Who Is Robert Slatzer?


It is essential to note that Slatzer’s purported connection with Marilyn primarily centres around their time on the set of the film Niagara. Slatzer managed to gain access to the set using his press pass, resulting in several photographs of him and Marilyn together. However, these photographs primarily depict their interactions during filming, and the evidence beyond that is limited.

Furthermore, the lack of additional supporting evidence, such as letters or documented interactions, casts further doubt on the depth of their relationship as portrayed by Slatzer. While he possesses a signed photograph, it is plausible that he obtained it during his time on the set rather than through a personal connection with Marilyn.

Many have stated Marilyn would not have posed this way with a fan however Marilyn often took photos with fans, co-stars, crew and photographers in a “familiar” fashion.


One of Slatzer’s central claims revolves around his alleged marriage to Marilyn in October 1952, followed by an annulment at the studio’s behest. However, inconsistencies emerge that undermine this narrative. During that period, Marilyn was romantically involved with Joe DiMaggio, and there is no credible evidence to suggest any romantic liaisons with other men. Moreover, records indicate Marilyn’s presence at a party hosted by Photoplay on October 3, 1952, and a receipt from JAX department store in Beverly Hills shows clothing purchases on October 4th, which contradicts Slatzer’s claims of being with Marilyn in Mexico on those days.


Slatzer’s frequent mentions in the press during the time he claimed to be connected to Marilyn raise doubts about his credibility. Marilyn was known for her wariness of those who sought to exploit her fame, which seems to be exactly what Slatzer attempted to do. Reports of his attempts to woo Marilyn through phone calls and mail, as well as his mention in various publications, add another layer of scepticism to his claims.


In the 1970s, Marilyn’s personal makeup artist and friend, Allan “Whitey” Snyder, wrote the foreword to Slatzer’s book, seemingly indicating a close relationship between Slatzer and Marilyn. While some fans attribute Snyder’s endorsement to naivety or being deceived by Slatzer, Anthony Summers’ biography reveals quotes from Snyder that suggest a familiarity between Marilyn and Slatzer and how Marilyn “always loved him”. However, there is no other documentation, mention in phone books, or letters from either Marilyn or Slatzer that corroborate their close connection. Furthermore, other friends of Marilyn have made no mention of Slatzer’s involvement.


Slatzer’s claim of having a boxer friend serve as a witness to his marriage to Marilyn adds further doubts to his story. The boxer, Noble “Kid,” Chissell initially supported Slatzer’s claims but later admitted to lying due to financial pressures – accepting a mere $100 for the lie. Additionally, Slatzer’s assertion of having interviewed Pat Newcomb for his book is contradicted by Donald Spoto, who confirms that Newcomb denied ever meeting Slatzer.


In Anthony Summers’ book, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, a Confidential magazine article from May 1957 is mentioned that appeared during Marilyn’s marriage to Arthur Miller, discussing her connection with Robert Slatzer. Summers notes that Slatzer himself confirmed the contents of the article. While the article does not mention a marriage, it does acknowledge that Marilyn and Slatzer knew each other, lending a degree of credibility to Slatzer’s connection with Marilyn. However, it is important to realise that Slatzer embellished other aspects of his tale, further raising doubts about his overall credibility.


An interesting opinion, albeit not from a specific source, suggests that once the article in Confidential hit the stands in 1957, Marilyn would have severed all ties with Slatzer if they had known each other to begin with. Marilyn was fiercely protective of her privacy and had previously cut off friends (Natasha Lytess) for breaching her trust. It is plausible that the article in Confidential insinuating a sexual relationship would have greatly angered her. Furthermore, Marilyn’s actions during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, where she fired her butler and maid for revealing details about their cottage’s decor, demonstrate her unwavering commitment to maintaining her privacy and safeguarding her personal life.


In 1991, Robert Slatzer claimed to have revealed 12 new images of Marilyn Monroe from the set of the unfinished film Something’s Got to Give in 1962. However, it’s important to note that the credited photographers from the set are well-established professionals such as William H. Daniels, Charles Lang, Franz Planer, Leo Tover, and Lawrence Schiller, with no mention of Slatzer. These photographers are recognised for their work on the film, lending credibility to their involvement.

While Slatzer did present these images as evidence of his presence on the set, there is little definitive evidence to support his claim. None of the photographs features Slatzer alongside Marilyn Monroe, and there is no independent corroboration or documentation to verify his presence on the set. Given these factors, it is reasonable to approach Slatzer’s assertions with cynicism and rely on established and credited sources for accurate information regarding Marilyn Monroe and the production of Something’s Got to Give.

However, even if he did manage to get on the set just as he had done with Niagara, this does not necessarily mean he had a personal connection to Marilyn.


In 1974, Slatzer published a book that aimed to provide an intimate account of his alleged marriage and friendship with Marilyn. The book also delved into controversial conspiracy theories surrounding Marilyn’s death, implicating the Kennedy family. However, these claims are met with scepticism. Slatzer’s attempts to have an article published on Monroe’s death conspiracy were rejected by a journalist, and witnesses cited in his book later admitted to fabricating their involvement. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence supporting the notion of a lifelong relationship between Slatzer and Marilyn.


