summers had led them to believe that he was only marginally interested in Marilyn’s involvement with John and Robert Kennedy.
While Donna spoke to Joan several years ago, Gary Vitacco-Robles informed me that he never received any response to his requests for an interview. According to Gary, Joan gave Donald Spoto full access to her father’s archives regarding Marilyn, and then the biographer accused Dr. Greenson of prescribing a fatal enema that killed his most famous client. Gary also expressed the belief that Joan, understandably, no longer trusted biographers.
After I emailed Joan, a couple of days passed before I received a succinct response: she appreciated my interest, she wrote, but she could not provide any answers to my inquiry. In a second email, I asked Joan if she was under the constraint of a non-disclosure agreement, and if so, who or what entity held the agreement. To date, I have not received a response. Evidently, I should have been more clear about myself: I am not a biographer.
The testimony that Summers elicited from Joan Greenson and her mother was exactly like the testimony that he elicited from other interviewees: neither Joan nor Hildi revealed anything new or secret. They did not reveal anything remotely Earth shattering. Even Joan Greenson’s comment about Marilyn calling the new man in her life the General was nothing new, despite Summers’ exposition about that moniker. Thirty-seven years ago, in the 1985 version of Goddess, Summers noted: “She [Marilyn] told me,” said Joan Greenson,” that she was seeing somebody, but she didn’t want to burden me with the responsibility of knowing who it was, because he was well known. So she said she was going to call him ‘the General’.” In later editions of Goddess, Summers repeated Joan’s testimony. In fact, conspiracists authors have often repeated that quotation and pointed to Marilyn’s use of the esoteric moniker as proof that she and the attorney general were involved in a romantic affair.
But Marilyn denied that she and the attorney general were romantically involved. Marilyn asked both Rupert Allan and Ralph Roberts if they had heard the rumors regarding a romance between her and Robert Kennedy. When each man responded affirmatively, she responded emphatically that the rumors were false. Marilyn posed the same question to Susan Strasberg, according to the latter’s memoir: She asked me if I’d heard the rumors about Bobby and her. She said: “It isn’t true.” Marilyn confided in both Allan and Roberts, along with Susan Strasberg, to whom she described Robert Kennedy as so puny, that she did not find Bobby physically appealing. She liked him, just not physically. The attorney general was not Marilyn’s preferred physical type. Marilyn preferred older men, tall, thin men who wore glasses. Even Peter Lawford testified to the LAPD that what had been written by various authors about Marilyn and the middle Kennedy brothers was pure fantasy; and Lawford reported to Randy Taraborrelli: All of this business about Marilyn and JFK and Bobby is pure crap. I think maybe—and I’m saying maybe—she had one or two dates with JFK. Not a single date with Bobby, though […]. Norman Rosten, reported in his memoir that Marilyn spoke about dancing with the attorney general during a Lawford dinner party: she described him as sort of boyish and likeable. At any rate, I have a notion that a sardonically playful Marilyn was toying with Joan Greenson, and her mother, because Marilyn knew the two women would, as Hildi even admitted on tape, find the prospect of such a romance titillating. Besides, arguably, Marilyn could have simply been engaging in what amounted to girlish oneupmanship.
Cassette 52A: Peggy Feury
Margaret Feury, known as Peggy, was primarily a stage actor and a highly regarded acting teacher who also appeared in several films. She was a charter member of the Actors Studio; and when Lee Strasberg was unavailable, she managed the studio’s acting sessions. In 1978, she and her family moved to Los Angeles where she taught at the Actors and Directors Lab before helping Lee Strasberg establish his Theatre Institute on the west coast. Eventually, she and her husband, William Traylor, founded the Loft Studio where she taught acting classes whose participants included James Cromwell, Lou Gossett, Jr., Sean Penn and Johnny Depp.
