Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reality Fiction, Pt. IV

‘She’ nodded. With that, the men and women who so gallantly came to ‘her’ rescue reluctantly released their grip on the little man intent on raping and pillaging her. He relaxed for a moment, stretched, and resumed the slow stalk of my companion. I jumped in front of her.

“Will you git out my way?” 'she' screeched.

“You don’t really expect me to let this guy take a swing at you.” I nodded towards the pool table where the bartender had just revived Mike with smelling salts.

No sooner had I faced her to argue the point when the attacker picked me up, and threw me to the ground. “Now, bitch,” he growled, “you are fuckin’ gonna get it.”

Looking down on him, she coolly said, “First of all, my name’s not ‘Bitch.’ Secondly--”


‘She’ made the next point with her fist, landing a massive right squarely on his temple. He collapsed like a house of cards. The mob burst into spontaneous cheers.

“Now, git!” ‘she’ seethed. Rising, he whimpered away like all wounded bullies, out of the door and into the night. As soon as he vanished, she burst out in a loud guffaw. “Have you ever seen anything so funny?” she went on, catching her breath. “He fell like a sack of potatoes. Just one shot, and boom!”

“I don’t understand your sense of humor, sometimes,” I said.

“Well,” ‘she’ said, taking me by her bloody hand, and guiding me back to our booth, “I guess you don’t git, whatcha don’t git. That was fuuuu-neee.”

She crowed about her right cross for about a minute or two, then went back to the harangue on the strange blonde whom neither of us could spot at the moment. A beer later, I’d had enough of it, and suggested that we leave. She carped all the way back to Astor Place about the “filthy German gal,” and probably would have continued the rant on the train had it not been for the excitement next to the Cube, an interactive piece of sculpture across the street from the station entrance.

“Let’s go see what all the fuss is about,” ‘she’ said.

We crossed the street just as an ambulance pulled up. Paramedics pushed through the crowd to treat a little, hairy man lying face first on the sidewalk. They didn’t have to turn him over. I’d already recognized him as the mighty runt that ‘she’ had decked about forty-five minutes earlier. Paramedics checked for a pulse, but couldn’t find one. CPR and defib had no effect whatsoever.

As one of the rescue workers fetched a body bag, I looked around to see if any of his colleagues looked familiar. After all, in my line of work you meet a lot of medical types. I then spotted somebody I knew, Lt. Seamus Tyco, a tall, middle-aged veteran whose narrow face showed every wrinkle of worry that his job gave him, and whose ever-inflating beer gut served as a testament to his stress. Later, Seamus and I would become very good friends. He eventually introduced me to his cousin, Jenny Tyco, an insurance broker who threw me cases from time to time.

“Lt. Tyco,” I said, approaching him.

“It’s Seamus, to you. How’re they hanging, boss?”

“Kinda low,” came my reply. Looking down on the fresh corpse, I casually asked, “What happened to him?”

“Looks like somebody clocked him with a good right.”

I nervously looked over to ‘her,’ but for some reason she grinned. She put her hand over her face as if she wanted to hide a case of the chuckles.

“His fingers are broken too,” he continued. “It must’ve been one helluva fight. But I’m pretty sure he died from a heart attack. We’ll have to wait for the police to get their lazy butts out of the doughnut shop before we can move him. Excuse me while I suit up. I’ll catch you later.”

“Okay, later,” I said as he trailed off to his charges.

Let’s end it here. I’ll leave this one up a while longer so that you can check the comments and make a final correction or addendum on what is true, what’s exaggerated and what is completely fictional.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reality Fiction, Pt. III

We join our protagonist and his friend, who have just excused themselves from a mysterious German at Dirty Dan's.

“You must have done somethin’ to encourage her,” ‘she’ seethed, retaking her seat.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You don’t have to say anythin’. Your body language drew her to you.”

“What body language?”

‘She’ went on and on about how I had sent out all the ‘come-hither’ signals that men give out to women they want. I didn’t recall ever sending out any; but I did find the German woman kinda cute, so I had to take the word of a shrink seriously. Maybe I did do something to entice the blonde. One thing for certain, though: I didn’t want to sit there and listen to ‘her’ gripe all night. I excused myself, and headed for the men’s’ room for what would be a relief in more ways than the usual.

Busy watching the ice melt in the urinal, I barely noticed the opening of the bathroom door. My peripheral vision caught a tall figure moving in on the space next to me. It never occurred to me to look up. Who does, when they’re in a public restroom?

“Hello,” cooed a high, nasal voice.

I couldn’t believe it. That ditzy blonde followed me into the men’s room, of all places. She smiled and watched, her eyes growing very large. I hated to give her a show, but it’s not like I could stop the train after it had left the station.

“What are you doing here?” I groaned.

“I wanted to show you what I mean by ‘kinky sex’”

Her smile grew ever wider as she unbuckled the belt of her stonewashed jeans, which she then pulled down along with her panties. Hiking up her olive blouse, she backed into the adjacent urinal, sat her exposed keister on the ice, and melted a few cubes of her own.

“Do you like?” she asked, as seductively as possible in that irritating accent.

A loud crash interrupted every other thought. From experience, I knew that a barroom blitz had just begun, and I hated the thought of ‘her’ sitting alone out there, caught up in the usual melee. I quickly finished and zipped. Bursting through the door, I heard somebody yell “Duck!” My instincts heeded the warning. A pool ball smashed into the paneling right behind where my head had been a split second earlier.

Looking up, I saw the same half-pint who’d stolen my beer, charging toward our table. “Bitch!” he screamed. “You think your shit don’t stink? I’m gonna kick your ass after I take my dick out of it.”

Mike, the bouncer, hustled over. At six-foot-seven, and three hundred pounds--not an ounce of fat on him, mind you--he could easily put the little mouth that roared back in its place (preferably a dumpster behind one of the buildings across the street). Mike caught up to the beer thief, and locked two heavy arms, the size of short logs, around him. Before the bouncer could pick him up, however, the tiny David jabbed a couple of sharp elbows into Goliath’s rib cage, forcing the big man to release his grip. With a fury I’d never seen before nor since, the half-pint landed a barrage of punches, leaving Mike in a state that Robert Plant might have described as “dazed and confused.” What he did next defied all laws of known physics. Latching one hand onto Mike’s belt loop, and the other onto Mike’s long, pony-tailed hair, he picked the bouncer up off the floor as if he were a cardboard cutout, and pitched him five feet onto the pool table.

“You hear me, bitch?” he ranted. “You think you can just tell me to ‘take my sorry ass away’? I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you in front of all these people!”

The patrons of Dirty Dan’s, united in purpose, threw their bodies in front of him, forming a wall that separated ‘her’ from the murderous insect some twenty feet away.

“C’mon, let’s split,” I said, tugging at her.

“Like hell,” ‘she’ said, pulling her arm away. “I ain’t leavin’, unless that blonde gal comes back.” Looking around, she asked “Where is that bitch?”

Despite the best efforts of the crowd to prevent what looked like an imminent homicide, the guy suffering the Napoleon complex made progress to our table at a rate of about a foot a minute. Since I couldn’t get ‘her’ to leave, I had little choice but to add my own weight to the human shield. Pushing off against the booth, I leaped into the fray, the momentum only moving him back about an inch or two.

“Excuse me!” ‘she’ said. “Excuse me? Ahem!”

Everybody went silent. All eyes fell on ‘her’ as she rose to her feet.

“You know,” she began, “I think the gentleman could express himself a whole lot better if you just let go of him.”

None of us moved.

“Really. All this commotion’s just gon’ get him more riled up than he already is. Let him go.”

“What, are you nuts?” came a voice from the throng.

“Do you know what you’re doing, Doc?” I asked.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reality Fiction, Pt. II

Well some of you have made pretty good guesses, even correct ones. But the game continues. Which is real, which is exaggerated, and which is completely untrue?

A barmaid plunked down two, full, frosty mugs in front of us. Over the din, we talked about taking a vacation, and made plans to do some hiking and canoeing. We emptied our glasses about twenty minutes later, so ‘she’ went to the bar for two more brews. As soon as she sat down, we heard some commotion about ten feet away. I couldn’t make out what had happened. Too many bodies stood between us and the action. Since we couldn’t see anything, we ignored the minor brouhaha, and went back to fantasizing about open, starry night skies, and white rapids.

Then, a body slammed into me. A short guy, about five-five, skinny, with hair everywhere on his body, but little on his head, had plopped himself down on my side of the bench. Exhausted, he reached for my glass and drained it in all of 1.2 seconds.

“Hey!” I shouted. “That was my beer! I hardly drank any of it!”

“Sorry,” he shrugged.

I waited for him to catch his breath, and leave; but he stayed perfectly still, and eerily quiet. Since he couldn’t take a hint, I asked him to go.

“Hey!” he grunted. “I said I was sorry.”

“Well,” ‘she’ said, “could you be so kind as to take your sorry ass somewhere else?”

Scowling, he finally pried himself off the bench. ‘She’ smiled broadly as he departed. Once he left our sight, she broke out in a cackle. The laugh came to a screeching halt when the platinum blonde showed up twenty seconds later.

Darf ich hier sitzen?”

“She’s asking if she can sit here,” I translated.

“Not if she’s fixin’ to drink my beer too.”

“Would you mind speaking English, please?” I asked.

Was ist los?”

“My friend here doesn’t speak German. It would be impolite to keep her from understanding you. She might even get the impression that we’re talking behind her back.”

“But,” puzzled the blonde, “we would be in front of her.”

