Marilyn & Her Sexuality

“Labels–people love putting labels on each other. Then they feel safe.” – Marilyn Monroe to WJ Weatherby in 1960

We live in a world where someone is “queer-baiting” because they have a large gay fan base and they support the gay community or because they pose nude for gay magazines and wear certain clothes. And because they won’t come out, they are immediately seen as “baiting” the LGBTQ+ community.

And yet we have those who will comment on how a seemingly heterosexual individual is “gay” or “queer” purely because one wants them to be. Why we cannot just be ourselves and keep our private lives private is astonishing to me…

The TikTok generation has made Marilyn Monroe into many things:

  • ADHD
  • Depressed
  • Bi-Polar
  • A devout Jew
  • Mexican
  • Lesbian
  • Paedophile
  • Autistic

But one of the most common claims is that Marilyn was asexual.

Other than paedophilia it is perfectly acceptable and fine to be any of the above. But not if it isn’t genuine or factually accurate.

 

WHAT IS ASEXUALITY?

The “official” definition of asexuality is as follows:

Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity.

This isn’t to say some asexual people don’t enjoy sexual experiences by themselves. However, this isn’t true of Marilyn.

 

“SHE DID NOT LIKE SEX”

Emily Ratajkowski claimed on her podcast that Marilyn Monroe “did not like sex.” It’s not a completely false statement. But it does show how Em Rata limited her research to a couple of online articles. If she had looked into Marilyn a little more, she would’ve seen Marilyn speak about sex and her enjoyment of it very openly.

Many are defending this label being given to a woman who has been dead since 1962, by commenting on statements Marilyn made regarding her early marriage:

“I was completely faithful to my overseas husband, but that wasn’t because I loved him or even because I had moral ideas. My fidelity was due to my lack of interest in sex.” (This statement is untrue as letters confirm Marilyn did in fact have an affair with Andre De Dienes…)

“Sex is a baffling thing when it doesn’t happen. I used to wake up in the morning when I was married, and wonder if the whole world was crazy, whooping about sex all the time… Then it dawned on me that people – other women – were different than me.”

“They could feel things I couldn’t. And when I started reading books I ran into the words ‘frigid,’ ‘rejected,’ and ‘lesbian.’ I wondered if I was all three of those things.”

Marilyn had just turned sixteen when she married James Dougherty, which she did in order to not to be sent to an orphanage. And although Jimmy claimed he and Marilyn had a fruitful sex life Marilyn didn’t speak of it as fondly as he did.

Let us remember that her first sexual experience was with a man she married for convenience purposes. Although she felt great affection for Dougherty, it probably felt to Marilyn that she was obligated to have sex with this man, who got her out of a tricky situation.

“WE’RE ALL BORN SEXUAL CREATURES, THANK GOD.”

The obsession to label someone, which is conveniently dead, is something I can understand. But only to an extent. We put labels on ourselves to make sense of our feelings and identity. But it is ludicrous to do it for other people, primarily based on a sexual relationship between a teenage bride and her scapegoat husband.

Firstly, our sex lives (no matter how much we discuss it) are no one else’s business. To label someone just because it makes you feel better is unfair.

It is not acephobic to say Marilyn was not asexual. Just as it isn’t homophobic to state Marilyn was not a lesbian. Whatever she was, I’d love her. But that fact is – she wasn’t asexual or a lesbian.

Marilyn spoke about sex. Sex with men, specifically. She chatted about it with journalists. She even discussed it with friends (she supposedly told Amy Greene how Joe DiMaggio was “fantastic in bed.”)

Here are a few quotes where Marilyn discusses sexuality:

“A man who kissed me once had said it was very possible I was a lesbian because I apparently had no response to males – meaning him. I didn’t contradict him because I didn’t know what I was. There were times even when I didn’t feel human and times when all I could think of was dying. There was also the sinister fact that a well-made woman had always thrilled me to look at. Now having fallen in love, I knew what I was. It wasn’t a lesbian.” – Marilyn Monroe to Ben Hecht in 1954.

“The world and its excitement over sex didn’t seem crazy. In fact, it didn’t seem crazy enough.” – Marilyn Monroe to Ben Hecht in 1954.

“I think that sexuality is only attractive when it’s natural and spontaneous. This is where a lot of them miss the boat. And then something I’d just like to spout off on. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real art, comes from it — everything.” – Marilyn Monroe to Richard Meryman in 1962.

“It’s a part of nature. I go along with nature.” – Marilyn Monroe discussing sex to Pete Martin in 1956.

“I sometimes felt I was hooked on sex, the way an alcoholic is on liquor or a junkie on dope.” – Marilyn Monroe to WJ Weatherby in 1960.

“I was remembering Monty Clift. People who aren’t fit to open the door for him sneer at his homosexuality. What do they know about it? Labels–people love putting labels on each other. Then they feel safe. People tried to make me into a lesbian. I laughed. No sex is wrong if there’s love in it. But too often people act like it’s gymnasium work, mechanical. They’d be as satisfied with a machine from a drugstore as with another human being. I sometimes felt they were trying to make me into a machine.” – Marilyn Monroe to WJ Weatherby in 1960.

“No director ever said, ‘Now Marilyn, be sexy!’ Sex isn’t a thing apart, it’s all of you. Sometimes, after a scene, somebody will say, ‘Great! Very sexy, Marilyn!’ But I have just done something very natural.” – Marilyn Monroe, LOOK magazine in 1957.

