Marilyn Monroe at 95 Years Old
An overdue sit-down with Marilyn Monroe having survived years of clinical depression, alcoholism, suicide attempts, and even her own murder.
She walked into our hotel room with the slight “bounce” that she invented in the 1940’s only now hampered by her advanced age of 95 years old. Now it is more of a shoulder swing instead of a bounce. Throwing back a real fur mink scarf she never subscribed to public pressure to wear fake.
“I got this from Sinatra” she proudly displayed her mink scarf.
“Vegas I think”. She looks to the ceiling for an image memory.
Still smoking she pulled out a cigarette and was about to light it when she realized where she was;
“Oh shit. I can’t smoke in here right?” Looking to the camera man for confirmation.
Reminding me every bit of Betty Davis toward the end of her life. Monroe is crass, up front and unapologetic. She has earned her Hollywood stripes and she figured at 95 years old everyone is dead who would even give a shit anymore.
“Darling can you fix the back of my hair? Directing to her personal assistant.
Gone is the high-pitched “Marilyn” voice that she claims she put on to seem more feminine and dumb as most men liked in the 1950’s. But all she ever wanted was to be taken seriously and learn as much as possible to become more intelligent. In the 1970’s she went to community college in California and earned an Associates Degree in Communications.
“Better than winning an Oscar”, Monroe boasts about her College Degree
Wearing gray and black plaid knit pants and a tight black turtle neck she adorned a necklace with tiny pearls that got larger toward the front. She would pull on it occasionally to make sure it was still there.
“I lost this once. (pointing to her pearl necklace). “I was at Lawford’s place in the pool when it fell off. All the men at the party jumped in to get it for me. Needless to say I didn’t go home alone that night. (Laughs)
Monroe fell into “Hollywood Purgatory” after she was fired from the Movie “Something’s Got to Give” in 1962.
“I was box office poison and too old at 36” Monroe describes her time after being fired.
Frustrated and tired at the age of 36 Marilyn retreated to her home in California. She won’t speak much about that time other than she was having a nervous breakdown and that her affairs with the Kennedy’s was coming to an end.
“Listen. I was still young and naïve at the age of 36. I really thought I was going to marry at least one of the Kennedy boys? They played me! So I made a deal with them.
Referring to a nightly encounter with Bobby Kennedy in August of 1962, Marilyn evaded what she believes could have been the last night of her life.
“Bobby was there to either make a deal or kill me. No If, ands, or buts about it. I knew that and he knew that. Dr. Greenson came along to ensure the ladder was to be done if needed. I trusted that bastard. And I slept with him and he had a lot to lose if I came out public!”
Monroe had a trust in Dr. Greenson and his wife that was so deep. She looked at him as someone she could trust until he did what every man in her life did and that is sleep with her.
“I had no where to go and I needed Greenson’s ability to fix me on a daily basis. Of course I was hurt when in the end all he wanted from me was sex.”
Marilyn had been living with the Greenson’s and had become close with his wife Hildi.
“Hildi was great. (Greenson). I always felt bad about the affair because of her.”
Marilyn looks down at the ground when talking about Dr. Greenson’s wife Hildi. They never spoke again after the 1962 incident and when the affair was revealed in Marilyn’s tell-almost-all book in 1987;
“This Blond Hair has Black roots”
“The Book was both a blessing and a curse. Like my whole life. I should have waited until now to write it. A lot of people were still alive then. A lot of the Kennedy’s were still alive. John-John especially.”
Publisher Simon and Schuster, at the request of famous Daughter of Richard L. Simon Carley Simon, encouraged Monroe to write it. She was offered five million dollars by the publisher and agreed on her price of 6.5 Million plus incentives. The largest amount by a female writer at that time.
I secured the rest of my life with writing this book. I didn’t have to take on projects I didn’t want after that.
The projects she was referring to were offers to star in sitcoms like “The Golden Girls”, offered the character of “Blanch” and “Who’s the Boss” was offered the lead character that Judith Light reprised as Angela Bower.
“Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the ladies in Golden Girls but I felt like sitcoms for me were such a step down from where I was. Independent films weren’t a real thing at that time and big budget movies were not casting stars from the 50’s. I was stuck.”
Monroe did do guest spots on both “The Golden Girls” and “Who’s the Boss” boasting the highest ratings for each show for a single episode. Both getting “Super Bowl” type Nielsen Ratings for a guest star spot. And of course both shows aired during their respective “sweeps week” catapulting them both past any competitor on that given night and for the year.