“Might as well sit,” ‘she’ offered, patting the space next to her. “Hell, they’re gon’ put somebody else at this table pretty soon, anyway. Better her than that crazy guy.”

Pouncing on the seat, the blonde went on and on about how wonderful it was to leave Leipzig, and come to America. She had visited the Statue of Liberty, The Twin Towers, the Museum of Modern Art and all sorts of other touristy places. All during the travelogue, the blonde’s blue eyes never left me for a second, giving ‘her’ a chance to make snide gestures behind the German’s back. At one point, ‘she’ looked at her watch. Later, ‘she’ yawned. ‘She’ humored the Auslander for awhile, faking interest in every other exploit, and mocking her with such moronic questions as “So, is it really, really high in the Empire State Buildin’?”

Ja,” answered the blonde in all sincerity. “It is so very, very high up.”

Finally, ‘she’ excused herself to go to the ladies’ room once again. The blonde stopped in mid-sentence, and watched ‘her’ all the way to the door before reaching over the table and taking my hand. “It is so very good to finally meet you,” she said.

“Um, I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

Nodding, she said, “I understand. There are spies everywhere tonight. We must be careful.”

“Spies? What spies?”

She laughed. “You are very good. I should maintain my cover so well.”


“I really thought I would die, tonight. But then I saw you. I know you will help me, because you are an American spy, ja?”

”I’m not--“

”Could you walk me to my apartment? I would be very grateful. What I like to do, other people call--wie sagt man--‘kinky’. But I think that these things are perfectly normal. I will show you later tonight.”

“Um, I’m not--“

”You do want kinky sex, ja?”

Just then, ‘she’ reemerged from the ladies room. She couldn’t have been in there for more than fifteen seconds, but that was typical when she didn’t have to wait in line. I always wondered how she could do her business so quickly.

Meine freundin kommt,” I warned.

“Really,” insisted the blonde, as my companion approached the table. “I would like for you to come to my apartment for kinky sex.”

“I don’t think so.”

The blonde, somewhat confused, turned to ‘her’ and said, “I can not interest him in kinky sex. What is happening?”

“I think I’ll be goin’,” ‘she’ snipped, “since you two look like you want to spend some time alone together.”

“No,” I said. “Look, this is all a misunderstanding. Fraulein, we came here to have a drink and chat, just me and ‘her.’ Could you excuse us? Please? Bitte schoen?”

The blonde took a long look at ‘her,’ then raised her faint yellow eyebrows, as if something had just dawned on her. She winked at me, then left without saying anything else.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Reality Fiction, Pt. 1

While I’m bogged down with dissertation pressures, I thought we could play a game. Below is an excerpt from my novel Running Around Naked in Maryland. Basically this is a true story with some parts exaggerated, and some parts fictionalized to fit the rest of the story. The object of the game is to separate what literally happened to me from what I completely made up, or blew out of proportion. I’ll keep a tally. The blogger who correctly separates the most truth from fiction will win a tribute in a future post.

I hadn’t been to Dirty Dan’s for a few months--guess I’m getting too old for the wild life. But when I first came to Manhattan, I couldn’t get enough of it. You could always find somebody to talk to. And since everybody drank freely, you didn’t have to be a genius to keep up a conversation. My best friend introduced me to it. She played there every now and then with her band, a three-piece combo that turned everything into Louisiana zydeco. They reminded me of some of the polka bands out in the Midwest that played everything from “The Bird Dance” to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” all in the same “oom-pa-pa” style.

‘She’ hated Dirty Dan’s. She never told me why, although I asked a number of times. We spent a grand total of two hours together in that bar. For some reason, she insisted that we go there one night, instead of our usual watering hole. Since I loved the place, I couldn’t care less why my tall southern sweetheart had a temporary change of heart.

We took the 6-train to Astor Place, and walked the three blocks to the pub. About two hundred yards from the entrance, a man came racing toward us. Early twenties, with scraggly beard, but clean-shaven head, he looked menacing enough for me to stop and position myself in front of ‘her’--as if she needed my protection. He got to within three feet of us and stopped, his nose ring reflecting the flash of a nearby neon sign.

“You have to help me,” he pleaded in an undetermined East European accent.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I am in trouble. They are after me.”

I looked past his shoulder and saw no one coming in our immediate direction. “Who’s after you?”

“You know who,” he growled, looking around. “We have to be very careful. There are spies everywhere tonight.”

“I don’t--“

”You can help me. You are American spies. You can make them go away.”

My companion and I exchanged a puzzled look, and a shrug. “I think you’ve mistaken us for somebody else,” I said.

“Why are you playing these games?” he snapped. “They will kill me before morning if you do not help me.”

“First of all,” I countered, “I don’t know you, and I don’t know this ‘they’. Secondly, even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to help you. We’re not spies, or anything of the type. So if you’ll excuse us.”

He let out a grunt of frustration, followed by a stream of syllables that sounded like profanity, before dashing off to a nearby payphone.

“Con?” I asked.

‘She’ shook her head. “I’d say he’s off his medication.”

When we got inside, ‘she’ immediately headed for the ladies room. I looked around for places to sit, but didn’t see any. A tall, rail-thin woman, with badly permed platinum blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and dimples caught my attention. I could have sworn the stranger smiled at me, but I figured she must have been looking at somebody else close by. Every now and then, my eyes would catch her as she pushed her way nearer through the crowd. I finally realized that she wanted to talk to me. In a nasal accent reminiscent of Boris and Natasha’s Fearless Leader, she asked, “Was machst du? Warum bist du hier heute abend?”

Taking a closer look, I still couldn’t place her. But, she had to have met me before. How else would she know that of all the people there, I spoke German? Americans only speak English and Spanish--or, around here, Mandarin and Korean. She also referred to me as “du,” the familiar form of the pronoun “you,” instead of the more formal “Sie,” which is how you’d usually address strangers.

Entschultigen Sie mir, bitte,” I replied, “aber kenn ich Ihnen?” [I’m sorry, do I know you?]

Nein. Ich komme nur jetzt nach Neu York. Die ernst mal. Warum fragst du?” [No, I’ve just come to New York for the first time. Why do you ask?]

Why did I ask? The reason seemed obvious enough to me. It’s not every day that an admitted stranger talks to you like an old friend, and then acts surprised if you don’t know what’s going on.

Before I could form a response, ‘she’ came out of the crowd and approached us. “Am I interruptin' anything?” ‘she’ asked, eyeing the platinum blonde with maximum suspicion.

“No,” I replied.

“Well, I got us a booth over near the men’s room. C’mon.”

'She' disappeared back into the crowd. Before I could follow, the mystery blonde took me aside, and whispered, “I will talk to you later.” She then made her own exit into the sea of sweaty bodies near the pool table.

I finally caught up to ‘her’ at the booth. “What the hell was that all about?” she asked, her eyebrows an angry V-shape.

“Damned if I know.”

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Star Trek University; by X & Y

From Previous posts, you might recall that I said something about living with an ex (?) spy for two-and-a-half years. In case you're wondering what I was doing living with an ex (?) spy, we wrote stand-up and sketch comedy for SubTelevision, a local cable show.

Here's an example of our work. You'll have to forgive the improper formatting, but I still haven't learned how to manipulate text placement in blogger.


X & Y are sitting in on a stage that's otherwise bare.

Y: There's a book out on the market now called All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek.

X: That's right. We read it and we thought, hey . . .

Y: Ding!

X: This guy's got something there.

Y: So we've decided to start a school based on Star Trek:


TROI and PICARD view an ALIEN on the front screen.

Y (voice over): Come to Star Trek University and attend a class at one of our many colleges. You can get your degree in sensitivity and perception at the Deana Troi School of Empathy

ALIEN: You long-winded, buck-tooth, bald-headed, mother! I'm gonna destroy you, your ship, and that phony Shakespearian accent of yours!

PICARD: Counselor?

TROI: I sense he's hostile.


DR. MCCOY is lecturing a roomful of young doctors.

Y (voice over): Attend a seminar on self-identity at Dr. McCoy's Academy of Facetious medicine.

MCCOY: All right. Repeat after me. "Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer. Dammit, I'm a doctor, not an escalator. Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a go-go dancer."


DATA and LAFORGE watch an ALIEN on their viewscreen.

Y (voice over): Complete a double major in recall and deduction at Commander Data's school of computer logic.

ALIEN: You long-winded, buck-tooth, bald-headed, mother! I'm gonna destroy you, your ship, and that phony Shakesperian accent of yours!

LAFORGE: Data, did you get that?

DATA: Yes. The voice that we heard was that of an alien who appears to be threatening the ship. He seems especially hotile towards the Captain, referring to him as a "mother." However, this appears to be inaccurate as Starfleet records do not indicate that the Captain ever bore children.


WORF and a timid-looking HUMAN stand before a lectue hall of students.

Y (voice over). Now would be the perfect time to sample one of the classes at Mr. Worf's school of Klingon Language and Literature.

HUMAN: Now all you have to do is repeat what MR. WORF says. I'll translate.

WORF: Gik Tal.

CLASS (en masse): Gik Tal.

HUMAN: That means, "To the death."

WORF: Choui Chu.

CLASS (en masse): Choui Chu.

HUMAN: That means, "Activate the transporter."

WORF: Nutra gross, reen?

CLASS (en masse): Nutra gross, reen?

HUMAN: That means, "Where are you going?"

WORF: They are not honorable.

CLASS (en masse): They are not honorable.

HUMAN: That means, "They are not honarable."

WORF: I will not!

CLASS (en masse): I will not!

HUMAN: That means he ain't gonna do it.