It doesn’t matter how you live your sex life, or who with – as long as it is legal and safe. But we should not label others, especially those who are not here now, as it isn’t anyone’s place to do so.

 

Marilyn Monroe & The Casting Couch

Marilyn Monroe was part of the casting couch system in Hollywood. That’s what many believe… but is it true?

In many people’s minds, Marilyn Monroe was unable to reach Hollywood stardom without using her body. However, she stated that she was “determined” to not become another starlet who slept her way to fame. That’s not to say she didn’t have help along the way…

 

IN HER OWN WORDS

In her ghost-written biography, My Story which was drafted in 1953 and 1954 (initially as articles), she discusses her time as a starlet, trying to make her way into Hollywood.

 “These wolves just could not understand me. They would tell me, ‘But Marilyn, you’re not playing the game the way you should. Be smart. You’ll never get anywhere in this business acting the way you do.’ My answer to them would be, ‘The only acting I’ll do is for the camera.’ I was determined, no one was going to use me or my body—even if he could help my career. I’ve never gone out with a man I didn’t want to. No one, not even the studio, could force me to date someone. The one thing I hate more than anything else is being used. I’ve always worked hard for the sake of someday becoming a talented actress. I knew I would make it someday if I only kept at it and worked hard without lowering my principles and pride in myself.”

Marilyn also discussed how she turned down offers of private yacht trips with Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, which he did not appreciate. It may have even slowed her career down as her contract was not renewed after Ladies of The Chorus.

She had completed 12 films (credited) in the space of five years. Five of those movies didn’t even show her on the screen. Alas, she kept working even when her contracts weren’t extended.

In fact, Marilyn didn’t get a starring role until Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)

 

“I’VE ALWAYS WORKED HARD FOR THE SAKE OF SOMEDAY BECOMING A TALENTED ACTRESS.”

 To stand out, Marilyn took several classes. She studied dance, singing and acting. Marilyn would also have many publicity photoshoots and attend events in an attempt to gain media attention.

“I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I wear inside. But, my God, how I wanted to learn! To change, to improve! I didn’t want anything else. Not men, not money, not love but to ability to act.” – My Story

Whilst she was at Fox in the late 1940s, they sent her to The Actors Laboratory where stage writers and directors from Broadway came to present their work in Los Angeles. Many of the works focussed on the difficulties of the world which helped expand Marilyn’s outlook. It developed her interest in Method Acting, something she continued to work on until her death in 1962. Marilyn enjoyed her studies and spent 1947 following these acting lessons, reading plays and studying scenes. When she wasn’t working at the studio, she would often be taking part in study and theatre groups to continue her craft. 

 

 IT’S WHO YOU KNOW

Not only did she toil, but she attended many publicity events and studio parties where she networked, despite not being a fan of parties.

This is how she met connections like Joe Schenck (the former head of Fox) and Darryl Zanuck (current head of Fox at the time).

“In Hollywood a girl’s virtue is much less important than her hair-do. You’re judged by how you look, not by what you are. Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty cents.” – My Story.

Rumours had circulated that Marilyn and Schenck had been sexually involved, however they both denied this. Marilyn stated to Maurice Zolotow:

“Get this straight Mr. Schenck and I were good friends. He gave me encouragement when I needed it. He didn’t do anything for me. He let Mr. Zanuck run the studio the way Mr. Zanuck wanted to run it. I know the word around Hollywood was I was Joe Schenck’s girlfriend, but that’s a lie. The only favor I ever asked him, Mr. Schenck, was later, when I was back at Twentieth. I wanted a decent dressing room, and I asked him about it, and he put in a good word for me and I got a good dressing room. I never asked him to help me get good parts at Twentieth, and he didn’t. He knew how I felt about it, that I wanted to succeed on my talent, not any other way, and he respected my feelings. I went to his house because I liked Mr. Schenck and I liked his food and it was better than the Studio Club food. I don’t mean to imply the Studio Club had bad food. I mean, let’s say, that Mr. Schenck’s cook was just better than their cook.”

Schenck himself said:

“She used to come here quite often for dinner. I think she liked to eat. We have good food here. No, I never had any romantic thoughts about Marilyn and she never had any thoughts about me.“

JOHNNY HYDE

Marilyn met Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde at the end of 1948.  Hyde, who was thirty years Marilyn’s senior, was married with children but became smitten by the young starlet. He left wife and children for Marilyn in the hopes she would agree to marry him, however Marilyn refused. She said of Johnny in 1961:

“I loved him dearly. But I wasn’t in love with him. He was wonderful to me and he was a dear friend. It was Johnny who inspired me to read good books and enjoy good music.”

Although Marilyn’s relationship with Johnny was not that of a typical casting couch system, it cannot be denied that he didn’t help her. With his connections, guidance and security Marilyn was able to help develop her status in Hollywood. Despite this, Marilyn’s career was slow and steady. with bit parts as a sexy secretary or dumb sex pot. It wasn’t until after Johnny Hyde’s death Marilyn’s career soared. 

Whatever connections Marilyn may have had it took networking, work and time to make Marilyn Monroe the icon she was (and is). As Marilyn’s benefactor, Lucille Ryman said to Floral Muir in the 1950s: “Under Marilyn’s babydoll exterior, she is tough and shrewd and calculating or she wouldn’t be where she is today.” 

