Read my review of Keith Badman’s new book, over here
Read my review of Keith Badman’s new book, over here
Ronald H. ‘Mike’ Carroll, the retired Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who supervised the 1982 review of Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 death, has died aged 74.
The enquiry into Marilyn’s death lasted nearly 4 months. A 30-page report concluded, ‘Our inquiries and document examination uncovered no credible evidence supporting a murder theory…The homicide hypotheses must be viewed with extreme skepticism.’
Lionel Grandison’s claim to have found Monroe’s ‘red diary’ was also rejected. (Grandison was employed by the coroner’s office when Marilyn died.) The Los Angeles Times noted that Carroll’s report cited ‘reasonable evidence’ of suicide, arguing that murder in this case would have required a ‘massive conspiracy’.
One of Monroe’s many biographers, Anthony Summers, interviewed Carroll for a Reader’s Digest article, ‘Bombshell’, in 2006. Carroll staunchly defended the 1982 enquiry: ‘My job was to look for evidence of murder,’ he said, ‘and I didn’t find any. There were pieces of information that might have thrown light on aspects of Marilyn Monroe’s final days, her involvement with the Kennedy brothers, for instance. But that’s for the biographers and historians. It wasn’t my job, wasn’t the assignment we had.’
“6 August 1962, 21 York Road, Loughborough, Leics.
“[. . .] Isn’t it a sad shock about Marilyn Monroe? ‘The People’ (a British tabloid newspaper) made her sound very dopey, but I was shocked all the same. ‘The Mirror’ said her fan mail had shrunk from 8,000 to 80 a week! I’m sure Hollywood is a ghastly place to work in for anyone like her, everyone wanting to screw you and get a cut for doing it, nobody really helping you.”
Extract from Letters to Monica, a collection of correspondence between the English poet, Philip Larkin, and his longtime companion, the literary professor Monica Jones, which will be published later this month.
Liz Smith shares an intriguing rumour about yet another Marilyn-related movie project in her column today.
“I have heard that Oliver Stone (The Doors, JFK) is finally interested in Monroe as a subject. Or at least in what supposedly went on around the star. He would probably concentrate on her final frantic years – choice material for the director who has such a flair for the dark and lurid.
This is just ‘talk’ at the moment. There’s many a slip twixt the lip and the overdosed blonde with her hand on the telephone. And two Monroe films are in pre-production now.
But if and when … don’t be surprised if Lindsay Lohan is in on it. Lohan is a great fan of the late MM, and Oliver Stone is a great admirer of Miss Lohan; he thinks she is a serious actress who just needs her one ‘breakout’ adult role. (First she needs to stay in rehab for a long time!)
We’ll see how it goes. I know I’d be fascinated to see how Oliver Stone would handle Marilyn, no matter who played her.”
“Aunt Eunice and Dr. Greenson eventually became friends, and as time went by, he became very impressed by her stable character. For this reason, when the need later arose, Dr. Greenson, and some of his colleagues, hired her as a ‘support worker’ for some of their high-profile clients. She became the stable ‘friend’ that most of them did not have.”
An intriguing article about Marilyn’s last housekeeper, Eunice Murray, at Galveston Music Scene
“Bungalow 9, the Beverly Hills Hotel…the pink stucco bungalow stands between No. 10 – where Marilyn Monroe had a torrid affair in 1960 with her ‘Let’s Make Love’ co-star Yves Montand – and No. 8, home at one time to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.”
During the interview, Gaga referenced MM while discussing her controversial ‘Paparazzi’ video of 2009.
“And while my fascination with celebrity has almost left the building, I had this incredible fascination with how people love watching celebrities fall apart, or when celebrities die; I wanted to know, what did they look like when they died? Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, JonBenet Ramsey…I think about all those dead girls, all those dead blonde icons. What did they look like when they died? So then I thought, well maybe if I show what I look like when I die, people won’t wonder. Maybe that’s what I want people to think I’ll look like when I die.”
Speakers at this year’s service, organised by Marilyn Remembered Fan Club:
For a personal account of the service by ‘misskelleen’, join the 1962 community at LiveJournal
“The star born Norma Jean Mortensen suffered an almost Dickensian childhood of hardship, which culminated in an arranged marriage to a neighbour’s son when she was just 16. But on the silver screen Norma Jean created a glittering, carefree and carnal image that made her Hollywood’s most enduring sex symbol. It is that sensuously hedonistic yet innocent image fans still fall head over heels in love with.” – John Costello, Irish Independent
“She brought out a protective impulse in people. And, in my opinion, that is part of her movie magic. She was not a sassy sex symbol who ‘owned’ her sexuality. She did not seem calculating about it. There was always the wide-eyed innocence there, in spite of the body made for lovin’ – and that somehow engendered a protective response in audiences … male AND female – so she was one of those very rare movie creatures: a sex symbol whom men loved and desired, but also whom women respected and looked up to … and I think it had something to do with that fragmented innocence peering out of her radiant face. She seemed unaware of the responses she brought up in men, and she never seemed out for sex – the Marilyn Monroe persona was all about finding love. Her gifts as an actress and comedienne are obvious – but her appeal is still rather complicated, which, I suppose, is why people still obsess over her, and talk about her, and pick her apart.” – Sheila O’Malley
Photo by Scott Fortner
This so-called ‘last weekend’ (actually, Marilyn died on the following weekend) remains one of the most controversial aspects of Marilyn’s days, and Greco’s memories are bittersweet:
“Buddy Greco recalls of her demeanour later that weekend: ‘She was fragile, very fragile – well, she’d gone.’ Many blamed the Kennedys.