STUDENT: Wait a minute! That's not Klingon. That's English.

HUMAN: Yes. As you know, when a bunch of Klingons get together, they say the first two or three lines in Klingon, and then they speak Englsh for the rest of the scene.

STUDENT: Oh yeah. That's right.


KIRK is going at it hot and heavy with a beautiful PURPLE WOMAN.

Y (voice over): Of course our most popular school is the Kirk Academy of Human, and Not So Human, Sexuality.

A look of panic crosses Kirks face. He opens his communicator.

KIRK: Scotty. I've got to get it up in ten seconds or we're all dead.


SCOTTY's desperately pulling wires and pushing buttons.

SCOTTY: I can't do it, Captain. I might be able to muster up enough energy to make it thick and heavy for awhile. But I can't do that and maintain a safety factor.

Click here to hear a bit of real Star Trek humor

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: Speculation

I saw that what she looked like was not what she really was, and what was going on inside her was not what was going on outside, and that always means there may be something to work with. In Marilyn's case, the reactions were phenomenal. She can call up emotionally what is required for a scene. Her range is infinite.--Lee Strasberg

She is a brilliant comedienne, which to me means she also is an extremely skilled actress.--Sir Laurence Olivier
I know people who say 'Hollywood broke her heart,' and all that, but I don't believe it. She was very observant and tough minded and appealing, but she adored and trusted the wrong people. She was very courageous--you know the book Twelve Against the Gods? Marilyn was like that, she had to challenge the gods at every turn.--George Cukor 
I now live in my work and in a few relationships with the few people I can really count on. Fame will go by, and so long. I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.--Marilyn Monroe.
I became interested in Marilyn Monroe about a year ago after coming across something that struck me as utterly daft, yet intriguing, in its own special way. Granted, in the past year I came across some pretty wacky stories about her. In one, J. Edgar Hoover had her killed because she was a vampire about to lead an invasion of the undead. There are women who claim to be the reincarnation of the late starlet, but that would seem impossible if the story about the CIA faking her death, and spiriting her away to Australia has any merit. I also found an article in The Weekly World News stating that she was a communist agent.

“What?” you ask. “You read The Weekly World News? Don’t you know none of the smurfing #$@! they published is true?”

Actually, TWWN is arguably the most brilliant satire of tabloid journalism anywhere, replete with ribald headlines, badly Photoshopped pics, and punny groaners. The humor is more adult than Mad, and unlike The Onion, TWWN doesn’t laugh at its own jokes. Last fall, however, something reminded me of the old saying about truth spoken in jest: Monroe’s declassified FBI file.

The FBI spent a good deal of its gray matter tracking Monroe, especially during the years 1955-1956, and again in 1962. The Bureau's documents in toto depict her as a Hollywood subversive, the type hunted down and skewered before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Although the Bureau might have incorrectly pegged her as a communist, her conduct, her viewpoints, and her associates would give one pause to wonder.

Monroe’s political ideology was markedly leftist, with passionate concerns over matters of civil rights, the burgeoning youth culture, feminism, poverty, and especially the environment. That in and of itself has never been a crime in the US, even though the FBI and HUAC often treated it as such. One FBI memo, marked “SM-C [security matter—communist],” and dated March 6, 1962, stated:

[Blacked out] informants advised Marilyn Monroe attended a luncheon at the residence of Peter Lawford with President Kennedy. Informants characterized Monroe’s views as positively and concisely leftist.
During the height of the Cold War, any prominent leftist fell under suspicion as a potential fifth columnist. Unlike many celebs, however, Monroe had ties to a number of actual American Communist Party members. Dr. Hyman Engelberg joined the Los Angeles chapter of the CPUSA somewhere around 1931. In 1933, during his internship at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Hollywood, he met Dr. Romeo Greenschpoon, who later changed his name to Ralph Greenson. Engleberg inducted Greenson into the party, and both were fairly active in it according to LACP archives. While chairing the party’s Arts, Sciences and Professions Committee in the 1940s, Greenson met Frederick Vanderbilt Field, a disinherited descendent of railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Field funded The People’s Educational Center, which taught Marxism and communist ideology to new recruits.

In a secret memo dated August 16, 1955, the FBI reported (and then later confirmed as true) rumors that Monroe had applied for a visa to the Soviet Union. Earlier, in April of that year, Monroe’s name came up again in connection to a sex-slavery ring operating out of Mexican California. This prompted the Bureau to investigate further. A confidential memo dated April 27, 1956 reported on the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions, Incorporated, and noted Monroe listed as President of the company. Her vice-president, Milton Greene, attracted much suspicion. The FBI referred to him as a communist, and to the other officers of MMP--Maurice Bauman, Irvin Stein and Sam Greengold--as communist sympathizers.

Much of the Bureau’s concerns came from her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Like many leftists who flirted with Marxism, Miller came to reject Stalinism, thus making him a poor candidate for recruitment into the NKVD. Nevertheless, HUAC ultimately subpoenaed his testimony in Washington, and cited him for contempt of Congress (later reversed on appeal) for not ratting people out. The FBI, however, still regarded Miller as a communist.

Miller first bumped into Monroe in 1951 on the soundstage of As Young as You Feel. Two days later, Elia Kazan—a “reformed” communist who, as a rumored NKVD agent, sang like a bird for HUAC—brought the two together. They corresponded over the next few years, but didn’t see each other again until 1955 when they had an affair (Miller was married to stage actress Mary Slattery at the time). They married in 1956, and immediately set out for England: he to oversee a road production of his play The Crucible; and she to film The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier. The couple didn’t seem to spend much time together on their trip, and that aroused FBI suspicions that their marriage might be some kind of cover to hide unspecified communist activity.

In his 1981 autobiography Hollywood in a Suitcase, Sammy Davis Jr. wrote that in 1956 he often loaned Monroe the use of his London pad so that she could carry on a tryst with someone he described as:

…a good friend of mine…They met clandestinely at my house….We had to get up to all sorts of intrigues to keep the affair secret. I used to pretend we were having a party, and Marilyn would arrive and leave at different times from my pal.
Some believe that the friend in question was JFK, who traveled to Europe after losing his 1956 bid for the vice-presidency. Davis, however, never mentioned the identity of his pal, and according to FBI surveillance, Monroe and the future president met in 1954 but didn’t see each other again until 1961. Then again, sneaking off for an illicit rendezvous only weeks after marrying a boyfriend that you stole from someone else seems downright odd. Secondly, Miller would have to wonder why Davis kept throwing parties where he invited his wife, but not him. And if he were on the road, why would Monroe and alleged lover need the subterfuge?

After Monroe’s 1961 divorce from Miller, the SAC of the FBI’s Mexico City field office monitored Monroe’s activities on a 1962 trip to Acapulco. Monroe arrived with Sidney Gullaroff on February 19. Accompanying them, posing as Marilyn's interior decorator, was Eunice Churchill, a secretary from the medical office suites shared by Drs. Greenson and Engelberg. Frank Sinatra arranged her entry visa through former left-wing Mexican President Miguel Alemán, who had made his name representing poor clients in lawsuits against large corporations.

Monroe ostensibly went to Mexico to buy furniture. But she spent most of her time hanging out with members of the American Communist Group in Mexico (ACGM), a loose group of US and Mexican leftists. A sudden romance with ACGM member Jose Bolaňos blossomed. Neither Dr. Greenson nor the AGCM approved of their affair, and each pressured the participants to cool their urges.

But the most interesting part of her last Mexican holiday had to do with the aforementioned Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who ostensibly met Monroe at a reception for Princess Antonia De Braganza of Portugal on February 25, 1962. They subsequently met privately, according to a heavily redacted FBI memo dated March 3, 1962. As a longtime communist, Field both supported and befriended Fidel Castro. If Monroe knew state secrets, and shared them with Field, then the Cuban leader would hear them clearly, and so would Nikita Khrushchev, both of whom might be interested to know that the American President could be compromised by his affair with the most celebrated actress in history.

Although the memos concerning the Mexico trip were penned during late-February and early-March, they came to the director’s attention on July 13, 1962. One might speculate that Hoover fumed over getting this information late, especially since he had already committed agency resources trying to prove that she and her ex-husband were communist spies. One could really go out on a limb and speculate that if she intimated to Dorothy Kilgallen that she would be willing to tell all of the state secrets she knew on August 6, Hoover might have been relieved by her death on August 4-5, especially if those secrets had to do with his relationship to organized crime.

But here’s the nut of it: Monroe spent a lot of her spare time with communists, and a lot of her spare and working time with anti-communists. Could it be that the AGCM objected to her relationship with Bolanos because they suspected her of being the Kennedys' agent? Could Dr. Greenson have objected to the relationship because news of her new love might have exposed him?

The Kennedys had numerous contacts with Monroe after she returned from Mexico, most of them at Peter Lawford’s beach house. She tried to reach RFK at least nine times in Washington during her last week of life, but only after RFK had called her (via Pat Newcomb) at her house that Saturday, perhaps in a vain effort to warn her about the Cal-Neva setup. If JFK wanted a back channel to confer privately with Castro, away from the ears of a CIA that he didn’t trust, Monroe might have been the perfect woman for the job. Her leftist bonafides were a matter of record. She entered Mexico under false pretenses, and she conferred privately with a man known to be Castro’s friend.

Of course, the above is speculation. Yet some regard this as fact. In his 1964 book The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe, right-wing journalist Frank Capell alleged that Dr. Greenson, acting on orders from both the Kennedys and Krushchev, murdered Marilyn in order to keep her from exposing JFK and RFK as communist agents. Capell relied heavily on the interviews with paramedic James Hall, who told him that Monroe was coming out of a comatose stupor when Greenson injected her breast with an unknown drug that sent her back into a coma.