In a troubling pattern of exploitation, Slatzer even attempted to sell items purportedly belonging to Marilyn, using photos of himself alongside her as the only evidence of provenance.

This practice raises significant concerns about the authenticity and legitimacy of the items in question. Without proper documentation or corroborating evidence, relying solely on photographs of Slatzer with Marilyn as proof is highly dubious. It is essential to exercise caution when evaluating such claims and to demand more substantial evidence before accepting any items as genuine Marilyn Monroe artefacts.

The attempt to profit from Marilyn’s fame through the sale of items tied to her name, with weak or nonexistent provenance, further highlights the need for careful scrutiny and critical analysis when engaging with the complex web of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. Preserving the integrity and authenticity of her legacy is of utmost importance, and it is crucial to approach claims of ownership with caution until supported by rigorous documentation and evidence.


The claims made by Slatzer are widely disputed by Marilyn Monroe’s biographers and historians. The inconsistencies, contradictions, and lack of substantial evidence cast doubt on the authenticity of his alleged relationship with Marilyn. The prevailing scholarly consensus suggests that Slatzer’s accounts are likely fabricated or exaggerated for personal gain.

The story surrounding Robert Slatzer and his connection to Marilyn Monroe remains enshrouded in controversy. While Slatzer presented a narrative filled with intrigue, his claims lack substantial evidence and are marred by inconsistencies. The scholarly community widely rejects his assertions, dismissing them as potentially opportunistic fabrications. As we continue to explore the life and legacy of Marilyn Monroe, it is essential to approach such claims with a critical eye, relying on credible evidence to separate fact from fiction.

Don’t Blame Yourself Marilyn

Two articles from the January 1955 issue of Photoplay!


In the realm of Hollywood icons, few names resonate as profoundly as Marilyn Monroe’s. Her beauty, talent, and charisma captivated audiences around the world. Yet, behind the glamorous facade, Marilyn faced the trials and tribulations of life, including the challenges of separation and divorce.

Here, Photoplay brings you an exclusive look at an open letter penned to Marilyn Monroe during a pivotal moment in her life. The letter, filled with empathy and understanding, delves into the emotions and struggles that many of us can relate to during times of change and uncertainty.

As we explore the thoughts and sentiments expressed in this heartfelt letter, we’ll uncover valuable insights into managing life’s unexpected twists and turns, especially when it feels like the world is spinning out of control. Join us on this journey as we reflect on Marilyn’s experiences and discover the wisdom within her challenges.

This open letter and subsequent article serves as a reminder that even amidst the glitz and glamour, we’re all human, facing our own unique struggles.

Click on the images to enlarge the story.

Evaluating Marilyn Monroe’s Inner Circle

Marilyn Monroe’s inner circle was a select group of individuals who held a special place in her life, even though the composition of this circle often reflected the complexities of her relationships. While some were tied to her through marriage or employment, the connections they shared with Marilyn were marked by loyalty, honesty, and a range of dynamics that shed light on different facets of her life. Marilyn’s relationships comprised a diverse array of friendships, each contributing to her life’s tapestry. Their individual recollections, when woven together, offer a multi-dimensional portrait of Marilyn Monroe—a woman who navigated fame, creativity, and personal complexities with a select group of individuals who knew her intimately.


All I did was believe in her. She was a marvelous, loving, wonderful person I don’t think many people understood. – Milton Greene

Milton Greene, a renowned photographer, is often regarded as one of Marilyn’s closest friends. Their friendship began in the early 1950s, and Milton captured many iconic images of Marilyn. While rumours of romantic involvement between them exist (coming from Milton), there is little evidence to support this claim. Considering Marilyn’s relationship with Joe DiMaggio at the time, it seems unlikely that a romantic affair occurred. However, speculation remains.

Milton’s wife, Amy Greene, was also close to Marilyn (another reason an affair seemed unlikely). Their friendship appeared to be amicable, with Marilyn even conducting interviews at their home and living with them for a short time.

Their friendship began to deteriorate, reportedly triggered by Marilyn’s marriage to Arthur Miller. Amy Greene, Milton’s wife, recounts, “Arthur was always jealous of Milton, which is interesting in a way. Arthur had another life. Why should he be jealous?”

The rift in their friendship became more pronounced in 1956 during the filming of The Sleeping Prince. Marilyn felt betrayed by Milton’s growing closeness to Laurence Olivier, with whom she was having difficulties on set. Arthur’s correspondence during 1956 emphasised his desire for control in Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP) and his belief that Marilyn need not maintain a personal relationship with Milton.

A final photoshoot of Marilyn and Milton occurred in January 1957, coinciding with escalating tensions within MMP. Both Arthur and Milton traded blame for the struggles faced by MMP. Despite the accusations, no substantial evidence implicating Milton was presented. Marilyn found herself torn between her loyalty to her friend and business partner Milton and her husband Arthur, ultimately siding with the latter.

News of Marilyn’s death in 1962 reached Milton while he was in Paris. He held the belief that Marilyn did not intentionally take her own life. Her passing deeply affected him, given the closeness they shared and the unresolved conflicts. It’s regrettable that Milton and Marilyn did not reconnect after her divorce from Arthur, leaving questions about unexplored possibilities.