 

Why We Love Marilyn Monroe

She’s beautiful. She’s sexy. But why does Marilyn Monroe still draw so many people to her, despite passing away almost 60 years ago? Here are 30 reasons why Marilyn fans love Marilyn Monroe:

  1. Marilyn worked hard for her craft, especially earlier on in her career. She studied acting, speech, dance and singing to try and increase her chances of getting movie roles.

  2. Marilyn proved that a girl from a poorer background with an unstable family can star in some of the biggest movies in the world and be known as a legend.

  3. Marilyn was open about her sexual abuse as a child. She spoke about it in My Story saying she discovered sexual contact when she was nine to a man called Mr Kimmel.

  4. Her book collection displayed her desire to learn, her passion for literature, art and history – something which people don’t expect from a sex symbol.

  5. Looks in other men weren’t important to her. She married Joe DiMaggio, a world-famous baseball star and playwright Arthur Miller, not. exactly heartthrobs like James Dean or Marlon Brando (although she did temporarily date Brando).

  6. Marilyn loved animals. It is said that when she was married to her first husband, Jim Dougherty, she wanted to bring a cow into the house because it was stuck outside in the rain.

  7. She wasn’t afraid to break the rules, embrace her body and her sex appeal. Marilyn wore clothes that were not the “norm” for women in the 1950s. Her plunging, tight gowns had much of Hollywood in horror but also encouraged women to be more open about their bodies.

  8. Marilyn wasn’t afraid of telling the truth. For example, when it was discovered she posed nude in the 1940s for a calendar, the studio wanted her to deny that she was the one in the photos. But she didn’t lie, she embraced it.

  9. Marilyn loved children and desperately wanted her own but unfortunately, she suffered from an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages leaving her childless. She worked with various charities involving children and when she went to an orphanage in Mexico she donated $10,000.

  10. She was very generous. Marilyn’s friends often commented on how Marilyn would buy them gifts despite not having much money. If they commented that they liked something it would most likely be delivered to their door the next day.

  11. Marilyn didn’t talk badly about others. Even when she was angry at her studio after she was fired in 1962, she didn’t mention any names.

  12. Marilyn stood her ground. When filming the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she questioned why she was not given a dressing room considering she was “the blonde.” She wasn’t going to be walked over.

  13. She had the courage to stand up to the studio and made her own production company to ensure she wouldn’t be typecast in “dumb blonde” roles.

  14. She saw the best in people and forgave those for their wrongdoing (with the exception of a few). Seven years after her divorce from Joe DiMaggio, he had her released from Payne Whitney after she was wrongly institutionalised. Marilyn spent a lot of time with Joe before her death meaning she put all bad feelings aside.

  15. It was easy for Marilyn to talk about equal rights at a time when it was still a subject of taboo, whether it be sexuality or race. She was also very happy to socialise publicity with people of colour and those from the LGBT community.

    “People who aren’t fit to open the door for him sneer at his homosexuality. What do they know about it? Labels – people love putting labels on each other. Then they feel safe. People tried to make me into a lesbian. I laughed. No sex is wrong if there’s love in it.” – Marilyn to Journalist W.J. Weatherby on friend and co-star Montgomery Clift in 1960 recorded in Conversations With Marilyn.

    “I think you’ve got to love people, all kinds of people, to be able to have an opinion about them that’s worth anything. The whole idea of judging people is crazy. We do what we have to do, and we pay for it. We’re no better than we have to be. We can try to be better, and part of trying is not to condemn other people.” – Marilyn to Journalist W.J. Weatherby in 1960 recorded in Conversations With Marilyn.

  16. Marilyn knew what worked and what didn’t in the makeup and fashion department. She had many beauty techniques, doing things that made her stand out from the crowd.

  17. She was a feminist. Check out this book by Michelle Morgan [x]

  18. Marilyn truly cared about her career and wanted to do well at it. She wouldn’t give up just because there were those who doubted her ability or talent.

  19. She always believed in being true to herself.

    “I believe in myself, even my most delicate, intangible feelings.” – from a handwritten note.

  20. She wasn’t ashamed of her insecurities or anxiety. In fact, she wanted to overcome them and better herself.

  21. Marilyn appreciated and loved her fans.

    “And I want to say to the people, if I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did.” – Marilyn to Richard Meryman, 1962.

  22. Material possessions weren’t important to her. Marilyn didn’t own lavish gowns (they were often borrowed from the studio and worn on several occasions) or jewels or large homes. She was very modest in her decorating and lifestyle. In fact, when she died she had only a few thousand dollars, not much for the world’s largest movie star.

  23. She was a great comedy actress as well as a dramatic actress.

    “She was an absolute genius as a comedic actress, with an extraordinary sense for comedic dialogue. It was a God-given gift. Believe me, in the last fifteen years there were ten projects that came to me, and I’d start working on them and I’d think, ‘It’s not going to work, it needs Marilyn Monroe.’ Nobody else is in that orbit; everyone else is earthbound by comparison.” – Billy Wilder

  24. Marilyn didn’t sleep her way to fame (if she had she would’ve made more money, a lot faster). She spent time with men who would be able to further her career via networking, and she spent time with them so she would be fed as she had no money to live on. This is why she posed nude in 1949, so she could get her car to travel to work (the shoot had the photographer’s wife present).

