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Possible Contents of Undisclosed FBI files on Marilyn Monroe

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On December 28, 2012, the FBI released some new material from its files on Marilyn Monroe.


Actually there are (or were) two sets of FBI files on Marilyn Monroe: Those maintained by the bureau, some of which were recently disclosed, and those maintained by Director J. Edgar Hoover in the private, confidential file drawers in his office.

When Hoover died on May 2, 1972, six weeks before the Watergate scandal broke open, there was a scramble to get possession of these confidential files. It was later claimed that the files had been destroyed within hours of Hoover’s death. This was not true.

In 1985 I attended a meeting of the conservative Philadelphia Society in Washington, D.C. My guest was Edward Miller, a former Associate FBI Director, who in the years after Watergate was convicted along with Assistant FBI Director Mark Felt for illegal break-ins and black bag jobs that were aimed at members of the Weather Underground. I had retained Miller as a consultant in 1984-85 to assist me on a grant from the Moody Foundation to study terrorism. President Reagan had pardoned both Miller and Felt soon after he was elected president.

A short time after Miller and I entered the meeting room, Laurence H. Silberman, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, greeted Miller whom he knew. The three of us were quietly conversing when Judge Silberman disclosed that he had been assigned after Hoover’s death to review the Director’s private, confidential files on prominent persons. He expressed his disgust and outrage at Hoover having maintained these files and at the nature of their contents. (His review took place years before he was elevated to the U.S. Court of Appeals.) He later said that reviewing the files was “the single worst experience of my long government service.” See link below.


Without a doubt Hoover maintained a confidential file on Marilyn Monroe. Its contents are not known at this time. However, a glimmer of what the file might have contained can be found in the recently published book by Professor Lois Banner titled, “Marilyn Monroe: The Passion and the Paradox.”

http://www.amazon.co... banner marilyn

The widely respected Gay and Lesbian Review (formerly the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review) in its September-October 2012 issue contains an interview titled “Marilyn Monroe: A Serious, Mysterious Life” conducted by Chris Freeman of Professor Banner, who is a feminist historian and scholar that spent “the better part of a decade researching the life and career of Marilyn Monroe.”

The following are excerpts from Freeman’s interview with Banner:

Chris Freeman: What first drew you to Marilyn Monroe?

Lois Banner: I like to write about prominent women. They reflect society in important ways. She seemed to me a natural after I had written about some powerful political figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Mead, and Ruth Benedict.

CF: As a movie fan, you had never really taken Marilyn seriously before.

LB: Not at all. I knew that I had grown up near her and that we had participated in similar worlds growing up in Los Angeles. The more I got involved, the more interesting the research became. Marilyn turned out to be the most complex person I’ve ever worked on. She did lead a serious, mysterious life.

CF: Was there a moment when you realized that you had something new to say about Marilyn?

LB: The big moment came when I was given access to the papers of Ralph Roberts. He was her best friend and masseur. Everyone I interviewed said he knew more about her than anyone else….

CF: You also went back to sources that have been ignored by previous biographers.

LB: Yes, I used, for example, Arthur Miller’s memoir Timebends. It’s amazing how little attention Marilyn’s biographers have paid to the book. It’s filled with material about their relationship. I realized why he loved her from that book. Also, a British journalist named W. J. Weatherby did a long series of interviews with Marilyn. There is amazing material in those conversations, and no one has used it extensively....

CF: How did she improve her skills?

LB: She studied acting, singing, and movement with some of the best teachers in Hollywood and New York for many years. She learned how to bring out the characters from within her. She had many selves, and she could turn them on and off. The major one was “Marilyn Monroe.” Her friends tell stories of walking down the street with her and she’d say, “I’m going to show you now.” She’s shake her head and "Marilyn Monroe” would show up. She used those aspects of herself in her acting. She told Weatherby, “I can be many people. I can always figure out what the person I’m with wants, and become that person.” That’s how she worked, too….

CF: Her long connection with Natasha Lytess, her acting coach, has been seen as potentially lesbian, but most Marilyn biographers have not said that it was a physical relationship.