Can Milton’s account be considered a credible source of information about Marilyn and her life? Pertinent sources do not suggest he had a penchant for sensationalism, apart from unverified claims of a potential affair, which Amy Greene, the primary source of such anecdotes, has not implied.

Although some stories may have surfaced in Milton and Amy’s later years, it’s important to differentiate between sensationalism and plausible accounts. Amy herself has contradicted several claims on camera that have been made in books.


Allan “Whitey” Snyder shared a profound friendship with Marilyn spanning over a decade. He first worked on her makeup for her 1946 screen test, maintaining this role until 1962. This enduring partnership stood out as one of the few stable relationships in Marilyn’s life.

Their connection was marked by its sweetness and depth. Beyond their professional collaboration, Marilyn entrusted and confided in Whitey. She even reportedly asked him to do her funeral makeup in case she passed away before he did, to which he responded with a playful remark, “Sure, drop off the body whilst it’s still warm.”

Marilyn’s sense of humour shone through in a gift she bestowed upon Whitey – a gold money clip engraved with the words, “Whitey Dear, While I’m still warm, Marilyn.” This whimsical gesture culminated in the sale of the clip for over $21,000.

While their bond was strong, it’s worth noting that Whitey wrote the foreword for Robert Slatzer’s controversial book, raising questions about his honesty. He also made contentious claims about Marilyn’s alleged “affair” with Slatzer which has since been proven to be false.

Synder wrote: “Quite often while I was making her up she would tell me Bob sent me his best or mention that they had just talked on the phone or even tell me about a date she had with him that night…In my opinion, she always loved him very much.” 

Despite these complexities, he was among the few individuals who could provide insight into Marilyn’s mental state during her final weeks, given their enduring connection. In the time leading up to her passing, he remarked, “Since her divorce from Arthur Miller, she’s been in her best condition for a long time. She’s happy!”

Whitey Snyder’s role extended beyond friendship; he served as both a pallbearer at Marilyn’s funeral and her makeup artist, fulfilling his promise to her. It is unfortunate however that he promoted a false relationship with someone who caused Marilyn much grief in her life (and death) with his lies.


During Marilyn’s filming of Let’s Make Love in 1959, Ralph Roberts stepped in as a reliable friend, often coming to her aid during the late hours of the night or early morning. He began providing her with massages to alleviate tension and insomnia, forming a close bond with her.

Their friendship provided Marilyn a safe space to discuss a variety of topics, from relationships and politics to her body, movies, and acting. Ralph’s presence became a source of comfort, and his significance in her life extended to a minor role in The Misfits as the ambulance driver who tends to Montgomery Clift in the rodeo scene.

After Marilyn’s passing, Ralph penned a memoir titled Mimosa chronicling their deep friendship. Despite his efforts, the memoir struggled to find a publisher due to its lack of sensational content. Eventually, excerpts from Mimosa were shared on a family website following Ralph’s own demise. In November 2021, the story of their profound friendship was finally released to the public.

In the realm of Marilyn’s associates, Ralph and Whitey stand out as trustworthy voices. Their testimonies offer insights into a side of Marilyn that many never got to see. In a circle where many remain silent, they emerge as figures whose accounts can be relied upon to provide a genuine understanding of Marilyn’s life and character.


Sidney Skolsky, a gossip columnist and friend of Marilyn since her rise to stardom, walked a fine line between journalism and friendship.

While his profession often involved creating stories, Marilyn may have understood the nature of their friendship and the potential publicity benefits it could bring.

Therefore, it’s important to approach Skolsky’s accounts with caution and cross-reference his claims with other reliable sources. While some of his articles and gossip snippets may be harmless, it’s necessary to discern between verifiable interviews and potentially fabricated narratives.


She was a difficult woman, you know. We liked her and we said the nicest things about her and she deserved them; but, she was trouble and she brought that whole baggage of emotional difficulties of her childhood with her. – Norman Rosten

Norman Rosten, a poet and playwright, was friends with both Marilyn and Arthur Miller. Marilyn met Rosten in 1955 and even vacationed with him and his family, wrote to him regularly and entrusted him with her poetry.

His long-standing relationship with Marilyn allowed him to witness aspects of her life beyond the glamour of stardom. Rosten’s firsthand knowledge and close friendship with Marilyn make him a credible source for understanding her personal struggles and aspirations as stated in his book Marilyn: An Untold Story.

His observations, along with other reliable accounts, provide valuable insights into the complex woman behind the public image. Rosten remained loyal to Marilyn commenting on the callousness of After the Fall by Arthur Miller as well as stating that Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio “should have had the happily ever after among her three marriages.”

Rosten even wrote some poems about Marilyn after her passing.


Pat Newcomb

At the core of her, she was really strong… and that was something we tended to forget, because she seemed so vulnerable, and one always felt it necessary to watch out for her. – Pat Newcomb

Pat Newcomb, who briefly worked as Marilyn’s publicist during the filming of Bus Stop, and then again in the 1960s, developed a close friendship with her.

Pat supported Marilyn during difficult times, including her divorce from Arthur Miller. Her frankness and honesty about Marilyn’s well-being, as well as her emotional outburst upon hearing of Marilyn’s death, highlight the depth of their friendship.

