A recipe for Planter’s Punch, a favourite tipple among guests at the Jamaica Inn, close to where Marilyn and Arthur Miller stayed during their honeymoon at Moon Point on the Caribbean island in January 1957.
“This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.”
Now open to the public for the first time at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin.
“One of the series of images that should be in constant demand is the photographic record of the filming of the 1961 John Huston film The Misfits, which stars Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. That photo set, which was displayed at Connecticut’s Bruce Museum in 2004, includes seductive images by a surprising group of nine of Magnum’s photographers — from Bruce Davidson to Cornell Capa — that offer beautiful traces of the film’s stars wrangling wild horses out in the desert.”
A 1965 FBI file, now released in uncensored form, concerns one Jacqueline Hammond, a then 40 year-old divorcee living at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, who alleged that Jack, Robert, and Edward Kennedy had participated in ‘sex parties’ at the hotel, alongside Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and his wife Pat (sister to the Kennedy brothers), and Marilyn Monroe.
“An FBI statement accompanying the released of the papers said: ‘[The file] contains a report of a rumour from an informant suggesting that elements of the Mafia wanted attack the character of Edward and Robert Kennedy and their brother-in-law Peter Lawford by working through associates of Frank Sinatra to compromise them at a New York party. Both Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe were to be involved.’
After looking into the claims, the FBI is said to have decided the information was not ‘solid’ enough and no other mention of it appears.”
What comes across most strongly when one peruses the Kennedy files is FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover‘s dislike of the Kennedys, and his almost obsessive crusade to discredit them.
However, it is possible that the Mafia might have planned a plot of this kind, as some writers have argued that mob bosses helped the Democratic Party to win Chicago in 1960’s election, and were deeply angered by Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s subsequent war against organised crime. The Mafia are also believed by some to have ordered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
But all of these theories are controversial, and rank among the many rumours surrounding the Kennedy family and the murders of both John and Robert.
What I find harder to believe is that Marilyn was really involved in these so-called orgies, and even less likely, that the Kennedys’ own sister would have wanted any part of it (as this would have verged on incest, after all.) Personally, I feel that the allegations are, at least partly, myth – but still the rumours persist.
As Marilyn Monroe’s most recent biographer, J. Randy Taraborrelli, has noted, FBI files are not always transparent:
“The less one relies on the FBI’s accounts of anything having to do with Marilyn Monroe, the better. Here’s the truth: None of it means a thing … any wacky ‘informant’ could say anything about a celebrity and it would end up in the FBI’s files as fact. This is one of the reasons why these files are so tantalizing to some historians … However, how much of it was just J. Edgar Hoover’s paranoia being passed down to his agents?”
Journalist Liz Smith, who has covered the entertainment industry for almost fifty years, makes this interesting observation in her column today…
“I’ll say this: Frank Sinatra really loved Marilyn. He was devastated by her death. He actually wanted to marry her in an effort to ‘save’ her. (Their mutual lawyer Milt Rudin advised against it—’what if she killed herself while you two were married? You’d be ruined!’) I once spoke with Nancy Sinatra about MM, and she said, ‘Oh, my father adored her.’
I honestly don’t believe Sinatra would have exposed the actress, especially in her fragile condition, to such scenarios. But, lots of people want to believe it, just as they want to ignore Marilyn’s mental problems, and make her a murder victim rather than the suicide she probably was.”
This photograph of Marilyn with the Kennedy brothers, after the president’s birthday gala at Madison Square Garden, attracted much media attention when collector Keya Morgan announced his intention to auction an original print, earlier this month.
Many news outlets have described the photo as ‘rare and unseen’, but in fact it was first published during the 1990s, and has even graced a book cover.
Furthermore, it is not the only photo of Marilyn and the Kennedys – two other photos from that night show both MM and JFK, one during the performance and another group shot from the party. Can you spot them?
However, MM devotees will be interested to note that the first picture was taken by White House photographer Cecil W. Stoughton, and that singer Harry Belafonte and his wife can be glimpsed in the background.
Kennedy’s aide, historian Arthur Schlesinger, is facing Marilyn to the right, and later wrote in his diary:
“I do not think I have seen anyone so beautiful; I was enchanted by her manner and her wit, at once so masked, so ingenuous and so penetrating.”
“Considering the difficulty of Marilyn’s life, almost from the beginning, and her deep insecurities, it’s all the more remarkable to me that she never became really bitter or cynical, and that she was so brave and generous in the way she lived.”
An interview with Tara Hanks (alias Marina72, aka moi) on my novel The Mmm Girl, Marilyn and more, over at Moon in the Gutter
ES member MMcamera tells us there is a new Marilyn book in the works, similar to Jenna Glatzer’s Marilyn Monroe Treasures, which included facsimiles of original documents and memorabilia, and was released through Barnes & Noble in 2008.
Carlton Books are looking for fans who would be willing to share any items connected with Marilyn such as letters, receipts, notes, etc. Basically anything that could be reproduced.
If you or someone you know can help please contact:
Carlton Publishing Group
20 Mortimer Street
Marilyn Monroe’s legendary gold dress, designed by Travilla for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), features in Icons of Costume, exhibition of Hollywood wardrobe design, at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Philadelphia until September 5th.
Marilyn wore the dress while singing ‘Down Boy’, but most of the scene was cut.
Nonetheless, Marilyn modelled the dress for some of her most famous studio portraits, and caused a sensation when she was once again sewn into it for her appearance at the Photoplay Awards in March 1953, to accept her award as ‘Fastest Rising Star’.