What did gossip columnist Florabel Muir know?

Fifty years ago, the reporter and gossip columnist Florabel Muir, who was known for covering both Hollywood and Underworld figures, published a New York Daily News column that was one of the first indications that something suspicious had happened to Marilyn Monroe—something more than murder. Here’s what she wrote:

“Strange ‘pressures’ are being put on Los Angeles police investigating the death of Marilyn Monroe,” sources lose to the probers said last night.

“Police investigators have refused to make public the records of phone calls made from Miss Monroe’s home last Saturday evening, hours before she took an overdose of sleeping pills. The police have impounded the phone company’s taped record of outgoing calls. Normally in suicide probes here, the record of such phone calls would have been made available to the public within a few days.

“The purported pressures are mysterious. They apparently are coming from persons who had been closely in touch with Marilyn the last few weeks.”

Fifty years ago today, Marilyn Monroe was buried in Westwood Village Mortuary, one of the oddest cemeteries in the world (it’s sandwiched between a bunch of office buildings in Los Angeles). Her ex-husband, Joe DiMaggio, organized the funeral and pointedly did not invite many of her “closest” Hollywood friends, like Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford—claiming that, in essence, they had killed her. (“I think he blamed Hollywood for her death,” Marilyn’s makeup artist, Whitey Snider, said. “Hollywood and the Kennedys.”) He had spent the entire previous night weeping over her casket in the so-called Chapel of the Palms.

Monroe was buried in the wig that she had worn in Something’s Got to Give, her last, unfinished film, wearing a dress that she had bought in Florence. She was laid to rest in the Corridor of Memories, #24, not far from where Truman Capote, a friend, would later be buried.

“The curtain falls,” one TV anchor said, according to Ben Fitzgerald in The Empty Glass. “Brief and simple are the rites that mark the funeral of Marilyn Monroe. We grasp at straws, as if knowing how she died—or why—might enable us to bring her back . . .”

Whitey Snider and Marilyn

On this afternoon fifty years ago, Whitey Snider, Marilyn Monroe’s long-time makeup artist, showed up at Westwood Village Mortuary to fulfill a promise he had made to the star in 1952. Back then, she had undergone an appendectomy, after which Snider had made the ailing star look like her usual ravishing self. Because of this, Marilyn asked for a promise:

“If anything happens to me, never let anybody touch my face but you.”

“Sure,” he said. “Bring the body back while it’s still warm, and I’ll do it.”

Weeks later, the artist received a money clip from Tiffany, inscribed:

“Whitey Dear:
“While I’m still warm….Marilyn.”

Fortified with slugs of Smirnoff, Whitney did the dead Marilyn’s makeup…..

Many people (Fred Otash included) claim that a number of tapes were made of Marilyn Monroe—beginning with tapes of her having sex with President John F. Kennedy at Peter Lawford’s Santa Monica beach house and ending with a tape made of what might have happened with Bobby Kennedy in her Brentwood hacienda on August 4, the night of her death. “A number of surveillance experts—among them Otash and Bernard Spindel’s aide Earl Jaycox—have stated that they listened to some of the tapes made at Monroe’s home, including one recorded on the day she died,” James Spada wrote in The Man Who Kept the Secrets, his biography of Lawford. “Their accounts of what is contained on the tapes are remarkably similar.”

The accounts include reports of the “echoey” sounds of Monroe and Bobby arguing about something that had been “promised” by Bobby and Monroe demanding an explanation of why he wouldn’t marry her. Bobby kept asking, “Where is it? Where the fuck is it?” Then there was a door slam and, later, the sound of three voices: Kennedy’s, Monroe’s, and Lawford’s. “We have to know,” Bobby said. “It’s important to the family. We can make any arrangements you want, but we must find it.” Kennedy was screaming, and Monroe was ordering them out of the house. Then there were (one source said) “thumping, bumping sounds, then muffled, calming sounds. It was as though she were being put on the bed.”