While Pat has remained private about their relationship, her genuine concern for Marilyn’s well-being reinforces her reliability as a source.


“It’s my feeling that Marilyn looked forward to her tomorrows.” – Eunice Murray

Eunice Murray, hired as Marilyn’s housekeeper in 1961 by Ralph Greenson, is a more complex figure within Marilyn’s inner circle.

While she may have had insights into Marilyn’s daily life, her conflicting statements and lack of consistency regarding Marilyn’s death raise doubts about her reliability. Murray’s devotion to Dr. Ralph Greenson, coupled with her personal insecurities, may have influenced her recollections.

It’s widely believed that Marilyn was considering relieving Murray from her duties on the day she passed away, along with Greenson. This has led to speculation that they might have been involved in her death. However, the idea of orchestrating a murder to retain employment seems counterintuitive and unlikely as an act of revenge. A more plausible scenario is that Murray’s desire to travel during the summer prompted Marilyn to dismiss her, accompanied by a financial settlement. There are indications that Marilyn was intentionally creating some distance from those she had relied upon, and it’s possible that Greenson’s attempts to dissuade her earlier in the day could have triggered her emotional state. Yet, the exact details remain enigmatic and open to speculation.

It’s important to approach her statements with caution and consider the inconsistencies when evaluating her credibility.


“Marilyn certainly had a sense of humour. I subsequently followed Marilyn around for days, interviewing her and taking photos. She was great to work with.” – George Barris

George Barris stands as an enduring presence in Marilyn’s life, credited as a close friend and collaborator. Their connection is palpable in the photographs they created together, capturing Marilyn’s essence and allure. Barris’s lens documented Marilyn leaning out of a brownstone window on 61st Street in Manhattan, a chance encounter that blossomed into a series of iconic images. He recounts his initial glimpse of Marilyn from behind, an unexpected click of the camera’s shutters, and the ensuing laughter that broke the ice between them.

While Barris is renowned for photographing Marilyn in 1954 and 1962, the scope of their relationship is marked by these significant moments. He captured Marilyn’s last professional photographs before her passing, a testament to their bond. Barris and Marilyn shared aspirations of writing a book together, a project thwarted by her untimely death. Despite this, Barris carried on and eventually authored the book himself in 1995 with many of the excerpts being released just after she had passed.

The authenticity of their rapport is reflected in Barris’s presence at Marilyn’s funeral, a testament to the depth of their connection. However, it’s worth noting that personal perspectives, like that of Barris’s daughter Caroline, might colour the narrative. Barris has also made various claims about how Marilyn died and made offensive and prejudiced comments about Italians (namely Joe DiMaggio). This dimension of subjectivity should be acknowledged when interpreting their relationship.


“My only protection in the world is Marilyn Monroe. I created this girl – I fought for her… Her faith and security are mine.” – Natasha Lytess

Natasha Lytess played a pivotal role in Marilyn’s life, serving as her acting coach from 1948 for a span of seven years. This association saw Marilyn honing her craft and evolving into the iconic actress she became. Natasha’s perspective on their relationship reflects both admiration and complexity.

Natasha’s accounts depict her instrumental contribution to Marilyn’s success, underscored by a sense of ownership over Marilyn’s talents. However, their relationship eventually frayed, driven by Marilyn’s decision to sever ties due to Natasha’s intent to publish a book about her. Despite this, Marilyn retained a semblance of decorum when speaking about Natasha in subsequent interactions.

Natasha’s portrayal of their relationship, at times infused with bitterness and even the claim of romantic involvement, demands a discerning approach. Marilyn’s own declarations about her sexual orientation cast doubt on this aspect. Natasha’s self-promotion and self-centeredness further colour her perspective.


“She can call up emotionally what is required for a scene. Her range is infinite.” – Lee Strasberg

The influence of Lee and Paula Strasberg on Marilyn’s life cannot be understated. Marilyn’s enrollment at the Actor’s Studio marked the beginning of a significant chapter in her career, placing her under the tutelage of these esteemed acting coaches. Lee’s observation of Marilyn’s depth as an actress and her ability to embody the emotional complexities of a scene speaks to the impact of their training.

The Strasbergs, especially Paula, became integral to Marilyn’s life, extending beyond mentorship to friendship. The dynamic, however, raises questions about professional boundaries as Paula often took precedence over directors on set. Their connection was further reinforced by their daughter Susan, who considered herself akin to Marilyn’s sister.

Despite their role in shaping Marilyn’s performances, their involvement in her personal life prompts reflection on potential exploitation. The Strasbergs’ prominence in Marilyn’s life is evident in their status as primary beneficiaries in her will, underscoring the depth of their connection.


“I could never talk about her. Never.” – Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe spanned through tumultuous phases, reflecting the complexities of love in the spotlight. Their journey began in 1952 when they crossed paths and embarked on a two-year courtship, culminating in their marriage in 1954. Yet, the all-consuming glare of Marilyn’s skyrocketing fame cast shadows on their union, leading to their divorce by October of the same year.

Their intertwined lives saw periods of distance, with Joe’s baseball career and Marilyn’s cinematic ascension often at odds with the tranquillity they sought. A significant shift emerged in 1955 when Marilyn crossed paths with playwright Arthur Miller, sparking an affair that reshaped the landscape of her heart. The subsequent divorce from Miller in 1961 marked a pivotal juncture, as Joe and Marilyn’s friendship rekindled.