As Marilyn might say, “Kooky, huh?”

Of course, no one could verify that Hall was ever a paramedic, let alone that he answered the call. Furthermore, his statement contradicts that of Ken Hunter, a real paramedic who said that he transported a comatose Monroe to Santa Monica Hospital at approximately 12:00. Given the fact that somebody had moved her body and erased signs of obvious struggle, coupled with the fact that no needle marks were found on her bosom, Hunter’s claim would seem to have more merit than Hall’s. Furthermore, like many of the John Birch Society, Capell’s claims that the Kennedys were communist stemmed more from the President’s pro-civil rights stance, and his reining in of the CIA than from any actual evidence. Consequently, I would post Capell’s theory as a 100-1 shot.

At the same time, it’s clear that someone alerted Capell to Monroe’s putative communist past, even though, most likely, she was never a communist. But Capell’s book on her hit one nail on the head: there was far more about Norma Jeane Mortensen than met the eye.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: Going to the Moll

Due to reader observation (see comments), I edited this post on August 21, 2006. The changed passage will appear in red.

As the name of her dog would indicate, the path of Marilyn Monroe’s life frequently crossed that of organized crime. Although never stipulated or proven, her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio Sr. was rumored to have had Mafia connections, specifically with Frank Sinatra and Sam “Momo” Giancana, both of whom were former beaus of Monroe. Monroe’s friends included some of Sinatra’s closest professional associates, a group collectively known as ‘The Rat Pack.’ She was also personally acquainted with kingpin Johnny Rosselli. A week before she died, Marilyn had a particularly frightful encounter with the mob.

The Mafia Killed Marilyn Monroe
Argument for: In 1961, Robert Kennedy began a Justice Department investigation of the thirty top Mafia dons in the US. Sam Giancana’s name headed the list.

According to legend, Giancana conspired to rig the 1960 presidential election with former Irish crime boss Joseph Kennedy Sr., father of candidate JFK. So RFK’s immediate commitment to bringing him in, and JFK’s lack of commitment to overthrowing Fidel Castro after the Bay of Pigs invasion really outraged him. The fact that JFK cut off all ties with Frank Sinatra and Judith Exner (a mutual mistress of JFK and Giancana) proved to the mafia don that the President meant to betray him.

In August of 1962, Robert Kennedy focused on the upcoming Jimmy Hoffa hearings scheduled for October. Hoffa’s ties to the Mafia could prove particularly dicey for many involved. RFK had been itching to take down the mob since he first became Attorney General, and he probably saw Hoffa as a means by which to expose La Cosa Nostra. Exposing the Mafia would have meant exposing FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, who not only denied that the organization existed, but deliberately drew Bureau resources away from organized crime investigation (e.g. in 1962, only two NYC field agents were dedicated to organized crime--today, 250 are on the case).

In their 1992 book Double Cross: The Explosive, Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America, Chuck Giancana and the younger Sam Giancana (respectively the elder Giancana’s kid brother and godson) alleged that Momo and Roselli planned to stop the Kennedys by framing them for the murder of Marilyn Monroe. Out of all the targets to choose from JFK’s famous harem, Monroe was the best suited. She was close to and familiar with Mafia figures. Her fame would ensure blinding outrage from the public if they thought the Kennedys had murdered her. Best of all, Hoover might help them cover up the crime. During July 1962, Hoover became obsessed with her for reasons that will become clear in the next post. Suffice it to say that he might have been relieved if she were no longer an issue.

Sinatra flew Monroe up to the Cal-Neva Lodge on Christina, his private jet, July 28, 1962. He then ordered the plane to turn around and pick up Peter Lawford at Santa Monica Airport the same day. Sinatra owned Cal-Neva. His silent partner, the elder Giancana, also appeared at the lodge that weekend, as did Johnny Rosselli (Sinatra lost his license for the Cal-Neva once this became known—Nevada prohibited gangsters from owning casino/resorts). Sinatra came as well, ostensibly to talk about What a Way to Go, a film he and Marilyn planned to make in 1963. Dean Martin was performing there that weekend, giving Monroe a desired opportunity to talk about the shooting schedule of Something’s Got to Give.

While some sources claim that Joe DiMaggio Sr. simply happened to show up, and that he and Marilyn had a good time, other sources closer to Monroe had severe misgivings about the weekend. DiMaggio’s presence there hasn’t really been explained, but some suggest that Sinatra lured him there somehow. Giancana and Roselli seem as though they wanted the Yankee Clipper around for the weekend, but they deliberately kept DiMaggio and Monroe apart. For Monroe, the brief time she spent with him became the only highlight of the trip that was otherwise a stay at a house of horrors. DiMaggio, immediately realizing what the mobsters had in store for Marilyn, became so infuriated that he never spoke to Sinatra, Giancana or Roselli for the remainder of his life.

Shortly after she arrived, Monroe received a visit from Momo Giancana, who took her away to a lengthy meeting with Sinatra, and Roselli, among others. FBI Special Agent Bill Roemer, in charge of electronic surveillance of Giancana in 1962, claimed that he monitored a discussion of this meeting in Chicago weeks after Monroe’s death. According to him, the mobsters bragged about drugging Monroe and gang raping her. What else might have occurred at this meeting would be anyone’s guess.

Upon returning to LA on July 30, a visibly upset Monroe told her acting coach, Paula Strasberg, that she feared the Mafia. According to the younger Giancana’s version, the weekend at Cal-Neva was actually a setup to attempt an alternate plan for destroying the Kennedys, one that wouldn't require Monroe’s death. If she could implicate the Kennedys by exposing her past affair with JFK, alleging an affair with RFK, and dropping a couple of state secrets (presumably because of her dalliance with the brothers), then perhaps that would be sufficient.

For whatever reason, the mobsters allegedly carried out the hit through mob enforcer Felix “Milwaukee Phil” Alderisio. Alderisio, according to the Giancanas, had to find some way to lure RFK to the house on 12305 North Helena in order to set him up. Monroe’s numerous calls, and finally the gossip column penned by Dorothy Kilgallen apparently persuaded Kennedy to drop by and “reason with her,” on August 4, 1962 at approximately 11:00pm--the same time reported by Norman Jeffries. Meanwhile, Alderisio and his henchmen waited outside her bedroom window for Kennedy to leave, which he did around midnight. Once they had Monroe alone, the hitmen broke in through the window, drugged her into submission with an injection of chloral hydrate, and then administered the Nembutal-laced suppository that killed her. Nembutal suppositories were reportedly Alderisio’s weapon of choice when exterminating celebrities for many of them took the drug.
Unfortunately for the mob, Peter Lawford’s concerns about Monroe led him to discover the death before police could be notified. He and Pat Newcomb, both identified at the scene shortly after midnight by paramedic James Hall, sanitized Monroe’s house, meticulously removing all the incriminating evidence pointing to RFK before having Dr. Greenson call West Los Angeles police at 4:25am.

Argument against: The Giancanas’ account explains many of the facts if Monroe’s death in a manner consistent with the physical evidence. In addition to the rectal discoloration, and the absence of residue in her stomach mouth and digestive tract, the Giancanas offer a plausible explanation for a piece of evidence that many tended to gloss over. Monroe's bedroom window had been broken into. Dr. Greenson, perhaps not knowing what to make of it at the time, claimed that he broke into the window because the door was locked. Yet, Sgt. Clemmons found no lock on the bedroom door.

On the other hand, the Giancanas also made a number of statements that were inconsistent with the forensic evidence, and claims that conflict with those of other witnesses. First of all, if the alleged killers began the hit after 12:00 midnight on August 5, then paramedics would not have found Monroe in a state of advanced rigor mortis at 5:00am. Secondly, if the killers injected her with chloral hydrate (the same chemical used in Mickey Finns) to knock her out, that would have taken some time. Furthermore, one would have to wonder where they might have injected her, since Dr. Thomas Noguchi found no needle punctures during the autopsy.

As for witness statements, no one can place RFK at the Monroe house as late as 12:00 midnight, not even Jeffries who claimed that he came back to the house between 11:15-11:30pm on August 4 to find Monroe in a comatose state. There is also a problem in that Monroe put down her telephone receiver when talking to her boyfriend Jose Bolanos at 10:00pm, and never put it back on the hook. And her publicist Arthur Jacobs received news of her death at 10:30pm, a finding that more firmly jibes with the actual time of death.

Odds that the Mafia killed Marilyn Monroe: The Giancana’s version of Monroe’s death came from the stories they received directly from those who claimed to have participated in it. Thus, they heard the accounts years after the fact. Naturally, some details might have been embellished, forgotten, and distorted by the claimants over a period of time. Further memory erosion might have occurred on the part of authors, who only wrote about the story years after those involved were safely dead and buried (Alderisio died in 1971, Roselli in 1976, and the elder Sam Giancana was murdered in 1975, shortly before his scheduled testimony in front of the Church Committee) The Giancanas might have also added in some external gossip and speculation by such Monroe biographers as Robert Slatzer and Anthony Summers in order to spice up their account in a way that would seem more credible now than it would have in 1962.