According to Peggy’s taped testimony, she saw Marilyn frequently at several Strasberg parties and we’d talk a lot. Marilyn had very strong goals for herself, and she was very bright about acting. During their conversations at the Actors Studio, Marilyn would discuss how she intended to approach her performance. In Peggy’s estimation, Marilyn really cared; but Peggy also informed Summers that they conversed about Marilyn’s childhood memories of being molested. Marilyn felt that she had avoided … that she knew people who were psychotic from such episodes and she felt that at least she’d survived that. Summers was nonplussed: She was talking about that as late as that? he asked, an expression of a certain dismay prompted by his incredulity. Besides, Summers was primarily interested in Marilyn’s decline, a topic about which he often asked his interviewees; and he asked if Peggy saw Marilyn in the time of her deterioration […]? Apparently, Peggy did not respond.
Peggy Feury appeared in Summers’ print versions of Goddess; but the author did not include the testimony offered by Peggy that the actor included in his Netflix movie. Clearly, Summers doubted the veracity of Norma Jeane’s childhood molestation story, an event that Marilyn reported in her incomplete memoir. Summers wrote: She claimed early on that she had been sexually molested as a child, and it was a theme she harped on obsessively throughout her life. Was it a real event? Summers fundamentally dismissed Norma Jeane’s molestation story as a yarn with merely a core of the truth, […] not the only episode of fantasy [and] self-serving exaggeration. As Sarah Churchwell noted in her 2004 publication, Summers considered Marilyn’s memoir nothing but a pack of self-serving lies reported by a pathological liar and a “fantasist.” Summers decided that he would still rely on Marilyn’s unfinished memoir for information pertaining to Norma Jeane’s childhood, even though he had already dismissed the memoir as primarily an unreliable work of fiction. So, did Peggy Feury change Summers’ opinion? Had he grown to finally believe that Norma had, in fact, endured a childhood molestation? Summers left that question unanswered.
Cassette 98: Henry Rosenfeld
Known as the Henry Ford of dress makers, Henry Rosenfeld manufactured low cost dresses whose designs were chic enough to satisfy the uber wealthy, posh women of Manhattan. He made it socially acceptable for them to buy clothes off the rack; and as a result, he became wealthy himself. Yet another man who claimed to be Marilyn’s friend and intimate confidant for her entire adult life, he confirmed for Summers that Marilyn was, in fact, pregnant while she filmed Some Like It Hot, certainly not a globe rattling revelation; and Rosenfeld’s comment that Marilyn’s Happy Birthday performance for President Kennedy was one of the most exciting things in her life made him a master of the obvious. Certainly any sentient person asked to perform at a president’s birthday gala would be excited; and by all accounts, Marilyn was not only excited, she was also unnerved, worried about her performance; but perhaps more importantly, Marilyn would later remark that she was honored by the invitation to perform at President Kennedy’s birthday gala. Again, who wouldn’t be?
Rosenfeld, on the other hand, used Marilyn’s understandable feelings about appearing at John Kennedy’s birthday celebration as an example of a flaw, a crack in her character. Just being the one to sing. She was picked. The one. But then, Marilyn was not the only person picked to perform that evening; many other stars also performed. In all, nineteen celebrities performed for the President of the United States. Are we to assume that all the other performers were nonchalant or apathetic about their performance for President Kennedy?
But―Rosenfeld’s testimony regarding what Marilyn wanted most in the world was categorically outrageous; and to contend that she would openly reveal such a grotesque fantasy at a party borders on buffoonery. Evidently, Summers did not pursue that buffoonery or even ask any probing questions. For instance: where did this party transpire? Who threw it? Who else attended? Did Summers even attempt to locate a person who could corroborate Henry Rosenfeld’s ludicrous assertion? Apparently not: the print version of Goddess did not include a corroborating statement from anyone. We are left to conclude that the investigative journalist merely accepted what Rosenfeld said simply because the dress manufacturer said that he was Marilyn’s friend and confidant. In the end, though, why would Summers repeat Marilyn’s alleged sex-with-her-father-fantasy without any real evidence that she had actually admitted to that fantasy, admitted to it publicly?―perhaps to confirm Marilyn’s fundamental immorality along with her evident mental illness? But then, why would Rosenfeld make such a sad and grotesque accusation?