Publicly, Marilyn denied any romantic involvement with Joe, asserting that they were mere friends. However, Joe’s steadfast devotion to her remained unswayed. He proved a pillar of strength during her challenges, playing a pivotal role in her release from Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic. His unwavering commitment extended to facilitating her transition to a new home in Los Angeles, a testament to their unique bond.

In a heartrending twist, it was Joe who orchestrated Marilyn’s final farewell, at the behest of her half-sister Berniece Miracle. The depth of his love and respect for Marilyn was evident in his silent dedication to her memory after her passing. His discretion and reluctance to share intimate details with the public stand as a tribute to the intimacy they shared, upholding the sanctity of their connection.

The letters exchanged between Marilyn and Joe offer an unfiltered view of their relationship, untarnished by sensationalism. These private exchanges offer a poignant glimpse into their emotions, reinforcing the genuineness of their feelings. Through his actions and the candid insights found in their letters, Joe’s commitment to Marilyn emerges as a profound testimony to their enduring bond.

You can read more about Joe and Marilyn’s relationship here



Arthur Miller and Marilyn’s relationship was marked by an encounter laden with passion and heartache. Their meeting, documented through Miller’s recollections and interviews, unfolded against a backdrop of Marilyn’s tears—a poignant response likely triggered by the recent passing of her agent, Johnny Hyde, in December 1950.

There are photographs of Marilyn engrossed in Miller’s literary works, and her public admiration for him was evident in interviews. Sidney Skolsky, a columnist and close associate of Marilyn, recounted her proclamation that she could envision herself marrying Miller someday.

Their relationship progressed while Miller was married to his long-time partner Mary Slattery, leading to a complex affair. The delicate balance of their relationship came into focus as it weathered challenges, ultimately leading to their engagement and subsequent marriage in 1956. However, like many unions, theirs encountered obstacles—such as the loss of their two unborn children, Marilyn’s addiction to prescription drugs, Arthur’s career struggles and Marilyn’s affair with co-star Yves Montand eventually leading to a divorce in November 1960.

Their relationship’s dynamics were noted by Ralph Roberts, who revealed Marilyn’s declaration of being done with Miller towards the end of filming The Misfits, punctuated by a vehement instruction from Arthur to leave. Miller’s later marriage to photographer Inge Morath followed, adding another layer to the complexities and a possible struggle for Marilyn’s already weakened mental state.

Critique of Arthur’s conduct after Marilyn’s passing sparks a spirited debate among fans. As a writer, Miller infused his words with romanticism and poetry, yet the play After the Fall, written during their marriage and released posthumously, drew both praise and criticism. Depicting characters with echoes of their relationship, ignited discussions about artistic expression versus taste.

Perceptions of Arthur’s trustworthiness oscillate, influenced by his writer role and connection to Marilyn. Through his letters, shades of jealousy and control emerged, underlining the intricate layers of their bond. As both wrestled with self-esteem, their journey remains an intimate narrative documented through their letters, shedding light on their vulnerabilities.



In 1944, prior to her transformation into the iconic Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jeane first encountered her estranged half-sister, Berniece Miracle. Their meeting happened before Norma Jeane’s rapid rise to fame, and this encounter remained memorable, bridging the gap between their distinct life paths.

Over the years, their connection remained unbroken. In 1961, following Marilyn’s divorce from Arthur Miller and her cholecystectomy surgery, Berniece paid a visit to Marilyn’s residence in New York. This reunion held deep significance, showcasing the enduring strength of their bond.

Tragedy struck the subsequent year with Marilyn’s untimely passing. In her final will, Marilyn left Berniece £10,000, a testament to the lasting affection between them. Alongside Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn’s second husband, and Inez Melson, her business manager, Berniece played a pivotal role in arranging Marilyn’s funeral, underscoring the depth of their connection.

In an interview with ina.fr, Berniece shared her doubts about Marilyn’s death being a suicide. Recalling their last conversation, she revealed Marilyn’s excitement about her upcoming plans. Berniece recounted Marilyn’s enthusiasm for her new house and her involvement in designing curtains, highlighting her sense of anticipation and happiness.

To immortalize their unique relationship and shed light on their intertwined lives, Berniece collaborated with her daughter, Mona, to co-author My Sister Marilyn: A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe. Published on 1st June 1994—Marilyn’s birthday—this poignant memoir chronicled their rare shared moments. The book delved into not only their personal relationship but also the difficulties they faced due to their mother’s mental health struggles.

Within the pages of the memoir, readers gain insight into their shared upbringing marked by the absence of a stable maternal figure. Berniece and Marilyn found strength in each other, navigating life’s challenges through unwavering support.

Accompanied by a collection of exclusive photographs, My Sister Marilyn garnered accolades from critics, including Entertainment Weekly, which praised it as an invaluable portrayal of Marilyn. It remains the sole authorised biography of Marilyn’s family. Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that the passage of time may have introduced minor inaccuracies in the recollections documented in the book.