Never blessed to have a child of her own claiming over 20 miscarriages, she adopted her son Clarke in 1977 at 6 months old. Clearly she is infatuated with her only child and admits she gave him that name after the actor Clark Gable (Different Spelling). She did not want to burden Clarke with her last name of “Monroe” so she gave him the last name “Dougherty” after her first husband James Dougherty an LAPD officer. Clarke Dougherty is a writer and producer on the Netflix Series “Avalanche”. They are currently on their third season and have one multiple awards and praise. “Avalanche” is based on the best selling book of the same name which depicts two mountain climbers who plan the murder of an unwilling rich financial partner who refuses to go along with their Ponzi scheme. They convince the third person to go mountain climbing with them where they murder him and cause an avalanche to cover up the crime scene. Of course all the plans go awry and there are plenty of twists and turns throughout each season.
Clarke lives with his partner Will Shaymis in Los Angeles and they have have an adopted girl “Brentwood”. She is named after the city in California that Marilyn lived until she moved to New York City in the early 80’s. Marilyn is even more infatuated with her granddaughter and hopes she never follows in her footsteps of acting;
“Too many wolves. Even today. Don’t let the ‘Me Too’ movement fool you and let down your guard. They just find different ways to get to you.”
Although Monroe seems jaded about the movie and TV industry she would be the first person on line if Brentwood did decide to go into the movie business.
“Oh yes. First one on line! No doubt. Just like with Clarke. I go to every viewing of “Avalanche” and anything he is in involved with. I didn't have that. I missed out.”
DIAL “M” FOR MURDER
Both Caroline Kennedy, Daughter of of John F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert Kennedy sued to block the publication of Monroe’s tell-almost-all book in 1987. We say “Almost-All” because Monroe stops short of giving specific details of having affairs with both brothers. She labels them as “liaisons” and does not name specific events of when and where they slept together. However, she mentions the night in detail when Robert came to her house and retrieved the Diary he came looking for. This was the “deal” they made that Monroe states; “Kept her Alive”. The Kennedy’s argued that this was baseless and her opinion and fabricated. The courts ruled in Monroe's favor and ordered only light editing to some of the details surrounding the Kennedys. Ironically Jackie Onassis was not named in the law suit but allowed her daughter to represent her if only in the “Kennedy” name. Jackie once said:
“If I sued every time someone writes a book about the Kennedy’s I would never leave the court room”.
“Jackie and I never crossed paths even though we both lived in New York City. She was still so young when she passed in 1994. I grew to respect her tremendously”
Monroe would go onto marry three more times since Arthur Miller. All ending in divorce and all have passed away. She spends her time in a large home in the Hamptons where she has a full wait staff and four poodles she calls; Lucky, Rhonda, Sebastian and Trudy. She is not interested in writing another book.
“One was enough. I did the whole talk show circuit. You can consider yourself lucky to be interviewing me. Last one was Phil Donohue in 1985”
Monroe doesn’t mention the BBC interview she did via satellite in 1993 where she ended it abruptly because they were openly making fun of her inability to catch-up with the three second delay. She felt disrespected and foolish. She vowed then that she would stay away from all interviews. Although she had plenty of suitors; Larry King tried for years to have her come on his “Larry King Live” show along with Rosie O’Donnel, and of course Oprah Winfrey. She once agreed to go on the Charlie Rose Show but she backed-out at the last minute. She found that Charlie had a lot of the same traits as Arthur Miller and was a little spooked once she met him in person.
We ended our interview just around lunch time where her assistant Jonathan arranged for all of us to go lunch at a place called “Poochies” in the Village. Monroe loved going there because she had her own booth in the back that they never gave it to any other customers. She had been going there since she moved to New York in the early 1980’s. Despite all she went through with the Kennedy boys (as she still refers to them as) she is sad that all those from her past are mostly gone.
“I miss Frank, Jack, Robert, Peter and even at times Dr. Greenson. There were pockets of great times and a lot of heartache. But I loved them all even though their intentions may not have been true.”
Monroe is helped by her assistant to get up and out of the chair but once she did she shakes those shoulders as if she was walking down Hollywood Blvd. with her sun glasses on. Checking one last time for her pearls around her neck.
Disclaimer: What would of been like if Marilyn Monroe had lived? Perhaps I provided a glimpse. I hope you enjoyed this fictional depiction.