Milo Speriglio, a private detective who independently investigated Monroe’s death, published his findings in a 1982 book titled Marilyn Monroe: Murder Cover-Up, which came to the same basic conclusion that the Mafia had murdered Monroe to frame the Kennedys. The difference was that his account squared much more neatly with forensic and witness evidence. Later on, he teamed with Adela Gregory, another PI, to write a 1992 book titled Crypt 33: The Saga of Marilyn Monroe--The Final Word. The authors added additional evidence that Alderisio killed Monroe on behalf of Roselli and Giancana, but added that the mobsters had her silenced not to frame the Kennedys but to appease them. Whether the Kennedy brothers specifically requested the favor, or if the Mafia took it upon themselves to put the President and Attorney General into their debt, one thing is for certain: the Kennedy’s didn’t appear the least bit grateful.

What has also become clear over the years is that someone killed Monroe (because of the virtual impossibility of pill residue absence) and that someone covered it up (because of the refusal to allow Dr. Noguchi to conduct further and necessary toxicological tests, and because of the theft of stomach contents and internal organs immediately after the autopsy). Consequently, I strongly agree with former LA County Deputy District Attorney John Miner’s recommendation that authorities give her case further consideration.

Roselli and Giancana, whether working on the Kennedys’ behalf or their own, had threatened an increasingly independent Monroe one week before her death. They certainly had motive to kill her. Alderisio had experience concocting celebrity deaths, although perhaps he outsmarted himself by leaving open the question of suicide or accident. Out of the Kennedys, Dr. Greenson and the Mafia, the last choice is the most logical one. For that reason, I list their odds of doing away with Marilyn at even money.

There is another suspect in the death of Marilyn Monroe. The theory, first voiced in 1965, alleged a far whackier rationale for her demise. While a longshot at best, this particular hypothesis addresses some intringuing, but verifiable aspects of Monroe’s life, and offers a deeper understanding of who she was.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: Deadly Kennedys

In the interest of disclosure, I must admit to approaching the following with a certain bias. I will attempt to keep my prejudices out of this. However, if you feel that my esteem for, and personal memories of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (the account of which you can read at the sister site, 23rd Mandalation) have led me astray, then by all means voice that concern.

The Murder of Marilyn Monroe by John and Robert Kennedy

Argument for: Phone records show that Monroe made at least nine attempts to reach Robert Kennedy at the Justice Department during her last week of life. (She also called from a nearby payphone after suspecting that someone had tapped her line.) She voiced her outrage over RFK’s non-response to columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. The CIA, FBI and the US Air Force all knew about the Kilgallen interview because of the wiretap transcript dated August 3, 1962.

The timing of Monroe’s threatened press conference couldn’t have been more deadly to the Kennedys. In mid-July, three of JFK’s close friends, Milton Gould, John Loeb, and Samuel Roseman, controlled the 20th Century Fox board of directors. They fired Monroe from the shoot of Something’s Got to Give over the protestations of her co-star, Dean Martin. The termination could have effectively ruined her career. Several weeks earlier, on June 25, studio executive Peter Levathes received an order to renegotiate Monroe’s contract. Levathes understood that Robert Kennedy had directed the order through Roseman, Gould and Loeb. Simply put, the Kennedy’s had control of Marilyn’s career.

Nevertheless, Monroe had one ally on the board:  Darryl Zanuck. In a July 25th meeting, Zanuck took control of the board and forced Roseman, Loeb and Gould into resignation. Zanuck then reinstated Monroe, who now had complete freedom from the Kennedy’s in terms of her work. She also had the freedom to say anything about them.

Monroe clearly knew state secrets. She had only spoken of several with Kilgallen, but it’s quite possible that she didn’t reveal everything. She also knew about the extramarital affairs of both Kennedy brothers. Revelations of sexual dalliance could jeopardize JFK’s re-election bid, and seriously damage RFK’s political future. Worse yet, because the source of the state secrets were most likely those two, and since nothing has yet surfaced to indicate that Monroe was authorized to receive classified information, the Kennedys could have faced possible criminal sanctions for treason, a capital offense.

Although RFK was allegedly in the Bay area of California throughout the entirety of August 4, 1962, eight different sources place him in or around Los Angeles from noon to the following morning: 20th Century Fox publicist Frank Neill, who claimed to have seen RFK exit a helicopter near Stage Fourteen of the studio complex; Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty and LAPD Intelligence officer Darryl Gates, whose investigation found that RFK had checked into the Beverly Hills Hilton; Eunice Murray, Monroe’s housekeeper; Norman Jeffries, Murray’s son-in-law, who was putting in a new kitchen floor; Sidney Gullaroff, Monroe’s hairdresser, who said that the starlet told him about RFK’s earlier visit during their final telephone conversation; Fred Otash, who had allegedly bugged Monroe’s house on behalf of unknown clients; an unnamed government source who contacted Monroe biographer Anthony Summers about the Otash tapes; and Elizabeth Pollard, Monroe’s neighbor.

Murray and Jeffries agreed that RFK came twice that day: once with Peter Lawford at 3:00pm, and again with unknown men at 10:00pm. Pollard clamed to have seen Kennedy at approximately 3:00 and 8:00. Jeffries said that he and Murray returned after watching Kennedy and company leave the premises at about 10:30pm. They subsequently found a comatose Monroe in the guest house moments after Kennedy's departure.

Nobody suspects that Kennedy had the wherewithal to actually administer any Nembutal to Monroe in a violent manner, but instead ordered the accompanying men to do it. Since Murray and Jeffries saw no one else come, or enter, it would appear that RFK ordered Monroe’s death.

Argument against: Despite witness claims, no one can prove that Robert Kennedy actually came to the house at 12305 North Helena Drive on August 4, 1962 or any other date. Even if Kennedy made an appearance in LA that day, no one can reliably place him at Monroe’s house at the time of her death. From a distance, Neill and Pollard both saw someone, who resembled RFK, in motion. Murray denied seeing RFK at all, until 1985, but then quickly recanted the change in statement. Likewise, Gullaroff refused to say that RFK had visited that day until 1995. Yorty and Gates claimed that RFK was in LA because his name appeared on a hotel register, not because anyone had actually seen him. Yet, even if someone were to report at this late date that they had, they still couldn’t place the Attorney General at Monroe’s house.

The most believable witness placing RFK at the house that night, Jeffries, reported his story for the first time in 1993, some thirty-one years after the event. Although Jeffries was definitely in the house at noon, Murray did not mention his presence there afterward. In a 2003 interview, Jeffries, at that time terminally ill and wheelchair-bound, explained that he was only "in the vicinity of the house” during the time in question. He went on to say that Kennedy and Lawford came back a third time to move the body from the guest house to the bedroom, where they “cleaned up” any evidence implicating them. Jeffries did not say this in 1993, however, and one would have to wonder why Kennedy and company wouldn’t simply take her back to the bedroom, and “clean up” when they were all there at 10:00pm. After all, if Jeffries were correct, Kennedy couldn’t look any less culpable at 3:00am than at 10:00pm. Even more interesting, no one from the police, the press or the FBI spoke to Jeffries until Summers approached him in 1993. Although Jeffries told Summers that he and Murray went to the house next door, the next-door neighbors didn’t recall seeing him.

In other words, Jeffries had thirty-one years to tell this story. He didn’t offer it to investigators when Los Angeles County reopened the case in 1982. He changed his position over the course of time. Most importantly, he contradicted himself to implicate Robert Kennedy. No one claiming to be a paramedic on the case saw him there either.

The surveillance equipment Veronica Hamel spent $100K to remove from Monroe’s former house came from somewhere, and Otash was quite a suitable source. Surely, if Otash said that he heard Kennedy enter that afternoon, he would have known from the surveillance. But since these tapes have never surfaced, we only have the PI’s word as to the content of those tapes. And Otash’s word wasn’t worth much.

In 1961, Otash hinted in his advertisements that he had the endorsement of the FBI. Although not entirely accurate, the ad essentially told the truth. A detailed 1959 FBI memo gave a comprehensive overview of Otash’s career as an FBI informant from as far back as 1955. Otash had become well known in Hollywood as a shakedown artist. A 1961 memo specifically stated that Confidential Magazine employed Otash to “dig up dirt” on Lawford and RFK in April of that year. Another FBI memo, dated April 23, 1965 disclosed that Otash had investigated Monroe in 1954 at the behest of Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio Sr., the latter to see if his then-wife had been sleeping around on him.

The FBI had also investigated him for illegal electronic surveillance in 1957. In a 1959 background check, the Bureau also found that he had three prior criminal convictions for doping horses, breaking and entering, and planting evidence. He also had numerous Mafia connections. If you’re thinking these things would have killed the FBI’s faith in him as an informant/operator, then think something else. The Bureau continued to utilize his services until 1979.

In trying to dig up dirt for Confidential, Otash probably heard rumors about JFK’s affair with Monroe, but not RFK’s. The rumors about the JFK-MM affair had begun to swirl as early as 1956. Yet, according to the FBI’s surveillance of both Kennedy and Monroe, they met in 1954, and didn’t meet again until 1961. Although the FBI’s observation strongly implied an affair between JFK and Monroe, nothing indicated that she had had an affair with Robert Kennedy. In fact, no one in 1962 had placed RFK with Monroe. The first hints of a liaison between the two began during the 1970s.

In his 1974 book The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe, Richard Slatzer was the first to mention an affair between Robert Kennedy and Monroe. He claimed that at noon on August 4, 1962, Monroe fired her press secretary, Pat Newcomb, after finding out that she was a Kennedy spy. Yet, Newcomb refused to leave because she insisted on waiting for a call from Robert Kennedy. Slatzer said that he knew this because he was at the house by 12:30pm. Yet, no one placed Slatzer there that day, and even Wolfe and other authors citing him as proof of RFK’s complicity admit that his claim of being there did not check out. Furthermore, no one close to Monroe had ever heard of Slatzer until he published his book. Despite Slatzer’s claim that the starlet married him, Bernice, Monroe’s sister, had never heard of him either, and Slatzer could not produce a marriage license or anything else to show that the nuptials had taken place.