Despite maintaining a low profile, Berniece led a diverse professional life, serving as a manufacturing inspector, bookkeeper, and costume designer. Her existence was marked by unassuming dedication, rather than the pursuit of public attention. Tragically, Berniece passed away in Asheville, North Carolina, on 25 May 2014, at the age of 94, marking the end of a life characterised by a unique bond that transcended the challenges of fame and adversity.

The True Life Story of Marilyn Monroe

In the burgeoning fame of 1952, Marilyn Monroe’s star was ascending at an unprecedented pace, and with it came a surge of stories about her life. Among those who chose to shed light on her personal journey was her former sister-in-law, Elyda Nelson, the sister of James Dougherty. In the December issue of Modern Screen, she candidly shared insights into Marilyn’s marriage to her brother. Click on the images to enlarge the story.

Marilyn Monroe’s Final Home

“Now that I’ve turned thirty-six, this is a dream come true for me—my having my own home, my own house. I have an apartment in New York City on Sutton Place, and I’m officially a legal resident of New York, but since pictures are still made in Hollywood, that’s where I have to be  for work. I decided it was time for me to buy a house, instead of leasing one all the time… It’s a cute little Mexican-style house with eight rooms, and at least I can say it’s mine—but not alone. I have a partner…The bank! I have a mortgage to pay off… The address is cute, too: 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Brentwood. And get this, I’m in a cul-de-sac or, as we call it, a dead-end street. It’s small, but I find it rather cozy that way. It’s quiet and peaceful—just what I need right now.”

Marilyn Monroe’s life was a whirlwind of glamour and fame, but amidst the chaos of Hollywood, she found solace and privacy in her home at 12305 5th Helena Drive in Brentwood, Los Angeles. This picturesque Spanish-style hacienda became an integral part of her legacy and is a symbol of an era gone by. However, as of September 1962, the home is at risk of demolition as the news has broken that the current owners have applied and succeeded in getting permission for its demolition. Here is a history of the home that Marilyn cherished so dearly.



Built in 1929, 12305 Helena Drive is a stunning example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The property’s distinct red-tiled roof, white stucco walls, and arched doorways are characteristic of this architectural style.

Before Marilyn Monroe lived there, the property had its own history. Built in the early years of Hollywood, and like many homes in the Brentwood area, it represented the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style that was popular during that era in Los Angeles. While specific historical details about its previous occupants or notable events are not widely documented, the house itself was part of the architectural landscape of Brentwood, a neighbourhood that has long been associated with the entertainment industry and various Hollywood personalities. It’s worth noting that the property’s historical significance became even more pronounced after Marilyn Monroe’s residence there, contributing to its enduring legacy.

While online records might not yield extensive information about the property’s pre-Marilyn era, its age of nearly a century underscores its role as a repository of Hollywood’s illustrious past within its very walls.

  • 1929 – 12305 is built
  • May 1949 – Los Angeles Times advertises the property for sale
  • December 1961 – Los Angeles Times advertises the property for sale


Marilyn Monroe purchased the home in February 1962, just six months before her tragic death. It was her desire for privacy and a sense of stability that led her to this charming abode. The house served as a haven away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi and allowed her to enjoy moments of serenity.

During her brief but significant time at 12305 Helena Drive, Marilyn made some personal touches to the house.

She made sure the home reflected her unique style and fitted in with the architecture of the property itself. Decorated with Mexican-style furnishings hand-selected from her trip to Mexico, the interiors of 12305 Helena Drive embodied Marilyn’s personality and charm.

There are a few images of Marilyn Monroe in the home. These iconic shots were captured by Allan Grant in July 1962, intended to accompany an article penned by Richard Meryman in the same month. In these images, Marilyn is gracefully seated upon an opulent Italian-style carved wood corner chair adorned with sumptuous olive green velvet upholstery. This particular chair was one of the star’s cherished possessions, gracing her newly-acquired Brentwood residence. It was sold at Julien’s in 2019 for $81,250. 

Other photographs of the property, taken after her passing, reveal an array of captivating elements. Among them, tapestries drape the walls, dark wood cabinets add an air of sophistication, a chess set invites intellectual pursuits, and the exquisite Mexican tiles provide a rich tapestry of cultural beauty.



Following Marilyn Monroe’s untimely death in August 1962, the fate of her beloved home at 12305 Helena Drive entered a new chapter. The house witnessed a flurry of interest, with several competing purchase offers emerging within a day. In May 1963, the Nunez family became the proprietors of Marilyn’s final home with Dr. Gilbert Nunez also passing away in the property.

The subsequent ownership of the bungalow gets somewhat tricky to understand because of Trusts and Deeds from all directions and multiple real estate websites dating ownership differently However, this is what I have managed to compile to the best of my ability and am happy to edit any mistakes made.

