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Dark, unpleasant truths about Marilyn Monroe

[Book extract] Over several decades, Neil Sean asked every star he met for their personal memories of her, and has published them in a new book.

 |  4-minute read |   12-12-2016
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Speculation continues to this day about the cause of Marilyn Monroe’s death in 1962. Did she take an overdose or was she murdered?

Over several decades, broadcaster Neil Sean asked every star he met for their personal memories of her, and has published them in a new book.

Jack Lemmon, the star of Some Like It Hot, The Apartment and The Odd Couple was among the first to know that Marilyn Monroe was having an affair with President John F Kennedy. Lemmon used to live at silent movie star Harold Lloyd’s old house, which was next door to a well.

He recalled: “One day I was coming back home and there’s this helicopter doing a low lazy circle above it. And there were these guys in funny suits and funny glasses, standing around watching Marilyn Monroe and JFK having a frolic in the pool.”

“So whatever stories you’ve heard about Marilyn,” he added, “that one is true: it was a big affair for her and she was in a deep relationship with JFK. Whether he thought the same, we’ll never know. I think for sure she shouldn’t have got mixed up in the Kennedy clan. But she was the type of girl that looked straight into trouble and no one could ever advise her.”

Marilyn, as it turned out, wasn’t remotely embarrassed that he had seen her naked in the pool with the President.

marilynbd_121216103910.jpg Marilyn Monroe's iconic 'flying skirt' moment.

One man who wasn’t wild about Marilyn was the singer who’d married two stars in succession — Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor — and he’d learned quite a bit about the seamier side of Hollywood.

Marilyn, Eddie Fisher told me, was "a user" — reeling in men who could be useful to her, then discarding them when they’d served their purpose.

“Marilyn Monroe was a serious player. She used people — she played them off, and I was a victim, too. When I first met her at the start of the Fifties, she made a beeline for me and asked me out on many occasions for a date. But she wasn’t the ‘Marilyn’ creation then — pretty, yes, but fake. And that was the problem. The people who fascinated her were the likes of Ava Gardner and Liz (Taylor). Why? Because they were genuinely beautiful girls.”

“Marilyn told me: ‘I know I’m a manufactured look — the blonde hair and makeup. I get it. But I also hope I give some hope to the ordinary girls like me who may not be the greatest beauties.’”

One night in the early '60s, comedienne Joan Rivers could barely believe her luck: she was seated at a dinner party next to Marilyn. At the time, the bawdy New Yorker was trying to make her name as an actress.

book2_121216103925.jpg I Met Marilyn by Neil Sean; CreateSpace.

“What I remember most is how tiny she was — not the big buxom blonde we see in the media,” said Rivers. “We talked about the New York theatre and I asked her advice about acting agents. She was really helpful. Then Marilyn suddenly turned to me and said: ‘Men, they’re all the same. They’re just stupid and they like big boobs.’ I loved her for saying that, because she knew that’s what it was all about for her — boobs and nothing else. I realised she was far brighter than anyone ever thought.”

Marilyn was then in her mid-30s but Rivers recalls how she kept pointing out liver spots on her hands and saying she’d have to cover them up by wearing gloves because people would say she was getting old. They also discussed homosexuals in showbusiness.

“One thing about Marilyn,” Rivers said, “was that she wasn’t a great gay fan: she loathed the idea that some men might not find her attractive. I told her about my gay pals and she looked bemused. She had a hard time even believing Rock Hudson was gay.”

Like Debbie Reynolds, Rivers was convinced Marilyn was murdered. “Sure, she was a pill addict and had problems, but none of the story of her death stacks up. I blame the Kennedys: without a doubt, she got mixed up in some terrible trouble. Given all she had going for her, why would she suddenly kill herself? She wasn’t the type to do it.”

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(Courtesy of Mail Today. Re-printed with the publisher's permission.)

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Writer

Neil Sean Neil Sean @neilsean1

Author, 'I met Marilyn'.

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