According to Scott Fortner, a recognized Marilyn expert, she rejected Rosenfeld’s proposal of marriage: As it turns out, Fortner revealed, [Rosenfeld] proposed to Marilyn and was clearly in love with her based on letters he sent. Could this incredibly ridiculous statement about Marilyn wanting to sleep with her father be in retaliation for her unreturned affection? Seems plausible, at least to me. With Rosenfeld’s sad but silly testimony in place, and Summers’ overriding point made, he proceeded to the next life-long confidant and intimate friend of the world’s most famous woman.
Cassette 97B: Arthur James
Just like many other men have declared, and even a few women, Arthur James also declared that he was Marilyn’s intimate confidant and friend for most of her adult life. In James’ case, he testified to Summers that they met many years before her 1954 wedding to Joe DiMaggio. I usually start with the quantity of ten to represent many. Certainly, Arthur James did not know Marilyn Monroe in 1944: she was persona nonexistent at that time.
Referring to the print version of Goddess, evidently James met Marilyn through Charlie Chaplin Jr., who began an alleged affair with the starlet in 1948; however, on the 9th of March in 1948, Marilyn signed her six-month contract with Columbia Pictures. Almost immediately she fell in love with and became intimately involved with the studio’s musical director, and Marilyn’s vocal coach, Fred Karger. Marilyn even lived briefly with Fred’s mother, Anne, and his sister, Mary. Her relationship with Karger lasted until the end of 1948 and led directly to her monogamous relationship with Johnny Hyde, which ended with Hyde’s death in mid-December of 1950.
In the print version of Goddess, Summers quoted Arthur James frequently, and most of his testimony focused on Marilyn’s putative sexual relationships with Edward G. Robinson, Jr. and Charlie Chaplin, Jr., along with her sexual relationships with the middle Kennedy brothers; but since the Netflix testimony presented by Summers did not mention either junior, neither Edward G nor Chaplin, I will not excavate into that mound of problems. Still, each man left behind a memoir. Edward G. Robinson Jr. published his memoir in 1958; and Charlie Chaplin Jr. publish-ed his in 1960. The junior Robinson mentioned only that he landed a tiny part in Marilyn’s movie, Bus Stop, primarily because his father knew Joshua Logan, the movie’s director. Charlie junior mentioned that he briefly dated Norma Jean Dougherty, who, he reported, started going to the top [of the movie world] fast, and it was the duty of her studio publicity department to keep her name in the papers by dating her here and there with other eligible young men. So she and I drifted apart and I haven’t seen her for years. Neither of the juniors, in their memoirs, mentioned Arthur James. In her memoir, Marilyn mentioned her romances with Fred Karger, Johnny Hyde and Joe DiMaggio; but she did not acknowledge either junior, neither Chaplin nor Robinson, neither friendship nor romance, and she did not acknowledge Arthur James. His name did not appear in My Story.
I have several issues with James’ testimony. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll discuss only one at this time, the assertion that Marilyn spent a weekend with her alleged good friend and confidant in Laguna beach. We met in Laguna a month before she died, James informed Summers. She came down for the weekend and she told us the … what had really taken place with the Kennedys. There are only two weekends during which this purported visit to Laguna Beach could have occurred within a month of her death: 1) the last Saturday in June and the first Sunday in July, June the 30th and July the 1st, respectively; or 2) the first weekend in July, July the 7th and 8th.
I can only surmise that Marilyn did not inform James of any other life altering events that she had recently endured, at least not on the tape Netflix and Summers shared, just her alleged shattering break-up with the middle Kennedy boys. However, significant events that transpired during the month of June, prior to Marilyn’s reported trip to Laguna, suggests that several of those events just might have been weighing on her mind.
On Friday, June the 1st, Marilyn and the film crew celebrated the star’s thirty-sixth birthday on the set of Some-thing’s Got to Give. Her co-stars Dean Martin and Wally Cox attended along with photographer George Barris. Eunice Murray and Evelyn Moriarty, Marilyn’s stand-in. On Thursday, June 7, Fox sued Marilyn Monroe Productions and Marilyn Monroe for breach of contract. The suit asked for $500K in damages, effectively ended Marilyn’s employment and jeopardized her career, which caused her, quite understandably, to vacillate between utter depression and undiluted anger. Later, she would express her disbelief that Fox had actually fired her, the studio for which she had made twenty movies and earned hundreds of millions of dollars.
