‘My Great-Aunt, Eunice Murray’

Marilyn at the Fox lot on her 36th birthday with Henry Weinstein, Murray (Photo by George Barris)

“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

‘An Actress Prepares’ in Edinburgh

Irina Diva in ‘An Actress Prepares’

“Empire film magazine crowned Marilyn Monroe the ‘Sexiest Female Movie Star of all Time’, while People magazine voted her the ‘Sexiest Woman of the Century’. But what was beyond the public image and the pretty face? Now the life and thoughts of the troubled screen goddess is coming to Edinburgh in An Actress Prepares, a surprising and revealing adaptation of Marilyn Monroe’s last ever interview, for the first time ever making its appearance on stage.”

On 17th August 1962 LIFE magazine published “Last Talk with a Lonely Girl”.  36 years old, divorced for the third time and now living alone, frustrated by Hollywood and tired of the label ‘sex symbol’, the final years of her life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for being unreliable and difficult to work with.  In An Actress Prepares, Marilyn reflects on her silver screen persona and exaltation to one of the most celebrated idols of her time, while freely admitting to never knowing happiness. Candid and contemplative, and with her untimely death shortly after, this was to become her ultimate interview.”

Bulgarian actress Irina Diva plays Marilyn in An Actress Prepares (a pun on Monroe’s dramatic bible, An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavski) at the Edinburgh Fringe until this Saturday, August 21.

Venue:  Zoo Roxy – The Warren, 2 Roxburgh Place (venue 115)

Time:  22.00 (22.45)

Dates:  15th – 21st August 2010

Tickets:  £8.00

Box Office: 0131 662 689

Marilyn’s 2010 Memorial at Westwood

Photo by Scott Fortner

Speakers at this year’s service, organised by Marilyn Remembered Fan Club:

  • John Gilmore, author of Inside Marilyn Monroe
  • Noreen Siegel, wife of Dr Lee Siegel, Marilyn’s longtime physician at Twentieth Century Fox
  • Marion Collier, ‘Olga’ from Sweet Sue’s Band in Some Like It Hot
  • Audrey Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald’s promoter (Marilyn arranged for Ella to perform at LA’s Mocambo Club in 1954)
  • Stanley Rubin, producer of River of No Return
  • Lois Banner, Professor of History and Gender Studies at USC, currently working on two books about Marilyn
  • Diana Levitt, whose father, F. Hugh Herbert, directed Marilyn’s first movie, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! in 1947. Diana also took acting classes with Marilyn

For a personal account of the service by ‘misskelleen’, join the 1962 community at LiveJournal


Buddy Greco on the ‘Last Weekend’

Marilyn with Buddy Greco and Frank Sinatra at the Cal-Neva Lodge, July 1962

Singer Buddy Greco has spoken to the UK’s Daily Mail about meeting Marilyn Monroe at Frank Sinatra’s Cal-Neva Lodge on Lake Tahoe, just a week before her death.

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.”