    “I was determined, no one was going to use me or my body—even if he could help my career. I’ve never gone out with a man I didn’t want to. No one, not even the studio, could force me to date someone. The one thing I hate more than anything else is being used. I’ve always worked hard for the sake of someday becoming a talented actress. I knew I would make it someday if I only kept at it and worked hard without lowering my principles and pride in myself.” – Marilyn in My Story

  25. She was witty! This is one of my favourite moments [x]

  26. Marilyn wasn’t afraid to dress down or go without makeup in public. She was very down to earth and not as vain as some make-out.

  27. Her laugh was sweet, her smile radiant and her heart warm.

  28. She believed in respecting others.

    “Respect is one of life’s greatest treasures.” – Marilyn to George Barris, 1962.

  29. Marilyn knew exactly how to get the attention of those around her. She studied body language and movement and was able to switch it on as soon as she had to become the Marilyn Monroe that people expected to see.

  30. She wanted to be surrounded by intellectuals, not Hollywood stars. Her friends and associates were acting coach Lee Strasberg, poet Carl Sandburg, husband and playwright Arthur Miller and author Truman Capote.

Marilyn was more than just an image, she was a person. A human being who worked hard and suffered for her art. Why do you love Marilyn?

Marilyn Monroe and RFK – The Affair That Never Happened… Or Did It?

All the credit for THE BIG AFFAIR always goes to the big brother, John F Kennedy, doesn’t it? But what about Little Bobby? Some researchers feel this affair was even more likely than the one with John… But is it?

Note: This post will solely discuss Marilyn and RFK’s “relationship” and not the theories surrounding her death. For that, please read here.


FAMILY GUY

If you read my post about Bobby’s brother and MM, you’d know Marilyn herself had slept/had relationships with married men in her time (Johnny Hyde, Andre De Dienes, Arthur Miller to name a few), one of which was when she herself was married (with Yves Montand).

But unlike his brother, Bobby wasn’t and never has really been famous for sleeping around. Edwin Guthman, Department of Justice as press secretary for Attorney General said, “I travelled with Bobby, day and night for five years and I never saw him pay attention to anyone but his wife.”

Bobby married his wife Ethel in 1950, going on to have 11 (!!!) children together. He was known for being shy, gentle and timid as well as being a very loyal husband. The rumours that he would divorce Ethel in 1962 are far from likely.


WHEN AND WHERE DID THE KENNEDY/MONROE AFFAIR RUMOURS START?

This section may seem to be a repeat from the JFK post but as this is about Bobby, we can go a bit further back as the rumours started before the 3 August 1962 when Dorothy Kilgallen alluded that Marilyn was spending time with an unnamed man.

Jean Kennedy Smith, sibling to Robert F Kennedy wrote to Marilyn (undated but likely in 1962) thanking her for a note Marilyn sent to Joseph Kennedy and hinted at the rumours that had been circulating. This shows that the rumours had started before the August article.

In 1994, Jean Kennedy Smith addressed the letter before it went to auction stating to New York Post “The suggestion that the letter verifies an affair is utter nonsense. I am shocked anyone would believe such innuendo about a letter obviously written in jest.”

A ‘HANDSOME GENTLEMAN’

Now, it’s important to note Marilyn was spending time with multiple gentlemen in the 1960s, but that doesn’t mean they were all sexual. According to Mimosa by Ralph Roberts, Marilyn and her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio had agreed to see each other and, if they so wished, date others. So, since her divorce from Arthur Miller, it can be confirmed Marilyn spent time with Joe, Frank Sinatra, Jose Bolanos (at the Golden Globes) and, almost definitely, John F Kennedy. But what about Bobby?

Well, Dorothy believed she had the scoop in August 1962…

It could be a Kennedy brother or maybe even Frank Sinatra, although that story was old news in 1961. This name is never confirmed in print. Dorothy did later tell friends that it was in reference to Robert Kennedy.

So, how did the infamous gossip columnist, who is known for both raising and trashing Marilyn’s name, find out this juicy information?

“CIA” DOCUMENT

According to an alleged CIA document (now believed to be a forgery*), Kilgallen received this intel via her interior decorator friend, Howard Rothberg who had no direct link to Marilyn. The unauthenticated document states that Kilgallen’s conversations had been wiretapped, that the Kennedy brothers had “broken up” with Marilyn, and that she “had secrets to tell” such as UFOs in Roswell…

1. Rothberg discussed the apparent comeback of subject with Kilgallen and the break up with the Kennedys. Rothberg told Kilgallen that she was attending Hollywood parties hosted by the “inner circle” among Hollywood’s elite and was becoming the talk of the town again. Rothberg indicated in so many words, that she had secrets to tell, no doubt arising from her trists with the President and the Attorney General. One such “secret” mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space. Kilgallen replied that she knew what might be the source of visit. In the mid-fifties Kilgallen learned of secret effort by US and UK governments to identify the origins of crashed spacecraft and dead bodies, from a British government official. Kilgallen believed the story may have come from the New Mexico story in the late forties. Kilgallen said that if the story is true, it would cause terrible embarrassment for Jack and his plans to have NASA put men on the moon.

2. Subject repeatedly called the Attorney General and complained about the way she was being ignored by the President and his brother.