  • September 1963 – Gilbert and Betty Nunez become owners of the home
  • 1980 – The Nunez family sells the property to Alexander Bull
  • 1994 – Alexander Bull sells the home to Michael Ritchie, film director, for $995,000
  • 1996 – Cynthia and Henry Rust buy the hacienda from Ritchie
  • 2007 – Cynthia Rust becomes sole owner of the property
  • 2010 – Cynthia Rust sells to David Weber Trust for $3,850,038
  • 2012 – David Weber Trust sells to William Capps for $5.1 million
  • 2015 – William Capps “gifts” the home to Donna Kaplan
  • 2017 – Donna Kaplan sells to Glory of Snow 1031 LLC $7.25 million
  • 2023 – Grant Deed is made from Glory of Snow 1031 LLC to Glory of Snow Trust

Source: PropertyShark, Julien’s Auctions


In September 2023, it was announced that the owners of 12305 Fifth Helena Drive had received approval for its demolition. This news stirred deep emotions of dismay and sorrow among Marilyn Monroe’s admirers worldwide. For them, this house held a special place in their hearts, as it was where Marilyn found solace and where she spent her final moments.

From a moral standpoint, preserving this historic landmark should be a priority. Just as countless homes and culturally significant structures have been safeguarded over the years, 12305 Helena Drive deserves the same protection. It stands as a testament to an era of Hollywood glamour and the memory of an iconic figure whose legacy continues to resonate with people across generations.


🚨URGENT!🚨 Hollywood’s iconic “blonde bombshell” Marilyn Monroe left us way too soon, and now her house where she lived—and died in 1962—may also be lost **if we don’t act quickly.** Owners have filed plans to build a new house on the site of Monroe’s 1929 Spanish, hacienda-style home in Brentwood, and it appears clearance for a demolition permit may already be in place. Identified in 2013 by the City’s SurveyLA program as being potentially historic, the house is currently unprotected.

While we are definitely in the 11th hour, please reach out to Councilmember


@councilwomanTraciPark(councilmember.park@lacity.org and 213-473-7011) and ask her to *immediately* initiate the Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) process for Monroe’s house at 12305 5th Helena Drive!

If not too late and successful, this could allow the City and residents to consider if Monroe’s house should be protected, spared from demolition, and ultimately designated as an HCM. This action can still allow owners to update and even expand the house if desired but ensure its essential character, and Monroe’s association, is maintained.


Naturally, many fans envision the transformation of Marilyn Monroe’s former home into a dedicated Marilyn museum, but this idea presents several significant challenges.

Firstly, establishing such a museum would require finding a capable and dedicated curator or manager. Additionally, assembling a collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia would be a daunting task, as her belongings have been dispersed among collectors worldwide.

The property’s location compounds these challenges. Situated in a small cul-de-sac within the serene confines of Brentwood, it mirrors the allure of privacy that drew Marilyn and countless other celebrities to live there. Transforming it into a museum would disrupt the tranquillity enjoyed by the surrounding residents, potentially leading to disturbances caused by an influx of hundreds of fans and inadequate parking facilities.

In contrast, iconic landmarks like Graceland and Charlie Chaplin’s Swiss residence, which have successfully become museums, are grand mansions managed by established historical organisations, set in more spacious and accommodating environments. Balancing the preservation of Marilyn’s memory with the practical realities of her former home’s location presents a unique and complex preservation challenge.

A better scenario would involve the property falling into the hands of an owner who values its rich history, content with preserving its character as a bungalow rather than transforming it into a lavish mansion. Such an owner would grasp the profound significance of this place to Marilyn’s fans.

The property’s substantial walls already provide a degree of privacy, shielding it from intrusive gazes. Fans yearn for the preservation of not only Marilyn’s former home but also other historic buildings across Los Angeles, shielding them from the threat of demolition. In this way, the legacy of Marilyn Monroe and the broader cultural heritage of the city can endure, appreciated and safeguarded for generations to come.

9 September 2023: Councilwoman Park has confirmed that the demolition permit has been revoked and demolition is currently halted. 

Marilyn Monroe’s Beauty Secrets

Marilyn Monroe, the iconic Hollywood actress renowned for her timeless beauty and charm, possessed an array of beauty secrets that contributed to her legendary allure. From her makeup routines to her skincare practices, Marilyn’s approach to beauty was both meticulous and captivating.


A landmark Christie’s auction in 1999 featured a black case containing an array of Marilyn Monroe’s makeup and beauty items. This collection provides a glimpse into the products that were integral to Marilyn’s beauty routines:

  • Three lipsticks by Max Factor.
  • Elizabeth Arden cream eyeshadows in gold-tone tubes named “Autumn Smoke” and “Pearly Blue.”
  • Elizabeth Arden “Eye Stopper” eyeliners in brown and black.
  • Leichner of London’s cream “Light Green” eyeshadow.
  • Revlon nail polish bottles in “Cherries a la Mode” and “Hot Coral,” along with a bottle of cuticle oil.
  • Eyeliner and flash eyelashes by Glorene of Hollywood.
  • Black liquid eyeliner and “Hollywood Wings.”
  • Perfumed lotion from Shisheido’s “Quintess” line.
  • Anita d’Foged “Day Dew” cream make-up and cover-up.
  • Erno Lazlo makeup.
  • Various accessories including matchbooks, paper fans, satin purses, pocket mirrors, and a bottle of smelling salts.


Marilyn’s makeup was a pivotal element of her distinctive look.

Her makeup artist, Allan “Whitey” Snyder, played a vital role in crafting her iconic appearance. According to Snyder, Marilyn was well-versed in makeup tricks, from accentuating her eyes to choosing the right oils and colour bases.

Here is the technique he used for Marilyn’s iconic look.