On the same day Fox filed their lawsuit, Dr. Greenson took Marilyn for an examination by Dr. Michael Gurdin, the eminent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon: Marilyn’s eyes were black and blue and swollen. According to Dr. Greenson, Marilyn sustained the injuries when she slipped and fell while taking a shower. Even though Marilyn’s nose was not broken, she retreated to her Fifth Helena Drive hacienda where she sequestered herself for sixteen days: she could not be seen in public with a bruised, discolored face. Then, on Monday, June the 11th, Fox officially suspended production on Something’s Got to Give and filed an amended lawsuit that raised the amount of requested redress to $750K.
Due to Marilyn’s bruised face, she declined several invitations to attend social events, including an invitation from Ethel and Robert Kennedy to attend a party honoring Pat and Peter Lawford at Hickory Hill, the Kennedy’s Virginia home. Marilyn dispatched her regrets in the now famous telegram to the Kennedys regarding her fight for minor-ty rights and her right, as an Earthbound star, to twinkle.
Fox planned to replace Marilyn and continue filming Something’s Got to Give with the actress Lee Remick; but the executives at the studio did not foresee Dean Martin’s reaction: he had co-star approval: he refused to accept Lee Remick and summarized his position succinctly: no Marilyn, no movie. Marilyn was completely gratified by Martin’s loyalty. In utter disarray by this time, on June the 19th, Fox sued Dean Martin and Claude Productions, Martin’s production company, for $3M, prompting Martin to counter sue for $6.8M.
By June the 23rd, Marilyn’s facial injuries had healed: the bruises were gone. Beginning on the 23rd, Marilyn posed for Bert Stern, whose intermittent sessions for Vogue magazine ended on July the 12th. Marilyn also posed for George Barris at Santa Monica Beach during Friday the 29th, Saturday the 30th and Sunday the 1st day of July. According to Barris and his memoir, each session took the entirety of each day. Barris mentioned the Sunday session particularly, noting that he and Marilyn worked until the sunlight began to fade to silver. Finally, on the 4th and 5th, 7th and 9th of July, she gave Richard Meryman what would be her last interview for Life magazine.
Clearly, a considerable number of life changing events had prevailed upon Marilyn during the month of June in 1962. I, for one, find it difficult to believe that the middle Kennedy brothers would have been the only topic occupying her thoughts. As a person, my work is important to me, she once commented during an interview. My work is the only ground I’ve ever had to stand on. Considering that her profession was in serious peril at that time, surely she would have mentioned that fact to her dear friend, Arthur James; and too, clearly there are calendar date conflicts: she could not have been in Laguna Beach if she was with George Barris at Santa Monica Beach or with Richard Meryman at Fifth Helena Drive giving an interview.
Arthur James also testified that Marilyn was hurt, terribly hurt when she was told directly never to call or contact the Kennedy boys again, an order that arrived from both the president and the attorney general: That’s it. No more. That’s—that’s the end of it. Then James informed Summers: And that’s what killed her. Curious. If Robert Kennedy abruptly dispatched Marilyn and ordered her not to contact him ever again, why did he and his wife invite Marilyn to attend a party at their Virginia mansion. Under the circumstances described by Arthur James, for Robert Kennedy to have extended that invitation was certainly nonsensical, not to even mention connubially dangerous.
Donna Morel, arguably one of the best, if not the best researcher on Planet Earth, used Facebook to locate one of James’ relatives, who then arranged for Donna to interview James. Frequently lifted aloft by flights of fantasy, according to his relative, Arthur could lapse into episodes of yarn weaving. Even so, Donna talked with James on May the 1st of this year. They discussed Goddess primarily, and James disputed several assertions that Summers attributed to him; but I will let those sleeping hounds continue to sleep―at least for the time being.