3. Subject threatened to hold a press conference and would tell all.

4. Subject made reference to “bases” in Cuba and knew of the President’s plan to kill Castro.

5. Subject made reference to her “diary of secrets” and what the newspapers would do with such disclosures.

Dorothy Kilgallen herself since has been a victim of conspiracy theories surrounding her death which officially was due to a cocktail of alcohol and barbiturates.

The rumours spun out of control when Frank Capell got hold of this idea and ran with it. And then there was the FBI.

J. Edgar Hoover, King of Blacklisting, had a file on Marilyn Monroe dating back from 1956, way before her first meeting with any Kennedy, when she married suspected communist Arthur Miller. But she wasn’t the only one. Charlie Chaplin, Andy Warhol, Walt Disney and more were a part of Hoover’s morality scrutinisation. And the Kennedy family couldn’t escape his wrath either.

William Sullivan, Deputy Director of the FBI stated in his autobiography The Bureau: My Thirty Years In Hoover’s FBI“Although Hoover was desperately trying to catch Bobby Kennedy red-handed at anything, he never did. Kennedy was almost a Puritan. We used to watch him at parties, where he would order one glass of scotch and still be sipping from the same glass two hours later. The stories about Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were just stories. The original story was invented by a so-called journalist, a right-wing zealot who had a history of spinning wild yarns. It spread like wildfire, of course, and J. Edgar Hoover was right there, gleefully fanning the flames.”


WORD ABOUT TOWN

As mentioned earlier, the affair rumour had gotten into the Kennedy clan, with Jean Smith joking that Marilyn and Bobby were now an item. But as stated in the New York Post, she confirmed there was zero sincerity in her note.

But unlike his brother, Bobby wasn’t and never has really been famous for sleeping around. Edwin Guthman said, “Ethel was the woman in his life, and he seemed uninterested in any other except in the normal, socially acceptable and public way of such things… And to have an affair? Well, frankly it wasn’t in his character.”

When asked about the rumours surrounding her affair with Bobby, Marilyn told Ralph Roberts and Rupert Allan that it was untrue. Sidney Skolsky as well as other friends including Milton Ebbins, Joseph Naar and William Asher insist the relationship was platonic.

Of course, there are those who claim to have heard Marilyn and the brothers engaging in sexual acts, through bugging and tapes. Of course, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to confirm this. No dates and no tapes. A book and a documentary are all that we have to document this, which does nothing but further a rumour and myth as well as a reputation for someone who has nothing else going for them.


MARILYN & RFK, A TIMELINE OF MEETINGS
RUMOURED AND CONFIRMED

Marilyn did indeed meet RFK and call him on several occasions to which Edwin Guthman (who I mentioned earlier) stated, “Marilyn did indeed call [Kennedy] several times at his Washington office. Bobby was a good listener, and he took interest in her questions, her life, even her troubles. But the truth is that for me, for Bobby, and for Angie [Novello, Kennedy’s secretary] the calls became something of a joke, and certainly not a secret or whispered. We would say something like, ‘Oh, here she is again, with questions about this or that.’ But these were always brief conversations.”

Marilyn’s phone records show her calling a Washington number in July 1962, which is very likely Bobby. However, this clearly was public knowledge.


OCTOBER 1961

According to Guthman, Marilyn was at a dinner party at the home of Peter and Pat Lawford (nee Kennedy. She apparently got a little drunk on “too much champagne.” He states that he and Bobby drove Marilyn home.

As Bobby was in Los Angeles on 4 October, it’s likely that Guthman was referring to this date.

Some biographers use a limo receipt in an attempt to dispel this story, but the receipt in question refers to a February 1962 meeting that Marilyn wrote to her former stepson, Bobby Miller about (see further down). Marilyn was in Los Angeles at this time, so it may have occurred, however, the letter to Bobby Miller in February 1962 implies the meeting first took place then, and not in 1961. Perhaps Guthman got Marilyn confused with someone else?


18 NOVEMBER 1961

As with JFK, Robert is rumoured to have been with Marilyn on this date. However, whilst Marilyn was in Los Angeles looking over photo proofs with Douglas Kirkland, Bobby was in New York.


1 FEBRUARY 1962

Although misdated on Julien’s website, Marilyn wrote to Bobby Miller on 2 February 1962 stating:

“Oh, Bobby, guess what: I had dinner last night with the Attorney-General of the United States, Robert Kennedy, and I asked him what his department was going to do about Civil Rights and some other issues. He’s very intelligent, and besides all that, he’s got a terrific sense of humor. I think you would like him. Anyway, I had to go to this dinner last night as he was the guest of honor and when they asked him who he wanted to meet, he wanted to meet me. So, I went to the dinner and I sat next to him, and he isn’t a bad dancer either.” She continues telling Bobby about her conversation and pressing Kennedy to find out what he planned to do about civil rights and that he answered her questions and told her he would send her a letter with all of his plans. He asked her if she had been attending “some kind of meetings” she writes to Bobby, “I laughed and said ‘no, but these are the kind of questions that the youth of America want answers to and want things done about.’ Not that I’m so youthful, but I feel youthful. But he’s an old 36 himself which astounded me because I’m 35. It was a pleasant evening, all in all.”

Marilyn wrote a similar note to Isidore Miller.