Of course, she could still shine when she wanted to. But by now her gloss was too often just a thin veneer.
Despite her depression, she initially appeared in good shape when she arrived at Cal-Neva, after flying there on Sinatra’s private plane.
‘When she arrived that Saturday, you’d never believe that she had a care in the world,’ recalls Buddy Greco. ‘I was sitting with Frank [Sinatra], Peter Lawford and a bunch of other people, outside Frank’s bungalow, when a limousine pulls up and this gorgeous woman in dark glasses steps out,’ he says.
‘She’s dressed all in green – everything green: coat, skirt and scarf. Before I realised who it was, I thought: “My God, what a beautiful woman. No taste in clothes, but what a beautiful woman!”
‘I knew that she’d been to my concerts and shows. She was a regular at the Crescendo club in Hollywood where I often played.
‘We’d said hello a few times, but were never properly introduced. When Frank introduced us, I said: “You won’t remember me, but I was the piano player when you auditioned for the Benny Goodman band in 1948.”
‘She got emotional at that and hugged me. She had such warmth – and I was moved. Somebody took some wonderful shots of that moment, of us hugging.’
But by the end of the first evening, a darker Monroe was beginning to emerge. Greco had finished his first performance in the hotel’s lounge and had joined Sinatra and the other guests at Sinatra’s regular table.
‘It was a wonderful time, a magical weekend. It is so hard to describe now but it was maybe the best time of my life.
‘Then suddenly the room went silent and very still. It was surreal. As if somebody had turned the sound off. I looked at Frank. I could immediately tell he was furious. His eyes were like blue ice cubes.
‘He was looking at the doorway where Marilyn was stood, swaying ever so slightly.’
‘She was still in the same green outfit she’d worn all day,’ says Greco. ‘But the woman I’d met that afternoon – smart , funny, intelligent, fragile – had gone.
‘Now she looked drunk and, well, defiant. She was clearly angry and I think I heard her say: “Who the f*** are they all staring at?”‘
Sinatra – who was obviously irritated by her erratic behaviour – acted fast.
‘It was clear Sinatra was worried. She was in a state where she could have said anything,’ says Greco.
This would have been a major concern for many of those around the table. Monroe, after all, knew an awful lot of secrets – and, in her condition, might have been prepared to share them.
‘Sinatra motioned to his bodyguard – Coochie – to get her out of there. Coochie, a big guy, escorted her out. Actually, he picked her up and carried her out. It wasn’t the star we were used to seeing.’
The incident upset Buddy Greco. He had felt such warmth and vulnerability in her only a few hours earlier and could not understand how she had changed so terribly and suddenly.
‘She was on my mind,’ he says. ‘I was worried about her. I went outside to find out whether she was okay. I knew that she had taken accidental overdoses in the past.
‘I found her by the pool. There was nobody around. It was late and the pool was deserted.
‘Maybe it was the moon but she had a ghostly pallor. It still didn’t occur to me that she might be a woman not long for this world.
‘She was distressed, out of it, but that was all. Maybe her friends were used to seeing her like that but it worried me. Anyway, we talked.
‘I walked her back to her bungalow in the complex reserved for the guests of Frank and Giancana where we all stayed.
‘I thought that the next morning I could put her with Pat Lawford [the Kennedys’ sister], who was her companion, and make sure she got back to L.A. safely.
‘But the next day when I called, she had already left. That was the last time I saw her.’ So does he think that Sinatra had finally lost patience with Monroe and by abandoning her had left her to her fate?
‘That’s a possible scenario,’ Greco answered thoughtfully. ‘After she had created that problem, he certainly wanted her out of there. He could be quite firm with her.'”
The article is very speculative, but nonetheless, Greco’s memories are fascinating, as veteran showbiz columnist Liz Smith has noted:
“IT WAS 48 years ago today that Marilyn Monroe died. On the evening of Saturday, August 4, 1962, or the wee hours of Sunday, the fifth. (Talking to her therapist earlier in the day, she exclaimed, “Here I am. I am supposed to be the most glamorous woman in the world, and I don’t have a date on Saturday night!”)
Sinatra, by every account, was totally undone, devastated when word came of Marilyn’s death. (Sinatra’s valet, George Jacobs, believes Sinatra would have married Monroe, if for no other reason than to ‘save her.’) In any case Frank certainly never spoke of what really happened at the Cal Neva Lodge.”