The other reports of Robert Kennedy’s involvement begin in 1985 with Murray’s temporary disclosure. The legend has since grown to suggest that Robert, not John, was Marilyn Monroe’s major love interest. But no one said this in 1962. In fact, Monroe’s masseuse said the star told him she had no sexual interest in Robert, only in John. Peter Lawford only mentioned her obsession with John, not Robert.

For one simple reason, the years-after-the-fact placement of Kennedy at Monroe’s house indicates that someone else murdered her: J. Edgar Hoover, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Mafia hated the Kennedys’ guts. Hoffa’s ties with the Mafia were well known, as were Hoover’s. The FBI chief’s gambling addiction indebted him to Mafioso Johnny Rosselli, according to former FBI Special Agent William Turner. Whether the Mafia or the FBI bugged Monroe’s house, the other would have known about it. If the Mafia knew about it, then Hoffa knew about it. Had Robert Kennedy actually appeared on those tapes, even if he’s innocently there to talk about the weather, the FBI, Hoffa, and the Mafia could have used the tapes as leverage against the Kennedy brothers.

Yet, if Hoover, the mob, or Hoffa had leverage against Kennedy, they apparently opted not to use it. Hoffa’s trial for embezzling from the Teamster’s pension fund began promptly in October of 1962. After a mistrial due to jury tampering, a second trial found Hoffa guilty in 1964, and sentenced him to eight years in prison. In September 1963, Robert Kennedy began the Joseph Valachi hearings, which exposed the Mafia to the greatest extent in US history. Hoover, who for many years publicly denied that the Mafia even existed, looked mighty small as the former Genovese wiseguy named names on live national television, outlined protocols and procedures, and gave an in depth look at how the mob operated around the globe.

In short, all three of these parties were severely damaged by one Robert Kennedy. Yet, Summers, Wolfe and others would have us believe that Hoffa, the Mafia and/or the FBI had the means to blackmail Kennedy into backing down, but refused to defend themselves.

Odds that the Kennedy brothers killed Monroe: Despite the fact that only tainted evidence implicates John and Robert Kennedy in Monroe's killing, the possibility remains that others may have killed her on their behalf. For that reason, I’m listing this as a 20-1 shot.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: Two Hypotheses

Forgive the delay. I intended to put this post up Friday night. My computer monitor had other plans, however. It conked out completely Thursday, and I wasn't able to replace it until yesterday.

As our friend Schaumi pointed out, there are three distinct theories on how Marilyn Monroe died: (1) she committed suicide; (2) her death came about accidentally; or (3) someone murdered her. Of that last theory, the suspects include the Kennedys, the Mafia, the Teamsters Union, and the CIA. Since 1962 another group emerged as a possible suspect.

Argument for: Drs. Curphey and Noguchi had good reason to suspect suicide. Monroe had a history of suicide attempts. She also had a Nembutal addiction. Furthermore, she faced workplace pressures from her movie Something’s Got to Give. Her 1957 miscarriage had a devastating effect on her. On top of that, her alleged boyfriends, John Kennedy and his brother Robert, had recently spurned her. Murray’s supposed conversation with Monroe about oxygen would suggest that she had planned on making another suicide attempt that night. After all, if she were to down a handful of Nembutal tablets, she would have also wanted someone to revive her. And she recalled that paramedics gave her oxygen on the previous attempts.

More troubling to her general psyche was the fact that her father abandoned her. She never knew his identity. Her mother, Gladys, had dropped plausible hints that her father was none other than actor Clark Gable. For years, Monroe entertained the notion that the megastar might be her dad. The previous year, however, Gable suffered a fatal heart attack after filming a movie with Monroe titled The Misfits. Rumors swirled in Hollywood circles that Marilyn’s constant lateness to the set, her inability to remember her lines, and overall unprofessional conduct contributed to Gable’s stress and subsequent death. The gossip drove her into despair.

Argument against: While if left to her own doing Monroe might have eventually done herself in, the forensic evidence seriously challenges the notion that she actually did. If she had taken pills during her telephone calls that night, as some suicide adherents believe, there would have been some residual traces found in her mouth, stomach or digestive tract. The only way she could have committed suicide would have been to have administered an enema to herself--highly unlikely since she would have to have prepared it, inserted it, and disposed of it (so well that investigators could not find it) before lapsing into a coma. It’s even more unlikely that she would have administered an enema when she had fifty freshly prescribed Nembutal pills on hand, as she did.

Although Dr. Noguchi said that he had seen overdose cases where no traces of drugs were found in the victim's stomach or digestive tract, he conceded that such was very rare. That was his reason for ordering additional toxicology work. Toxicologist Dr. Robert Cravey, in his seminal 1972 book Toxicology and Pathological Studies on Psychoactive Drug-Induced Death (co written with neurologist Dr. Louis Gottschalk), found undigested drugs in the stomach of every one of the 1,500 oral lethal overdose victims he studied.

More important, however, is the question of whether or not Monroe felt particularly suicidal that night. Abundant evidence exists to show that this was not the case. True, Fox initially fired her after being late one too many times on the set of Something’s Got to Give, but she was triumphantly reinstated a couple of weeks later. She had been in contact with Joe DiMaggio that week, and seemed hopeful about a possible reconciliation. She had planned a press conference for August 6. While Lawford, Bolanos, Gullaroff, and Joe DiMaggio Jr. said that her speech was sluggish at times, she didn’t sound the least bit depressed to them. Bolanos’s take is extremely interesting in that one would hardly expect someone to commit suicide mid-sentence during a telephone conversation.

Odds for the suicide verdict: Not very likely. A 100-1 shot at best.

Argument for: The concentration of Nembutal in Monroe’s bloodstream was extremely high, but the amount in her liver quadrupled that. The amount in her liver could only have come about through Monroe’s deliberate consumption of pills. Since Dr. Hyman Engelberg had refilled her Nembutal prescription the day before, she would have had ample opportunity to metabolize a number of pills had she taken them the night before. They would still have been in her system, but there would not be any trace of them in her digestive tract.

According to Dr. Noguchi, she had eighty micrograms of chloral hydrate in her system. Thirty micrograms would be enough to make you sick. One hundred micrograms would kill you.

Dr. Greenson might have administered an enema of chloral hydrate the night of Monroe’s death for two reasons: (1) to help her sleep without the use of Nembutal, and (2) to slow down the metabolism of Nembutal. Dr. Greenson might not have known that Monroe had already metabolized a large dose of Nembutal. Furthermore, he might have assumed that Dr. Engelberg might have also prescribed chloral hydrate. As Monroe’s sister Bernice Baker Miracle stated in her 1994 biography of Marilyn, Engelberg and Greenson cooperated closely in their treatments of the starlet. Moreover, both physicians agreed that they had to wean her off of Nembutal. If they had been off in their communication that day, then the two doctors might have unwittingly set the stage for a lethal drug interaction.

Argument against: One would have to question why a doctor with only one patient would so cavalierly apply an extremely high dosage of chloral hydrate to said patient, despite knowing the potentially lethal interaction it could have with a drug he already knew she had taken. Furthermore, Monroe, like many pill-popping celebs, had considerable knowledge of pharmacology. It’s doubtful that she would allow Greenson to administer an enema without at least telling him she had already taken a lot of Nembutal in the past twenty-four hours.

Most important, neither the chloral hydrate alone nor in combination with Nembutal caused Monroe’s death. Her death was specifically caused by Nembutal poisoning. Since Greenson and Engelberg were trying to wean her off of Nembutal, they would more likely have administered chloral hydrate, not more Nembutal.

Even more sinister, the evidence that could have cleared Drs. Engelberg and Greenson of negligence—stomach contents, smear material and internal organs—conveniently disappeared after the autopsy, according to Deputy District Attorney John Miner’s investigation. Were this nothing more than an accidental overdose, one that involved no powerful elites in showbiz, organized crime or politics (assuming a disparity among these three things), the Medical Examiner’s office (or any other investigative body) would ostensibly have little motive for hiding such things, especially to protect a couple of Hollywood docs.

Odds of the accident verdict: Not very good, but certainly better than the suicide hypothesis. We’ll tout this as a 25-1 shot.

So what’s with the betting odds? Perhaps they’re my way of telling you that the smart money is on the third remaining possibility: murder. The question is, by whom?

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: The Contradictions

Marilyn Monroe, that is. Not The Almighty Heidi.

One thing that marks the death of Marilyn Monroe as bizarre is the conflicting stories of witnesses about what they did, what they knew, and what they discovered the night of her death. But that’s not all they dispute. They dispute many of the other facets of the timeline presented in the previous post. Before arguing on behalf of one conclusion or another, I’d like to present the competing and contradictory eyewitness accounts of her last week.

The Official Story

The version of events presented by housekeeper Eunice Murray (left), Monroe’s personal physician Dr. Hyman Engleberg and her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson is generally regarded as the official one.

Monroe had become despondent over a romantic breakup (presumably with Robert Kennedy), and his refusal to return her phone calls. She also stressed over the delays in the filming of her next movie Something’s Got to Give. She had become somewhat paranoid about her associates, accusing them of being either Kennedy plants or Mafia spies.