This event was at the home of Pat and Peter Lawford, with many guests in attendance to celebrate RFK’s visit to the Far East for a month-long diplomatic journey. Interestingly, reports from 1 February state that Ethel and JFK accompanied him on his flight from Washington (which would require a stopover in Hawaii via Los Angeles). However, according to JFK’s appointments, he did not accompany his brother. However, reports showed that Ethel was with him.

1 February 1962

Pat Newcomb who was there said that Marilyn, “really cared about learning” and goes to state how Marilyn had prepared questions to ask about civil rights.

Guests such as Joan Braden commented that Marilyn was “quite sober – a terrifically nice person” and that “they had an instant rapport.”

That evening (the next morning) Marilyn took a limo home, getting back to her Doheny apartment at 3am.


19 May 1962

Actress Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday.

After the birthday gala held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Marilyn and the other performers attended the home of Arthur Krim where an after-party celebration was held. This meeting is the only one in which Marilyn and the Kennedys are photographed. Present with her ex-father-in-law Isidore Miller and Pat Newcomb, Marilyn met with other guests such as Maria Callas and very briefly spoke to the President and Attorney General. After seeing Diahann Carroll sing, Marilyn took Isidore back to his Brooklyn home in the early hours of the morning before returning to her own home, where James Haspiel claims he saw her for the last time.


13 June 1962

Marilyn declined an invitation to a dinner party at the home of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. It’s unclear what “freedom ride protest” she was referring to but Marilyn, not being the most sociable person probably felt this was a good excuse to not attend.


26/27 June 1962

According to Donald Spoto’s biography, Marilyn was being collected by Pat and Peter Lawford from her home in Brentwood to attend a party at their home and Bobby was with them (on 27 June). Marilyn is believed to have given them a tour of her new home. Her housekeeper, Eunice Murray stated, “She certainly didn’t go sneaking around with Mr Kennedy or have a love affair with him!”

Kennedy had indeed arrived in Los Angeles on the 26 June and left some time on the 27 June when he departed via Los Angeles International Airport.


Marilyn didn’t write about JFK or talk about him often other than his politics. But she did talk about Bobby. She met him on more occasions than John and found him to be an interesting person.

Marilyn was a family friend who made a few phone calls and saw him at a few public meetings. Does this mean they had an affair? Well, unlike JFK there is no evidence to suggest this. Marilyn is likely to have at least had a one-night stand with the President. But as far as the Attorney General, it was more of a platonic relationship.

Marilyn may have hoped to “woo” RFK. Perhaps Marilyn started the rumours herself? Who knows! But no matter what evidence points to the fact that Bobby was incredibly loyal and faithful to Ethel. I feel sad for her and their children that these unproven rumours still circulate to this day with absolutely no credible evidence.

Marilyn Monroe and JFK – The Affair That Never Happened… Or Did It?

Since the 1970s the rumour that Marilyn Monroe and President John F Kennedy had a wild and passionate affair has plagued Marilyn historians’ lives. But did it happen? Well, not the way gossip magazines like to tell it…

Note: This post will solely discuss Marilyn and JFK’s “relationship” and not the theories surrounding her death. For that, please read here.


A REPUTATION

John F Kennedy is well known for his extra-marital relations but Marilyn is arguably the most famous, despite it not being officially confirmed.

Marilyn herself had slept/had relationships with married men in her time (Johnny Hyde, Andre De Dienes, Arthur Miller to name a few), one of which was when she herself was married (with Yves Montand). As well as Marilyn Monroe, JFK is believed to have had affairs with :

  • Mimi Alford (White House Intern)
  • Judith Exner
  • Blaze Starr (stripper)
  • Marlene Dietrich (actress)
  • Anita Eckberg (actress)
  • Ellen Rometsch (call girl)
  • Mary Meyer (CIA agent ex-wife)
  • Priscilla Wear and Jill Cowen (White House Secretaries)

Can these be confirmed? Well, some have more evidence than others. Which is an important thing to consider when making such claims.


WHEN AND WHERE DID THE KENNEDY/MONROE AFFAIR RUMOURS START?

A ‘HANDSOME GENTLEMAN’

In 1962, Dorothy Kilgallen alluded that Marilyn was spending time with an unnamed man.

Now, it’s important to note Marilyn was spending time with multiple gentlemen in the 1960s, but that doesn’t mean they were all sexual. According to Mimosa by Ralph Roberts, Marilyn and her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio had agreed to see each other and, if they so wished, date others. So, since her divorce from Arthur Miller, it can be confirmed Marilyn spent time with Joe, Frank Sinatra, Jose Bolanos (at the Golden Globes) and, almost definitely, John F Kennedy. But how serious was this “love affair” and how often did it take place?

Well, Dorothy believed she had the scoop…

It could be a Kennedy brother or maybe even Frank Sinatra, although that story was old news in 1961. This name is never confirmed in print. Dorothy did later tell friends that it was in reference to Robert Kennedy although that theory is never proven. Robert’s sister even wrote to Marilyn joking about how they were “now an item!”

In 1994, Jean Kennedy Smith addressed the letter before it went to auction stating to New York Post “The suggestion that the letter verifies an affair is utter nonsense. I am shocked anyone would believe such innuendo about a letter obviously written in jest.”

But Bobby deserves his own post.

So, how did the infamous gossip columnist, who is known for both raising and trashing Marilyn’s name, find out this juicy information?