Of importance to note is this: Donna asked Arthur James if he had any letters, photos or any type of evidence to substantiate his relationship with Monroe. James admitted, just like Jeanne Carmen, Robert Slatzer and Ted Jordan, that he likewise had no evidence, no proof that he even knew the world’s most famous movie star, much less that he was one of her most trusted confidants. But of even more importance is this: James denied asserting that Marilyn visited him at Laguna Beach in 1962, a month before she died. He reported to Donna that Marilyn’s weekend visit occurred at least a year earlier than that. Then he seemed to indicate this happened in the early 1950s and she would stay at an apartment building he owned. So, James denied saying what he had clearly said on tape, at least the tape that Summers unveiled for his Netflix movie. Such a conundrum: what to believe: what James said or what James said and then denied he said. When evaluating the testimony of any person, their credibility is the key. The question is, all things considered, particularly the information I have presented herein, does Arthur James have any real credibility? And, frankly, what about Anthony Summers?
Cassette 81A: Milton Greene
In September of 1949, Marilyn attended a party at the residence of Rupert Allan and Frank McCarthy. While there, she met a rising star in the world of photography, Milton Greene. She spent most of the evening talking with and listening to the young and handsome New Yorker as he spoke about using the camera like a painter uses a brush. Milton soon returned to the East Coast, and Marilyn returned to the travails of movie making. Four years would pass before Marilyn reunited with the photographer in October of 1953. By that time, the world of film and cameras had anointed Milton the Wonder Boy of Color Photography, and Marilyn had become Marilyn. The photographer and the movie star became dear friends, and Marilyn frequently posed for Milton’s photographic paint brush. Be-tween them a strong nexus formed, rather like the odd connection shared by identical twins; and even Milton’s wife, Amy, recognized and accepted that her husband and Marilyn could communicate using a shorthand that only they understood.
For Summers, Milton confirmed that he and Marilyn loved each other, period, that they shared a close relation-ship. Summers, however, was primarily interested in Marilyn’s sexual shenanigans while she was married; and he asked Milton if a married Marilyn Monroe was pretty much of a good, faithful wife? Milton responded that Marilyn was and what she wanted most of all was a baby. That’s odd: wasn’t what she wanted most in life was to trick her father into seducing her? If you gave her a choice between children and stardom, Milton commented, it would have been children. Without question. Summers could only manage a Hmmmm. He must have expected to learn some-thing completely different. Was Summers expecting a similar version of Henry Rosenfeld’s testimony?
Cassette 1: Sydney Guilaroff
So far, two men have asserted that each was Marilyn’s most intimate friend and confidant from the beginning of her Hollywood career until her death. Sydney Guilaroff becomes the third. Still, and despite the fact that Guilaroff obviously knew Marilyn, several Marilyn historians have expressed doubt regarding the veracity of Guilaroff’s anecdotes about his relationship with the blonde movie star. The doubt is the result of what follows. According to David Marshall, Guilaroff was the guest speaker at one of the annual August assemblies to commemorate Marilyn’s death held at the Pierce Brothers Cemetery. Evidently, during his speech, Guilaroff recounted a few memories of Marilyn and referred to his association with her as merely brief. During that appearance, a few of Marilyn’s fans asked Guilaroff if he planned to write a book about his relationship with Marilyn. According to Marshall, Guilaroff declared that he loved Marilyn dearly but he had nothing at all exciting to wrote about.
But wait, In 1996, Guilaroff published his memoir filled with braggadocio, and he suddenly remembered: 1) that he actually directed Marilyn’s MGM screen test which secured for the blonde starlet the part of Angela Phinlay in John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle; and 2) a frantic telephone call from Marilyn on the night of August the 4th regarding a visit by Robert Kennedy and a physical altercation with the attorney general, which caused Marilyn to fear for her life.
Both John Huston, who directed, and Arthur Hornblow, who produced, told differing stories about Marilyn’s casting in their noir heist movie; and Lucile Ryman, MGM’s casting director at that time, told another story which included Louis Mayer. The stories told by Huston, Hornblow and Ryman did not include Guilaroff in any capacity other than Marilyn’s hairdresser; and as far as the frantic telephone call from Marilyn is concerned, Guilaroff is just one of many persons who asserted that they spoke to Marilyn on the night she died. None of those assertions have been or can be verified. Guilaroff gave several interviews with various authors; and during those interviews, he gave conflicting accounts regarding his purported telephone encounter with Marilyn. In one interview, he actually claimed that he spoke to her twice that Saturday.