Find out much more in The Empty Glass. 

Fifty years ago this morning, Marilyn Monroe was officially found dead in her Brentwood hacienda. Many people, including LA County Coroner’s Office Deputy Coroner Ben Fitzgerald, claim to have seen a diary written by Monroe that disappeared either from her house or from the evidence file at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s. Author Robert Slatzer, a friend of Monroe’s, claimed the diary included references to Cuba, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Kennedy brothers’ war on Jimmy Hoffa.

Is this what Bobby Kennedy was screaming about when he was heard on the death tape allegedly saying, “We have to find it. It’s important to the family”? Is this what he was looking for when he allegedly returned to the Monroe hacienda on the day and night of her death? Is this what Monroe’s publicist Pat Newcomb was so furiously searching for on the morning of August 5, the reason why the police had to force her from the house?

Find out much more in The Empty Glass. 

See it here.

See it here.

You can see it here.

No one can be entirely certain what happened on the last night of Marilyn Monroe’s life—50 years ago tonight. Although Joe DiMaggio Jr. called the actress around 8 p.m. and said she sounded “like Marilyn,” meaning nothing was amiss, the actor (and Monroe friend) Peter Lawford claimed that he called her from a dinner party he was hosting at his Santa Monica beach house around 7:30 p.m. and said that she sounded disoriented, maybe drugged or drunk. This, he said, is when she uttered the famous words: “Say goodbye to the president, and say goodbye to yourself because you’re such a nice guy.”

The housekeeper Eunice Murray said she woke around midnight and went into the hall to use the bathroom and became alarmed by the light under Marilyn’s door. This despite the fact the the carpet fibers in that room were so thick and high that the door almost could not be closed. The door was locked, and Monroe did not answer when Murray knocked. She called Monroe’s psychiatrist, Dr. Greenson, who said he arrived around 12:30 a.m., broke into the bedroom window, and found the actress dead. However, Monroe’s publicist, Arthur Jacobs, was interrupted by a frantic Pat Newcomb near 11 p.m. at a Henry Mancini concert at the Hollywood Bowl and told he needed to get over to the Monroe hacienda.

So what really happened that night? Who was telling the truth?

And then there’s the issue of the tape…and the diary. Stay tuned.

And you can find it here.

No water glass was found in the first inspection of Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom—in fact, the water in her hacienda had been turned off because of renovations. And yet the actress allegedly died by swallowing 50-80 pills. The lack of the glass was noted by Jack Clemmons, the first responding officer, but later pictures clearly showed a water glass on the actress’s bedside table. How did that glass get there?

Fifty years ago today, 20th Century Fox (possibly influenced by Bobby Kennedy) rehired Marilyn Monroe for twice her original salary—she had been fired before for chronic lateness and sickness and was going to be replaced with Lee Remick, though Dean Martin, Monroe’s costar, refused. Production resumed…..

for this great review of The Empty Glass. 

From The Empty Glass:

Sinatra was performing in the Celebrity Showroom at Cal-Neva Lodge on the weekend of July 28 and 29. He’d invited Marilyn to come, she wrote, “just for kicks.”

But it was more than that. They called Cal-Neva “Heaven in the High Sierras,” but that weekend it was pure hell. There were a lot of pills, and at some point Marilyn woke in her room with “James,” she wrote. “I was naked but I never wanted this. I kept calling out for Frank but it wasn’t till morning that I saw him stand- ing there and he said if I said anything he’d bring Billy Woodfield the pictures and ‘What pictures?’ I asked. Well, the ones that he had taken.

“So I write this now to anyone who might find it and I had no choice. I couldn’t say anything. They said, ‘Leave the General alone’ but I won’t say ‘the General’ anymore I’m not protecting him any- more. His name is [redacted].”

After that, the only legible thing left was a fragment of Marilyn’s final entry—written the day before she died…

Continued in The Empty Glass….