“CIA” DOCUMENT

According to an alleged CIA document (now believed to be a forgery*), Kilgallen received this intel via her interior decorator friend, Howard Rothberg who had no direct link to Marilyn. The unauthenticated document states that Kilgallen’s conversations had been wiretapped, that the Kennedy brothers had “broken up” with Marilyn, and that she “had secrets to tell” such as UFOs in Roswell…

1. Rothberg discussed the apparent comeback of subject with Kilgallen and the break up with the Kennedys. Rothberg told Kilgallen that she was attending Hollywood parties hosted by the “inner circle” among Hollywood’s elite and was becoming the talk of the town again. Rothberg indicated in so many words, that she had secrets to tell, no doubt arising from her trists with the President and the Attorney General. One such “secret” mentions the visit by the President at a secret air base for the purpose of inspecting things from outer space. Kilgallen replied that she knew what might be the source of visit. In the mid-fifties Kilgallen learned of secret effort by US and UK governments to identify the origins of crashed spacecraft and dead bodies, from a British government official. Kilgallen believed the story may have come from the New Mexico story in the late forties. Kilgallen said that if the story is true, it would cause terrible embarrassment for Jack and his plans to have NASA put men on the moon.

2. Subject repeatedly called the Attorney General and complained about the way she was being ignored by the President and his brother.

3. Subject threatened to hold a press conference and would tell all.

4. Subject made reference to “bases” in Cuba and knew of the President’s plan to kill Castro.

5. Subject made reference to her “diary of secrets” and what the newspapers would do with such disclosures.

Dorothy Kilgallen herself since has been a victim of conspiracy theories surrounding her death which officially was due to a cocktail of alcohol and barbiturates.

BOB SLATZER – A SECRET HUSBAND AND CONFIDANT

The real affair claims between Marilyn and JFK began a decade after Marilyn and JFK had died. The source for this affair came from Robert Slatzer, who had been featured in a column by Dorothy in 1952 regarding his “romance” with Marilyn who was dating baseball legend Joe Dimaggio at the time.

Slatzer met Marilyn once during her filming of Niagara in 1952.

These letters and phone calls mentioned in the article have never been documented or publicised, nor was he present in any of her telephone books, something Marilyn used constantly. If you weren’t in her phone book, you weren’t in her life.

His name came up again in 1957, stating he and Marilyn were intimate in 1952 (no mention of marriage). If this very private woman was aware of this blabber mouth’s existence, he certainly would not be a friend to her by 1962. Needless to say, his allegations have been debunked and dismissed.

In his 1973 book, The Mysterious Death of Marilyn Monroe, Slatzer mentions that Marilyn had an affair with the President, was passed to his brother and was soon dumped by him. The evidence for this is Slatzer’s word and nothing else which have previously been proven to be unreliable.

Despite Robert Dallek’s biography of John F. Kennedy stating gossip columns were discussing an affair (which apparently the President wanted to be quashed), there is no record of this (that I have yet to come across). The rumours were predominantly regarding his younger brother (again, never confirmed with viable evidence) and the JFK/Monroe affair only really started in the 1970s.

*Due to the printing quality, and being “over the top” with the use of TOP SECRET and experts have said documents like this are attempting to seem official and are easy to forge, it’s believed this document is utterly fake.


MARILYN & JFK, A TIMELINE OF MEETINGS
RUMOURED AND CONFIRMED

11 April 1957

Marilyn and her third husband Arthur Miller attended the April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf Hotel. Also present were Senator John F Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline. It’s unclear if Marilyn met the future president and First Lady, but the couples were among the 1,300 guests. This is the first event that can place Marilyn and JFK in the same room.


23 and 24 September 1961

Biographer Keith Badman believes Marilyn and Pat Newcomb were at Hyannis Port with JFK and Jackie on these dates.

According to the press, Frank Sinatra and an “unidentified” couple were in attendance on 22 September. But according to the JFK archives, Frank Sinatra was present at the White House on Thursday 21 September. There’s no note of him being at Hyannis Port on the White House records.

Sunday, 24 September 1961

On 18 September 1961, Marilyn said to Ralph Roberts she needed to return to New York for some business. On Friday 22 September 1961, Marilyn and Ralph flew at 1:30 pm to NYC. The plane had experienced engine trouble and had to turn back. She sent Joe DiMaggio this telegram using a pseudonym:

“Dear Dad Darling, airplane developed engine trouble plus all oil ran out of same plane so we had to turn back and land back in LA. Leaving again on another plane at 5pm arrive New York 1pm. When plane was in trouble I thought about two things, you and changing my will. Love you I think, more then ever. -Mrs. Norman.“

Marilyn was due to arrive at Idlewild at 1 pm NY time, and, according to Ralph, they travelled directly to the Lexington Hotel where Joe was living at the time. This means Marilyn could not have been with Frank Sinatra (although he wasn’t listed on the President’s records, so even he may not have been there).

It’s been noted by some biographers that Marilyn met with WJ Weatherby this weekend. However, the way the Conversations with Marilyn is written, it appears Marilyn and Weatherby were reacquainted in November 1960 (due to the mention of the election), not September 1961. Of course, his book also says Marilyn admitted to having an affair with a famous, married Washington politician. Weatherby’s book was first published in 1976 – and what better tale than the one where Marilyn Monroe confides in you that you’re sleeping with a Kennedy? Or both!