The testimony that Anthony Summers elicited from Guilaroff included some laudatory comments about Marilyn, her naiveté, her soft and gentle quality. Guilaroff specifically noted that Marilyn was often unhappy; but he declined to say anything else, noting for Summers that Marilyn had been gone for twenty years. He then added: It makes me unhappy to talk about it. It really does. I can’t bring myself to talk about it.
Cassette (Unnumbered): Billy Wilder
Many cinephiles consider Billy Wilder to be the greatest Hollywood screenwriter and director of all time, primarily because he either wrote or co-wrote and directed many movies that appear on various Greatest of All Time lists. Wilder directed Marilyn twice. In 1954, he directed The Seven Year Itch; and then four years later, he directed Some Like It Hot. Wilder’s list of accolades and awards is virtually endless; but when he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986, he thanked ten individuals by name, movie stars that had directly contributed to his legacy. Wilder included Marilyn Monroe on that list. During a party for Marilyn following the completion of The Seven Year Itch, the actress attributed her memorable performance as The Girl to Billy Wilder, who was then directing The Spirit of St. Louis. She wanted Billy to direct her again, she commented and then added humorously: but he wouldn’t let me play Charles Lindbergh.
The celebrated director often spoke about Marilyn, spoke about her on-set problems, her lack of confidence, her inability to memorize simple lines of dialogue and her tardiness. He once commented, however, that he had an aging aunt in Germany who was always on time and could probably memorize her lines; but nobody would want to see her in a picture. Invariably, Wilder followed his criticisms of Marilyn with statements extolling her on-screen magic and her unique abilities. Marilyn, he testified, was slightly discombobulated at all times; but despite her often aggravating idiosyncrasies and need for multiple takes, Marilyn always delivered something absolutely unique that cannot be … that cannot be duplicated. I had no problems with Monroe, Wilder allegedly informed Summers. Monroe had problems with Monroe. She had problems with herself. Wilder once admitted, during an emotional interview about Marilyn, that he missed her like Hell. But once again, Wilder’s testimony revealed absolutely nothing new.
Cassette 80: Jeanne Martin
Born Dorothy Jean Biegger in Coral Gables, Florida, Dorothy began a modeling career sometime around 1946, and she adopted the moniker of Jeanne. A year after she won the title of Orange Bowl Queen, Jeanne attended a New Year’s Eve show featuring the comedy team of Martin and Lewis. Evidently, after seeing each other, both Jeanne and Dean were immediately smitten. We locked eyes and I knew, she explained in a 1992 Dean Martin biography. We just fell madly in love. Dean filed for a divorce from his first wife, and only one week after the court granted that divorce, Jeanne and Dean wed in the Beverly Hills home of a friend. According to Jeanne’s obituary, the general public viewed the Martins as one of Hollywood’s happiest couples until on Dec. 10, 1969, the date that Jeanne issued a statement announcing that she and Dean were parting ways. The divorce was finalized in 1972. Jeanne and Dean remained friendly because of their seven children, even after he married for a third time in 1973. The former Mrs. Dean Martin never remarried.
Jeanne Martin’s testimony to Anthony Summers focused on the middle Kennedy brother’s sexual predation, primarily the predatory behavior of John Kennedy, which, according to Jeanne’s testimony, she experienced firsthand. When Summers asked her if she was present at the Lawford’s beach house when Marilyn cavorted with either of the middle Kennedy brothers, Jeanne never directly responded; but she blamed Joe, Sr. for his son’s behavior, described by her as tacky and corny bad boy antics: they were chips off the old block, she editorialized. Then Summers asked if Bobby was a grabber? Jeanne answered: Yeah. Not in the terms that Jack was. She did not elaborate and Summers, of course, did not pursue any additional details or an explanation.