Murray said that she went to bed around 10:00pm on the night of August 4, 1962. She passed by Monroe’s bedroom at 3:00am the following morning, and saw the lights on under the crack between the door and the floor. She tried to open the door, but it was locked. Fearing the worst, she called both Dr. Engleberg and Dr. Greenson. Greenson forced entry through her bedroom window and found Monroe stretched out nude on the bed with the telephone in her hand. Both he and Engleberg examined her, but quickly realized that she had died. They called the police at 4:25am.

Because of her history of suicide attempts, the strain of her filming schedule, and the amount of Nembutal in her system (enough to kill ten people), Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Dr. Theodore Curphey ruled her death a suicide.

Norman Jeffries and James Hall’s Version

Jeffries, Murray’s son-in-law, had been installing a new kitchen floor at Monroe’s place that week. He drove Murray, who had spent the previous night at her own apartment, to the house. They arrived at 8:00am on August 4, 1962. Monroe came into the kitchen briefly for a glass of grapefruit juice at about 8:30, met with a representative of Playboy at 9:30am, then went back to bed before being aroused awake for good by Newcomb at 12:00am

At about 1:00, Murray asked for her son-in-law's help in moving her belongings because Monroe had just fired her. Murray called Dr. Greenson immediately. According to Jeffries, however, Greenson didn’t arrive until 4:30pm. Jeffries also said that Robert Kennedy and Peter Lawford arrived around 3:00pm. Lawford told them to get lost while he and Kennedy spoke to Monroe privately. The attorney general and his brother-in-law left around 4:00pm.

At. 9:45 pm, Kennedy returned with two men in tow. The Attorney General ordered him and Murray to leave the premises. They then went to the house next door to stay, and returned at 10:30pm. They heard Monroe’s poodle Maf (short for Mafia—the dog was a present from Frank Sinatra) barking near the guest cottage, where they found Monroe unconscious, but still alive, so they called paramedics.

Newcomb and Lawford arrived before the ambulance came. Paramedics James Hall and Murray Liebowitz claimed that they saw Newcomb and Lawford at the scene. Moments after they got there, Dr. Greenson pulled up. Thirty minutes later Dr. Engleberg joined them. Hall tried to inject a shot of adrenaline directly into Monroe’s heart, but struck a rib instead. Monroe began to revive on her own, however. At that point, according to Hall, Greenson injected her breast with an unknown drug (perhaps chloral hydrate, which slows the metabolism of Nembutal). She died shortly thereafter. Hall and Jeffries then moved the body to the bedroom, while an unnamed plainclothes West Los Angeles Police detective instructed them on how to make the death look like a suicide.

Peter Lawford’s Version

Despite their recent falling out, Sinatra loaned Lawford (left) his private jet to fly out to Cal-Neva Lodge the previous weekend. According to him, he spent time there with Joe DiMaggio Sr. and Monroe. He and Monroe returned together on Sinatra’s plane.

Lawford said he didn’t have much contact with her the following week. After eating dinner with Newcomb and Joe Naar at his house, he called Monroe at about 7:45 to invite her over for a party. She said she didn’t feel like coming, and cryptically added, “Say goodbye to the President….You’re a nice guy.”

The cryptic remark didn’t sit well with Lawford, so he called his manager and friend Milt Ebbens for advice. Ebbens told him not to go to Monroe’s house if she were suicidal because that would look bad for his brothers-in-law were he to find her dead. Ebbens instead called Monroe’s attorney Milton Rudin, who then called the house at 8:30. Murray answered, and went to check on Monroe, who said she felt fine.

Still, Lawford worried. He called again around 10:30pm, but both telephone lines were busy. So he called Naar, who had left the party early, and asked him to check on Monroe. Before Naar had a chance to leave, he received another call from Milton Rudin telling him that a trip to Monroe’s house “wouldn’t be necessary.”

In 1982, Lawford gave reporters what he thought would be a deathbed interview (he actually passed away two years later). He denied that Monroe had had an affair with either John Kennedy or Robert Kennedy. He further insisted that he did not visit Monroe on August 4, 1962.

Ken Hunter’s Version

Paramedic Ken Hunter said that he responded to a call at 12305 North Helena Drive shortly after 12:00 midnight on August 5, 1962. He found Monroe in her bed comatose, but still alive. He and his partner transported her to Santa Monica Hospital where she died shortly after her arrival.

Elizabeth Pollard’s Version

Pollard claimed to have seen Robert Kennedy enter Monroe’s house at 3:00pm on August 4, 1962. While playing cards with several friends later that evening, she saw him return with two other men just as the sun had set (approximately 8:00pm PDT). According to her, one man carried a bag similar to the kind that doctors use.

Jose Bolanos’s Version

Bolanos and Monroe both claimed to have met in February 1962 in Acapulco (Mexico). They fell in love, and met twice after that: once in New York, and again in Los Angeles, where he accompanied her to the Golden Globe Awards show. According to him, the two planned to marry sometime in 1963.

Bolanos called her at 9:30pm on the night of August 4, 1962, and she told him a number of secrets that he described as “shocking.” About twenty minutes into their conversation, she told him that someone was at the door. She put down the phone, but never returned.

Fred Otash’s Version

During her final week of life, Monroe allegedly met with private investigator Fred Otash to ask for his help in debugging her house. Ostensibly, she wanted to see if she could lure Robert Kennedy there so that she could blackmail him. Otash didn’t tell her, however, that he had already done the actual bugging of her house and wiretapping of her telephone with help from Jimmy Hoffa associate Bernie Spindel. A chain of unknown persons paid him for the job, so Otash never knew for sure the actual identity of his client. Nevertheless, he speculated that either the Mafia, Hoffa, or both wanted to blackmail the Kennedys.

While monitoring the house on August 4, Otash recorded a heated argument between Monroe and Robert Kennedy at approximately 3:30pm. “Where is it?” Kennedy thundered repeatedly, as the clacking of closet hangers, and the opening of drawers loomed in the background. Intermittently, the voice of a second man appeared, but the volume of his voice was too soft to make out actual words.

Sam Giancana (lesser)’s Version

In his book Double Cross: The Explosive, Inside Story of the Mobster Who Controlled America (co-written by Chuck Giancana, the elder Sam's little brother), Giancana said that his godfather Sam put out a hit on Monroe. The purpose was to blackmail Robert Kennedy by tying him romantically to Monroe, and then leaving evidence that would implicate him in her murder. Working with a fellow mobster, Johnny Roselli, they began to set up the wet job during Monroe’s stay at the Cal-Neva Lodge. They hired professional hitmen Anthony Spilotro and “Milwaukee” Phil Alderisio, who boasted to the younger Giancanas that he and his “boys” had given Marilyn a “poisoned suppository.”

Richard Slatzer’s Version

Slatzer (pictured left with Monroe) claimed to have been a close friend of Marilyn’s since 1945. He also claimed that he married her in 1952. During the week of her death, she allegedly showed him her diary, which detailed her affairs with President John Kennedy and his brother Robert. On the day of her death, he said he went to Monroe’s house, where Murray served them hamburgers for lunch. As they ate, Monroe fired Pat Newcomb, who refused to leave.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: A Contested Timeline of Events.

Cyberpal Reflextions used to scold me for not posting timelines in complicated stories, so I thought I would try it this time. Unfortunately, there’s much disagreement as to the particulars.  But in order to provide a rough framework, what follows is a general outline of events.

July 30-31, 1962: The Cal-Neva Lodge; Tahoe, NV
Frank Sinatra urges Monroe to take time off at the Cal-Neva Lodge. While there, she bumps into her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio Sr. Although the couple has a fun time together, they strongly suspect that John and Robert Kennedy had set them up to meet via Sinatra.

August 3, 1962

Dorothy Kilgallen publishes a newspaper column referring to Monroe’s affair with John Kennedy.
Dr. Hyman Engelberg refills Monroe’s Nembutal prescription.

Pat Newcomb, Monroe's press agent sleeps over at Monroe's house that night.

August 4, 1962, 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood, CA
12:00 noon—Newcomb wakens Marilyn.

12:30pm—Murray calls Dr. Ralph Greenson to report the conversation about oxygen.

1:00pm (approximately)—Dr. Greenson arrives at Monroe’s house. He spends the next few hours talking to Monroe.

5:45 (approximately)—After Monroe berates her, Newcomb leaves at the suggestion of Dr. Greenson.

7:00pm—Dr. Greenson leaves

7:15pm—Monroe takes a telephone call from Joe DiMaggio, Jr. She discusses the weekend she spent with his father, and counsels her ex-stepson on his love life.

7:45pm—Monroe receives a call from Peter Lawford, who first invites her to a party at his house later that evening, but then voices concerns about her slurred speech.

8:30pm—Monroe receives a call from Sidney Gularoff. She boasts that she knows many dangerous secrets about the Kennedys.

9:30pm—Monroe receives a call from Jose Bolanos. She tells him secrets that the filmmaker never discloses.

10:30pm—Arthur Jacobs receives a call informing him that Monroe is dead.

September 5, 1962

3:30am (approximately)—Murray telephones Dr. Greenson to tell him that Monroe is dead. He rushes over.

4:25am—Sgt. Jack Clemmons receives the report of Monroe’s death.

5:00am—Paramedics arrive at the house at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive. They note that the body is in an advance state of rigor mortis, thus indicating that the death had to have occurred between 9:30pm-11:30pm the night before.

Afternoon—Murray packs up her things and moves out of the house. Within days, she tours Europe after, in her words, “coming into some money.”

