Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My conspiracy obsession:the death of Marilyn Monroe

If you personally know me, you'd know I'm intrigued by the Golden era of Hollywood.
I also collect coffee table books based on the era. I have many on Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Some like it hot etc. The biggest part of my collection is Marilyn. Marilyn is hands down one of the most celebrated women of our time. For this reason my collection is chock full of Marilyn items. I believe every fan has their different reasons for admiring her. Some think she is gorgeous, some love her movies, some love her personal story. For me it's all those things and more. After reading about her and watching her line of work it ultimately is her vulnerability, drive and wit that has kept me interested. I truly believe Marilyn Monroe was a character and Norma Jeane was separate. Monroe was an act that she could turn on and off. People don't realize that but that is what makes this woman a genius. She was no idiot. It is us who believe she was who are. Though she may have been too weak to continue to tredge through life's low valleys, she was full of courage and resilience. Marilyn had the tenacity to want to continually better herself and succeed despite the cards that were dealt to her. If you know about her childhood then this is proof. 
There is also one more quality about the Monroe saga I can't get over, her death.
Unlike many I do not believe she died of a suicide drug overdose. It is to my belief that she was killed. Call me crazy, but I just do. Only thing is I don't have a clear vision as to who did it. There are many cover-ups that point to different culprits and reasonings. Most of them are traced back to the Kennedys. For years I believed that she did kill herself and didn't understand how she could. I know Marilyn had attempted it numerous times but she always ensured that she was found. Her attempts were always more a cry for attention. Last year I got to do a speech on Marilyn's death. This speech enabled me to research her death as much as I could through books and articles. What I found was astounding! There are far too many details to spill in this tiny blog. Just to be real, I could go on forever. One of the newest facts I've stumbled upon was a quote from her house keeper, Eunice Murray. After years of interviews Eunice constantly changed facts in her story. She slipped up in one instance saying that Marilyn wasn't dead when the ambulance arrived. Murray claimed she left the scene for awhile and when she came back Marilyn was dead in her bed, posed differently.

Last year Vanity Fair dedicated their cover story to Marilyn's mysterious death and the disappearance of one of her storgae cabinets. One of her most important diaries are also missing. It has been missing since the night of her death. This particular Vanity Fair editorial has faced some controversy due to claims of fraudulent documents and lack of research. I'm not to sure how credible its author is. Sam Kashner was a contributing editor to this article, which he claimed to have worked on for two years. Not quite sure what to believe in that issue, but I do own it. I hope the rumors about false documents are not true.

image via Vanity Fair, Time &  Life Pictures
This current issue (that I'm seen with in picture #2) is based on the contents of two of Marilyn's diaries. One, I'm assuming is from her earlier life and during the peak of her career and the other seems to be from the downfall of her marriage to Arthur Miller.  As seen on the right, some of her writings are scribbled on hotel stationary. This article very much so breaks down Marilyn's inner demons and monsters. It was hard for her to be comfortable with herself and maybe even to fully accept love because she never thought she was deserving of it. The most chilling excerpt from her diary was placed at the end of the article. It gave me chills as my eyes gazed on each word:

And for conspiracy theorists who have always suspected foul play, there is an intriguing note to the effect that Marilyn might have distrusted and even feared J.F.K.’s brother-in-law Peter Lawford, who was the last person to speak to her on the phone. In the handsome, green, engraved Italian diary, probably dating to around 1956, she had appended this fearful note to a short list of people she loved and trusted:

the feeling of violence I’ve had lately about being afraid
of Peter he might
harm me,
poison me, etc.
why—strange look in his eyes—strange
in fact now I think I know
why he’s been here so long
because I have a need to
be frighten[ed]—and nothing really
in my personal relationships
(and dealings) lately
have been frightening me—except
for him—I felt very uneasy at different
times with him—the real reason
I was afraid of him—is because I believe
him to be homosexual—not in the
way I love & respect and admire [Jack]
who I feel feels I have talent
and wouldn’t be jealous
of me because I wouldn’t
really want to
be me
whereas Peter wants
to be a woman—and
would like to be me—I think
Marilyn and Lawford, the British actor and bon vivant, had first met in Hollywood in the 1950s. “Jack” is probably Jack Cole, the dancer-choreographer who befriended and coached Marilyn on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and There’s No Business Like Show Business. (She would not meet “Jack” Kennedy until five years later.)
        There are some amazing and beautiful quotes and even some of Marilyn's poetry in the article. Only problem is its author, Sam Kashner. Due to his last Monroe story I'm a bit weary of some of the findings but it seems to be accurate. These findings come from Lee Strasberg's (Monroe's mentor/ close friend) widow, Anna Strasberg. Lee Strasberg inherited all of Marilyn's belongings and archive. After his death in 1982, Anna inherited the treasures which she later sold in a Christie's auction in 1999. This latest collection of gems will be in the form of a book titled, Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It's available now.
If you are at all interested in Marilyn Monroe and her life pick up a copy of Vanity Fair, its a good issue.
Marilyn books I recommend:
Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words: Marilyn Monroe's Revealing Last Words and Photographs by George Barris
Marilyn Monroe: Platinum Fox by Cindy De La Hoz
LIFE Remembering Marilyn by editors of LIFE magazine

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