A considerable amount of testimony pertaining to Robert Kennedy’s somewhat Puritanical attitude and behavior has been offered over the years, testimony from acquaintances, friends and even FBI agents dispatched by J. Edgar Hoover with the expressed mission of mining muck on one of Hoover’s archenemies. In his posthumously published memoir, William Sullivan, who was Deputy Director of the FBI under Hoover, asserted that the boss desperately wanted and attempted to catch Robert Kennedy in compromising situations; but the FBI director never did because Robert Kennedy was almost a Puritan. Agents of the FBI often observed him at parties during which the attorney general would order one glass of scotch and still be sipping from the same glass two hours later, Sullivan asserted; and the stories involving a love affair between Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were just that, stories started by Frank Capell, a right-wing zealot who had a history of spinning wild yarns. According to many persons who knew Robert Kennedy, he was a devout Catholic, unlike his brother John; and regarding whether or not Marilyn was under the influence of a Bobby thing or a Jack thing, Jeanne recalled that her impression was both (emphasis mine). Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines impression as follows: an often indistinct or imprecise notion or remembrance.
Cassette 33: Fred Otash and John Danoff
Private investigator Fred Otash was a muckraker for the gossip magazine Confidential. He actively searched for compromising information about movie stars, their sex lives and their spouse’s sex lives; and he often targeted the friends of celebrities. Otash was the most disreputable private detective that ever haunted the dimly lit streets and dark alleys of Hollywood. He was a cold damp mist.
Mike Wallace interviewed Otash for Sixty Minutes in 1973; and following that interview, Wallace announced that Otash was the most amoral man that he, Wallace, had ever interviewed. Convicted of a criminal conspiracy to defraud for financial gain, offering a bribe and also doping a horse, Otash had his license indefinitely suspended by state authorities. Otash was a recognized prevaricator at best and, at worst, an incorrigible liar. He appeared in Goddess and the Netflix movie to confirm that the umpteen secret tapes of Marilyn and the middle Kennedy brothers actually existed: Otash made and actually heard them: Otash actually listened as someone killed Marilyn Monroe: he listened to her die. Summers expected his audience just to accept the testimony of a known criminal and liar, a horrid man who, if you believe him, listened to Marilyn’s murder but did nothing to stop it. John Danoff, an Otash employee, functioned as a form of dubious corroboration for the Otash testimony.
There is only one problem: during the six decades since Fred Otash purportedly obtained the tape recordings involving Marilyn, John and Robert Kennedy, not one has ever surfaced; not one has ever been heard by the public. Six decades. Imagine their monetary worth.
Furthermore, why should I just accept the testimony of a man as degenerate and corrupt as Fred Otash. Many authors, including Anthony Summers, have invoked Otash’s name and invoked the specter of his unheard tapes as a form of proof, a form of confirmation that the lurid and salacious stories about Marilyn and the middle Kennedy brothers are factual. Extremely ludicrous; and those author’s expectation that I will accept testimony from a man like Otash insults my intelligence and my humanity, should insult the intelligence and humanity of us all. Apparently not, though. Even today, after the passing of sixty years without any tangible evidence that the obscure and farcical tapes ever existed, journalists, a word I use with trepidation, promote the putative recordings and extol the testimony of Fred Otash as if he was the exemplar of virtue and honesty. Sad, to say the least.
One final word about the purported secret tapes. During his interview, Otash noted: And someone wired up Marilyn’s house on behalf of Hoffa (emphasis mine). The photographs that flashed on screen during that piece of Otash testimony were of Bernard Spindel, which, of course, Summers did not reveal. Spindel was Hoffa’s ally, his telephone tapper and bedroom bugger. Both Hoffa and Spindel were indicted for illegally tapping the telephones of the teamsters’ union headquarters in 1957. Two years later, Spindel became embroiled, due to his Hoffa association, with Robert Kennedy, then an attorney for the McClelland Investigating Committee on Labor Racketeering, which, of course, involved both Jimmy Hoffa and Bernard Spindel. In December of 1966, New York police and special agents from the telephone company, raided Spindel’s New York home and laboratory. The officers confiscated all of Spindel’s equipment, files and tape recordings. The New York State District Attorney’s investigators reported to the LADA in 1982, as noted in the LADA’s Summary Report, that none of the tapes contained anything relating to Marilyn Monroe. Evidently, like his pal Fred Otash, Spindel was “a known boaster” and frequently alluded to having knowledge of a number of secrets.