“I can sit here and do the whole thing in my sleep. Put the base all over, lightly. The formula we used that perfectly matched her natural flesh tone was to mix a quart of Max Factor’s ‘sun tan base,’ a half cup of ‘ivory’ coloring, and an eyedropper of  ‘clown white.’ Then, highlight under her eyes. Pull the highlight out over and across the cheekbones to widen. Highlight her chin. Eyeshadow was toned, and that slow ran out to her hairline. Then the pencil on top. I’d outline her eyes very clearly with pencil, but I’d make a peak right up – say almost three-sixteenths of an inch – above the pupil of her eye, and the swing it out there and from there on out was where we put eyelashes. Also, the bottom line was shaded in with a pencil to make her eyes stand out fully and good. Her eyebrows came out to a point as far as I could get them to widen her forehead. So I’d bring them o a peak just outside the center of her eyes and then sweep down to a good-looking eyebrow. You couldn’t go out much further than that or it would look phony. Shading broke the bones underneath her cheekbone. I just brought a little line down there, a little darker shadow, so that it helped her stand out. Lipstick, we used various colors. As the industry changed, we got down to normal colors. At first, we had a hell of a time with Cinemascope – no reds photographed anything but auburn. We had to go to light pink.” – Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder

Her mastery of illusion allowed her to transform into the enchanting Marilyn adored by fans worldwide. The two worked closely since they first met in 1946, experimenting with a variety of looks before perfecting the infamous Monroe look we know so well until her death in 1962.

You can see a tutorial by Erin Parsons here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3oproTUa5c


Founded by Dr Erno Laszlo, the brand’s innovative approach to skincare earned it a loyal following among celebrities and luminaries.

Marilyn’s endorsement of Erno Laszlo’s products adds a layer of prestige to their influence on her radiant complexion. Erno Laszlo offers a range of skincare solutions tailored to different needs. From cleansing and hydrating to specialised treatments, Erno Laszlo’s products were designed to elevate skincare routines to a luxurious experience.

Outlined below is Dr Lazlo’s skincare regimen from 17th March 1959, tailored specifically for Mrs Marilyn Monroe Miller.

This comprehensive plan is divided into different parts of the day, distinguishing between an “evening out for a formal occasion” and a pre-sleep routine. The prescription also includes dietary suggestions for maintaining optimal skin health, including avoiding nuts, chocolate, olives, oysters, and clams.

Commencing with the morning routine, Marilyn’s skincare began with cleansing using Erno Lazlo Active Phelityl Soap and warm water. Following this, she was instructed to apply Erno Laszlo Normaliser Shake-It, a tinted mattifying toner that has recently been re-introduced in partnership with the Makeup Museum. The application process involves shaking the bottle, soaking a piece of cotton until it’s slightly saturated, and then gently applying it across her face, excluding the delicate eye area. Any excess is to be blotted off immediately. For the eyes, Marilyn was advised to use Erno Laszlo pHelitone Eye Cream, a product that is no longer available, followed by the discontinued Duo-Phase Face Powder, evenly spread over her face and neck.

For formal occasions, Marilyn was directed to apply and gently blot the Shake-It toner before applying her eye cream to her face, including the neck and décolleté. Then, she was to blot the cream with a tissue and apply the aforementioned Duo-Phase Powder.

The evening routine, before preparing to sleep, was more intricate. It began with an oil-based cleanse, where Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Oil was applied, rinsed off, and the face gently dried with a towel. Next, the rich Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Cream was to be applied to the entire face. Subsequently, a piece of cotton was soaked, again “to the dripping point,” this time with well-shaken Erno Laszlo Controlling Lotion toner, and used to gently cleanse the skin. The face was then gently dried with a clean towel, and the Controlling Lotion was reapplied exclusively to the nose and chin areas and left to naturally dry overnight.


Marilyn’s first husband, James Dougherty, revealed that Marilyn would wash her face several times a day to maintain a flawless complexion.

Dougherty also shared that Marilyn used Vaseline to prevent her skin from drying out. This was a testament to her commitment to preserving her natural beauty and ensuring that her skin remained hydrated and supple.

Details from a March 1962 statement reveal that Marilyn’s dedication to beauty came at a cost. The statement listed her beauty expenses at a total of $2,459.43, covering an array of beauty treatments and supplies. Adjusted for inflation, this amount today would be approximately £15,580.27. This insight underscores Marilyn’s commitment to upholding her iconic image.


Marilyn Monroe’s beauty secrets comprised a fusion of makeup expertise, skincare devotion, and meticulous care. Her ability to metamorphose into an icon through carefully honed looks and routines is a testament to her abiding influence on beauty and style. The items auctioned by Christie’s and her financial statements offer glimpses into the woman behind the legend, revealing the products and investments that contributed to Marilyn’s timeless magnetism.


As we continue to celebrate Marilyn Monroe’s legacy, her beauty secrets remind us that genuine beauty transcends surface appearances—it’s about embracing and enhancing our individual traits, much as Marilyn did with grace and charm. Marilyn’s dedication to beauty serves as a muse, urging us to invest time in self-care and grooming rituals that evoke confidence and empowerment. Just as she left an indelible mark on Hollywood, Marilyn’s beauty legacy continues to captivate and inspire successive generations.