Marilyn’s Daughter: Hoax Claim Warning

Not pregnant: Marilyn films a wardrobe test for Something’s Got to Give, 1962 (Credit: 20th Century Fox/Neal Peters Collection)

An early candidate for Most Ridiculous Marilyn Headline of 2016 entered the ring today, as satirical news-site World News Daily Report screamed, ‘Woman Claims She is the Daughter of MM and JFK.’ Last year, they published another fake story, claiming that a former CIA agent had made a deathbed confession to Marilyn’s murder.

Both stories were penned under the same pseudonym, ‘Barbara Johnson‘, though the author page’s URL names her as ‘Barbara Jennings’.

This isn’t even an original idea, as several people have falsely claimed to be Marilyn’s child over the years. It’s also in bad taste, as Marilyn was unable to have children. And perhaps worst of all, it’s not even funny. As Matt Novak pointed out in a recent article for Gizmodo, ‘A joke without a punchline is just a lie. And there sure are a lot of missing punchlines on the internet these days.’

Finally, the woman pictured in the photo accompanying the article is Susan Griffiths, a successful Marilyn impersonator who has never claimed any family connection. So the article not only misrepresents a deceased actress, but also a living one.

In a new blog post, ‘Marilyn Didn’t Have a Daughter‘, Immortal Marilyn staffer Marijane Gray has debunked this latest hoax.

“Other claims in the article are also complete fabrications. The Marilyn/JFK affair rumors have been greatly exaggerated and outright lied about over the years. You can read more about how the lies came about in this Immortal Marilyn article. Photos of Marilyn from each month from January to July 1962 prove conclusively that she could not have been pregnant and given birth at any point during that year.

The hoax article also states ‘Some persistent rumors, originating from her gynecologist, Dr. Leon Krohn, have suggested that Marilyn Monroe had become pregnant again in 1961, and given birth to a baby girl in June 1962.’ While Marilyn’s gynecologist was indeed named Dr. Leon Krohn, he has never made these ludicrous claims and the rumors definitely did not originate from him.”

Marilyn Conspiracy Hoax Goes Viral

Occasionally, a rumour is spread about Marilyn that is so idiotic, it surprises even me. Most shocking of all is when large numbers of people believe these rumours. Usually, it’s something ridiculous – but when the subject is Marilyn’s death,  the joke becomes a little stale.

In ‘The Seven Year Snitch’, myth-busting website reports on a fake story posted by spoof news site World Daily News Report on March 25. Headlined ‘Retired CIA Agent Confesses on Deathbed: I Killed Marilyn Monroe’, the article purports to reveal that a 78 year-old man, Normand Hodges, claimed to have conducted 37 assassinations on behalf of the American government during his 41-year tenure at the Central Intelligence Agency. One of his victims, it is said, was Marilyn Monroe – whom Hodges described as a security threat, due to her affairs with both President John F. Kennedy and Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In fact, Marilyn never met Castro, and her supposed ‘affair’ with Kennedy, while now taken for granted by many, has been wildly exaggerated.

Furthermore, a photo of a dying man which accompanies the article – identified as Hodges – was actually of another man, Michael Tyrell, and was originally used to illustrate an article published in The Guardian on November 9, 2013, about the controversial UK practice of chaining sick prisoners to their beds.

It’s at this point that this parody becomes rather less amusing. Is it fair that a highly disturbing picture of a dying man should be appropriated in this way?

However, the satirical piece was then reblogged by a minor celebrity, Bam Margera – best known for his appearances in the MTV series, Jackass, which ended in 2002. It’s unclear whether Margera was duped by the story himself, but he made no reference to it being a prank – adding his own, ill-informed opinion that Marilyn Monroe was ‘easy’ and a ‘train wreck’.

Satire works best when it uncovers hidden truths. This story, however, merely reiterates decades of half-baked fantasies circulated about Marilyn. Not only has her tragic death been exploited for a sick, dirty joke – but the suffering of another, entirely unconnected individual has been dragged into it.

Who benefits from all this? Certainly not the unsuspecting fans misled and distressed by the story. All that has transpired is that a rather lame parody has got far more attention than it deserves, and a washed-up TV star has jumped on the bandwagon.

How long will it be, I wonder, until some unscrupulous author adds this latest ‘theory’ to the history books?