LB: An interview with Natasha was published in London the month Marilyn died. She talks, in detail, about her sexual relationship with Marilyn. At first, I didn’t trust the material but then I found many letters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Margaret Herrick Library which, for me, authenticated it. A press agent in London helped Natasha get $25,000 to publish the interview. This is a very convincing documentation of their six-year relationship. Marilyn was terrified that she was going to be exposed, which would destroy her career. One reason she married Joe DiMaggio was to take the focus off the rumors about her relationship with Natasha.

CF: Scotty Bowers has recently published his tell-all Full Service about this kind of secret sexual life in Hollywood. Marilyn doesn’t appear in that book, but she clearly was part of that world.

LB: Marilyn was in the middle of that world. Producer Sam Spiegel ran a sort of upscale brothel – she was part of it. Talent agent Charles Feldman was a regular there, and he conducted his own sex parties. She met both John Kennedy and Arthur Miller at Feldman’s. In later years, Peter Lawford brought Marilyn to sex parties as his beach house, at which John and Robert Kennedy were present. I found an amazing book from 1950 called Hollywood: The Dream Factory, by an esteemed anthropologist named Hortense Powdermaker. She argues that sex fueled Hollywood…

CF: What about the Kennedys – and the end of her life?

LB: The Kennedys were outrageous. They were sexually aggressive. Marilyn thought one of the Kennedys would marry her. The “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” moment is when Marilyn went too far – Jack Kennedy dropped her after that. But she preferred Bobby anyway. Two different sources who don’t know each other told me that she had sex with Bobby in her dressing room before she sang that song to JFK. I’m surprised at how the Kennedys have kept so much of this quiet.

CF: Did they have her killed? What do you think happened?

LB: I have a couple of ideas. The Kennedys may have formed an alliance with J. Edgar Hoover, who hated Marilyn because she had allegedly converted to Communism. Or perhaps the Mafia was the ones who killed her, trying to frame Bobby Kennedy for it. I had a long interview with Phyllis McGuire, the mobster Sam Giancana’s girl friend, who tried to convince me that he had nothing to do with Marilyn’s death. I am skeptical of her story. Giancana hated the Kennedys because Bobby tried to destroy him. It’s also possible that it was suicide. There’s another narrative going on – the tabloids had the lesbian story. I found a document in her agent’s files where she is clearly worried that the story was going to come out. She felt betrayed by Natasha.

[To read the full interview with Professor Banner, go to www.GLReview.com and request the September-October 2012 issue, which is available for $10. Also, see http://www.glreview....rticleid=1468].

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Guest Robert Morrow

"CF: What about the Kennedys – and the end of her life?

LB: The Kennedys were outrageous. They were sexually aggressive. Marilyn thought one of the Kennedys would marry her. The “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” moment is when Marilyn went too far – Jack Kennedy dropped her after that. But she preferred Bobby anyway. Two different sources who don’t know each other told me that she had sex with Bobby in her dressing room before she sang that song to JFK. I’m surprised at how the Kennedys have kept so much of this quiet."

Based on what I know about the Kennedys, I can easily believe that.

The truth is important, especially if it is the ugly or embarrassing truth that gets suppressed.

I have come to the belief that Robert Kennedy was having an affair with Marilyn Monroe. And RFK was out in Los Angeles just before Marilyn died - and I am sure RFK visited her while he was trying to keep her from going public about her relationship with the Kennedys. I do not think that RFK or the Kennedys killed Marilyn, but he sure might have upset her and maybe pushed her over the edge mentally.

There is a lot of dirt of MLK's adulterous sex life that needs to be released, too. All this stuff tells us a lot about the morals, character and psychological make up of historical figures ... and it tells us volumes about Hoover and the FBI.

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As a footnote to my posting above I wish to add that former FBI Associate Director Edward Miller told me in 1985 that J. Edgar Hoover had dispatched him immediately upon news of the death of Marilyn Monroe to retrieve Monroe's telephone records from the telephone company's cental office in Santa Monica. He said that the records of long distance telephone calls were written in long hand on rectangular cards by the telephone operators, which was the custom in those days.

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