Back to the dates… Could she have left Joe the following day and flown from Idlewild to Massachusetts? Possibly. Although, there is no published confirmation that Marilyn flew that day or where she flew back to (tickets, being spotted by fans, photographs etc.) but it’s far more likely she spent time with Joe and the Strasbergs.


October 1961

According to Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder, he took Marilyn to the home of Peter and Pat Lawford (sister to John F Kennedy) where they held a party at their Santa Monica home in honour of President Kennedy. Even so, Kennedy did not visit Los Angeles in October 1961. He did attend a dinner in November 1961, Marilyn may not have been listed officially as a guest.


18 November 1961

18 November 1961

Kennedy gave a speech at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and some have suspected Marilyn met him after. But that evening, Douglas Kirkland met Marilyn to show her photo proofs of his photos taken the day before.

JFK was also recorded as having returned to Beverley Hills Hotel at 10:35 pm before he dropped in on a dinner being held at the hotel where 700 guests were present. None of the guests claims to have seen Marilyn.


5 December 1961

John F Kennedy gave a speech addressing the National Football Foundation at the Waldorf Astoria. Some say Marilyn was in attendance but was a couple of hours late due to her having her hair done by Kenneth Battelle. However, there seems to be no press coverage or images of her being there nor proof she was with Mr Kenneth on that date.

According to Dr Engleberg’s bill, he visited Marilyn in LA on 4 December (maybe Marilyn flew to NYC and returned before 8 December but unlikely)

Some believe there was a dinner party held at the home of Fifi Fell after the Waldorf Astoria conference but the President had left the Waldorf and gone straight to the Carlyle Hotel.


February 1962

According to Donald Spoto, in February 1962 (between 3 and 7*), Marilyn’s talent manager Milton Ebbins stated he escorted Marilyn to the home of Fifi Fell, where a fundraiser dinner party was held (often confused with a December fundraiser despite Marilyn not being in NYC). Ebbins also stated he took her home.

JFK’s diary shows that he was in Virginia on all the dates Marilyn was in NYC and therefore they both couldn’t have been in attendance.

*Marilyn is placed in LA on 1 February and begins moving into her Brentwood home 8 February. Most other dates in February can be accounted for.


24 March 1962

Marilyn called Ralph Roberts to tell him she was going to be staying at Bing Crosby’s home in Palm Springs (previously the venue had been at Frank Sinatra’s home but was changed for security) on Saturday 24 March 1962.

24 March 1962

That day, from midday the President’s movements, are not recorded.

Philip Watson the Los Angeles county assessor told Anthony Summers that Marilyn had been with JFK by the pool and it was clear they were enjoying their time together. However, his presence there cannot be verified.

From Palm Springs Marilyn apparently called Ralph again and put JFK on the phone to discuss a bet Marilyn had with him regarding thigh bones.

A familar man’s voice, “Hello.”

I answered, “Hello. The thigh bone is connected, as the song goes, to the hipbone. But not toward the outside of the body, but it articulates with the pelvic bone, well near the center.”

A laugh, “Well, I take your word. She speaks highly of you.”

Mimosa, Ralph Roberts

She later told Ralph how she had given the President a massage with Ralph later telling Donald Spoto, “Marilyn told me that this night in March was the only time of her “affair” with JFK. A great many people thought, after that weekend, that there was more to it. But Marilyn gave me the impression that it was not a major event for either of them: it happened once, that weekend, and that was that.” Ralph also said that “She asked me about the solus muscle which she knew something about from the Mabel Ellsworth Todd book [The Thinking Body], and she had obviously been talking about this with the president, who was known to have all sorts of ailments, muscle and back trouble.”

Susan Strasberg, friend and daughter of Lee and Paula Strasberg, stated that Marilyn felt it was “okay to sleep with a charismatic president – and she loved the secrecy and drama of it. But he certainly wasn’t the kind of man she wanted for life and she was very clear about this.”

In 1976, American Secret Service Agent Floyd Boring was interviewed by Bill Hartigan, who denies this happened as no one was allowed at the property.


April 1962

The dinner party at Fifi Fell’s home has also been dated to April 1962 but Marilyn had spent most of that month Los Angeles preparing for Something’s Got To Give. There is also no record of Kennedy being in New York in April 1962.


19 May 1962

Actress Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday.

After the birthday gala held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Marilyn and the other performers attended the home of Arthur Krim where an after-party celebration was held. This meeting is the only one in which Marilyn and the Kennedys are photographed. Present with her ex-father-in-law Isidore Miller and Pat Newcomb, Marilyn met with other guests such as Maria Callas and very briefly spoke to the President and Attorney General. After seeing Diahann Carroll sing, Marilyn took Isidore back to his Brooklyn home in the early hours of the morning before returning to her own home, where James Haspiel claims he saw her for the last time.


Luckily for Marilyn fans and researchers, we are able to pinpoint where she was on many of the dates claimed, or at least where JFK was based on the fact that most of his movements were recorded by the minute.

So did Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy have an affair?

Perhaps. Was it as dramatic as people claim? Far from it. The most it would have been was a one-night stand in Palm Springs, otherwise, most other dates can be debunked with both facts and logic. All that can be clarified is Marilyn and JFK were in the same room in April 1957, March 1961 and May 1962. The other dates are hearsay.