August 13, 1962; Medical Examiner’s Office, Los Angeles County

Dr. Thomas Noguchi, who had performed the autopsy on Monroe, completes her Medical Examiner’s Summary Report. Among other things, he finds: (1) the decedent is in fact Marilyn Monroe; (2) she died from Nembutal poisoning; (3) the concentration of Nembutal in her liver quadrupled the amount in her bloodstream; (4) a “star-shaped discoloration” encircling her rectum; (5) no indication of needle marks; and (6) no Nembutal pills or residue in her mouth, stomach or digestive tract.

Because of the high amount of Nembutal in her blood and liver, Noguchi prepares tissue samples for a laboratory to conduct further toxicology testing until his superior, Dr. Theodore Curphey, informs him that "it won't be necessary."

Deputy District Attorney John Miner, who witnessed the autopsy, prepares for a homicide case.


Los Angeles County reopens the investigation of the Monroe case. Miner, now a private attorney, tells investigators that Dr. Greenson’s tapes of Monroe indicate that she never did suffer from depression.

In a US television interview, Bolanos stated that during their final conversation, Monroe gave him secret information, “that would shock the whole world.”

Dr. Noguchi is fired as Chief Medical Examiner of Los Angeles County, ostensibly for taking tissue samples home to study. Although a mild transgression, the media vilify the pathologist, and paint him as ghoulish, depraved, and mentally unstable.

c. 1988

After purchasing the house at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Veronica Hamel discovers 1960s-era bugging equipment throughout the house. She and her husband pay $100,000 to remove it.

August 5, 2005

The Los Angeles Times publishes an interview with John Miner, in which the former prosecutor stated his belief that Monroe’s death was due to murder.

You'll notice that there's a big gap between what happened at approximately 10:00pm on the night of August 4th, 1962 and 3:30am on the morning of August 5th. A number of different witnesses gave wildly contradictory accounts of what went on during that time. We will outline those differences in the next post.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Twilight of the Sex Goddess: Playbill

Marilyn Monroe’s premature demise has all the makings of a first-rate murder mystery: glamour, sex, a web of romantic entanglements among the rich and famous, intrigue, and deception. So here, at The X-Spot, we will present this particular story more in terms of a drama.


12305 Fifth Helena Drive; Brentwood, CA
The Cal-Neva Lodge; Tahoe, NV
Santa Monica Hospital; Santa Monica, CA

Personae Dramatis

Marilyn Monroe—Decedent: Arguably the most celebrated star in the history of film.

Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio--Mafioso, associate of the elder Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli.

Jose Bolanos—Screenwriter and film director, Marilyn Monroe’s boyfriend

Sgt. Jack Clemmons—Officer, West Los Angeles Police Department

Dr. Theodore Curphey—Chief Medical Examiner, Los Angeles County

Joe DiMaggio, Jr.—Son of Joe DiMaggio, Sr. and Marilyn Monroe’s ex-stepson

Joe DiMaggio, Sr.—Father of Joe DiMaggio, Jr., Marilyn Monroe’s ex-husband, and possibly her boyfriend at the time of her death

Milt Ebbens—Friend of Peter Lawford and Milton Rudin

Dr. Hyman Engleberg MD—Marilyn Monroe’s personal physician

Sam Giancana (elder)—Mafia Don and godfather of Sam Giancana

Sam Giancana (lesser)—Author and godson of Sam Giancana

Dr. Ralph Greenson MD—Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatrist and friend of Eunice Murray

Sidney Gullaroff—Marilyn Monroe’s friend and hairdresser

Veronica Hamel—Actress, future resident of 12305 Fifth Helena Drive; Brentwood, CA

Jimmy Hoffa—Former Teamsters President, an enemy of the Kennedy brothers

J. Edgar Hoover—FBI chief in 1962

Ken Hunter—Paramedic

Arthur Jacobs--Marilyn Monroe's publicist, Pat Newcomb's boss.

Norman Jeffries—Son-in-law of Eunice Murray.

John Kennedy—US President, ex-boyfriend of Marilyn Monroe, brother of Robert Kennedy, brother in-law of Peter Lawford, and friend of Dorothy Kilgallen

Robert Kennedy—US Attorney General, alleged ex-boyfriend of Marilyn Monroe, brother-in-law of Peter Lawford, and brother of John Kennedy

Dorothy Kilgallen—Gossip columnist, friend of Marilyn Monroe and John Kennedy

Peter Lawford--Actor, friend of Marilyn Monroe, Milt Ebbens, Joe Naar, Frank Sinatra, and brother-in-law of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy

John Miner--Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County

Eunice Murray—Mother-in-law of Norman Jeffries, friend of Dr. Ralph Greenson, and Marilyn Monroe’s housekeeper/maid.

Joe Naar—Friend of Peter Lawford, neighbor of Marilyn Monroe

Pat Newcomb—Marilyn Monroe’s press agent

Dr. Thomas Noguchi—Deputy Medical Examiner, Los Angeles County

Elizabeth Pollard—Marilyn Monroe’s neighbor

Johnny Roselli--Mafioso, and associate of Sam Giancana and Phil Aldersio, friend and benefactor of J. Edgar Hoover.

Milton Rudin—Friend of Milt Ebbens and Marilyn Monroe’s attorney

Frank Sinatra—Actor, pop star, and according to daughter Tina Sinatra, a CIA agent and Mafioso; ex-boyfriend of Marilyn Monroe, friend of John Kennedy, the elder Sam Giancana and Peter Lawford; ex-friend of Dorothy Kilgallen

Anthony Spilotro--Mafia hitman

Sam Yorty—Mayor of Los Angeles and acquaintance of the Kennedy brothers

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

This Dish Was Served Cold

The blonde in this photograph has become so iconic that she needs neither introduction nor explanation. Her onscreen persona electrified audiences with its contradictory elements of naivite and connivance. Although I found her adorable in such movies as Some Like it Hot and The Seven Year Itch, I cannot really say that I’m a fan of the blonde. I am, however, a huge fan of the brunette standing beside her.

Dorothy Kilgallen, the brunette, reigned as queen of Hollywood and Broadway gossip in 1962. She wrote a regular column for The New York Journal-American, and a bestselling true crimes book, Murder One. She also co-hosted a show with her husband, Richard Kollmar, and frequently appeared as a celebrity panelist on the game show What’s My Line. She wasn’t your garden-variety gossip, however. Brilliant, resourceful, and charming, she had a knack for hard investigative reporting. She had developed a number of sources in US and British intel, and frequently covered political stories with the same ease and élan usually found in her celebrity dish.

As only fate could spin it, the friendship between Monroe and Kilgallen would forever link the two women together in the annals of conspiracy theory. In addition to sharing a history, the two had other things in common. They both died suddenly, in their own beds, under questionable circumstances. They also shared a mutual friend who happened to be President of the United States. Yet the thing that binds them together in history is a single interview that could very well have sealed the fates of both women.

Sometime in the early 1990s, a rather spurious-looking document—specifically a memo, dated August 3, 1962, summarizing the transcripts of a wiretap on Monroe’s telephone--began to circulate among conspiracy buffs and ufologists. It appeared legitimate in every respect. The dating format and other stylistic elements were consistent with other CIA memos of that time. The signature on the bottom matched that of the purported signer, then-CIA Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence James Jesus Angleton. Many, however, found it simply too difficult to believe that a document such as this would have actually come from the CIA, and if it did would have never seen the light of day.

Figure 1. Purported CIA Memo regarding Monroe/Kilgallen wiretapped converation (August 3, 1962)

In doing research for an upcoming book on the death of Marilyn Monroe, Dr. Donald Burleson (PhD, English literature) filed a series of Freedom of Information Act suits to see if he could confirm the veracity of the document. When the CIA denied his request, he appealed on the basis of the document itself. Normally, when a plaintiff appeals on the basis of a forged document, the CIA denies the appeal. But in Burleson’s case, the Agency granted the appeal, in effect giving every indication that the document was in fact an actual CIA memo.

The memo summarized a telephone interview between Kilgallen and Monroe, in which the blonde bombshell ranted about the recent inattention of two of her boyfriends, President John Kennedy, and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Monroe told Kilgallen that she had scheduled a press conference for August 6, 1962, in which she would “tell all.”

Apparently, Monroe knew a lot about very secret things, among them secret military bases in Cuba, the joint Mafia-CIA efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro, and, of course, her own affair with both the President and the Attorney General. But as you can see in the memo’s header, the reference is to the “Moon Dust Project,” a secret United States Air Force UFO investigation. The first item specifically states, “One such [illegible word] mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space.”

Monroe could very well have had every intention of calling off the press conference had the Kennedy brothers returned like prodigal sons to her boudoir. She had hinted at the affair and mentioned the press conference at a number of celebrity parties in the Los Angeles area in July 1962. One could speculate that by dropping hints, Monroe hoped to gain the ear of JFK friend, Frank Sinatra, and the President’s brother-in-law, Peter Lawford, both of whom might have persuaded the Kennedys to at least talk to her in order to diffuse the situation. She might very well have been doing the same thing through Kilgallen, who could turn up the heat even more through her column.

On this date (Aug. 3) in 1962, Kilgallen, referred to Monroe's relationship with JFK in the style typical of gossip columnists of that era. She included few names. Yet, the identities of those involved would be clear to her regular readers. In full, the item read:

Marilyn Monroe's health must be improving. She's been attending select Hollywood parties and has become the talk of the town again. In California, they're circulating a photograph of her that certainly isn't as bare as her famous calendar, but is very interesting... And she's cooking in the sex-appeal department, too; she's proved vastly alluring to a handsome gentleman who is a bigger name than Joe DiMaggio in his heyday. So don't write off Marilyn as finished.
The press conference never happened, of course, for Marilyn Monroe died at approximately 10:00pm the following day.

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