Did Marilyn Monroe Abort JFK or RFK’s Baby Before Taking Her Own Life?
The biography ‘Norma Jean: The Life of Marilyn Monroe,’ out April 28, contains a truly eye-opening claim concerning the actress and the Kennedys. Read it exclusively here.
Marilyn made frequent phone calls throughout July to the Justice building in Washington, and when Bobby was out of the office, his secretary, Angie Novello, talked with her.
Marilyn spent some of her time that disastrous month posing for photographs. She did some nude sessions with Bert Stern, which, following Marilyn’s death, brought him fame on an international scale. She was also photographed by Allen Grant, who took some candids of her in her home to accompany a long, prophetic, and brilliant interview for Life magazine that would come out in the last week of her life.
That interview had been set up by her press agent, John Springer, during her last visit to New York. She met with Springer and a Life staffer named Dick Meryman at the Savoy Plaza Hotel. Meryman had an assistant along who, after a few gin and tonics, came on too strong for Marilyn and who was quickly banished. After she had a few drinks, Marilyn said that Peter Lawford had a room upstairs and:
We should drop in on him. We went upstairs with her and knocked on a door and a man wearing only a towel wrapped around his lower parts opened the door. Marilyn said, “Oh, I’m sorry. We’re looking for Mr. Lawford.” The man nodded in great confusion, not quite believing his eyes in a perfect double-take. Marilyn got the giggles over the man’s reaction; it struck her as very funny. The man opened his door a crack and sneaked another look as we went down the hall. It turned out that Lawford was out of the hotel attending a party that evening.
Marilyn got to see that interview in print. The piece was especially successful in mirroring her philosophy—her attitude toward fame and success as well as failure.
Only the previous month, she had been equally open with another interviewer, Alan Levy, writing for Redbook magazine. She was free of any rancor or bitterness over her failed marriages and told Levy:
I’m looking forward to eventually becoming a marvelous—excuse the word marvelous—character actress. Like Marie Dressier, like Will Rogers. I think they’ve left this kind of appeal out of the movies today. The emphasis is on spring love. But people like Will Rogers and Marie Dressier were people who, as soon as you looked at them, you paid attention because you knew: They’ve lived: they’ve learned.
She said she was still thinking about doing Sadie Thompson in some version somewhere, even though Billy Wilder told her it was “shopworn.” “This ‘shopworn’ role is lived every day somewhere, somehow. I’d still bring it to life.” Then she concluded:
As a person, my work is important to me. My work is the only ground I’ve ever had to stand on. Acting is very important. To put it bluntly, I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation. But I’m working on the foundation.
DiMaggio was a frequent visitor, and Mrs. Murray thought things were serious again between them. Apparently this was true for Joe, but not for Marilyn. Sinatra, who did not speak with DiMaggio, took her out on occasion. At least once she kept him waiting for over an hour, but he was unusually patient. He had anticipated it.
One of the Jacobs office publicists said that on July 20, Marilyn was admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital under an alias. He was told that she was having a pregnancy aborted. The press aide was shocked. If Marilyn was really pregnant, her state of mind can only be imagined.
She was three months away from her last bedroom encounter with the President and only a few weeks away from her last date with his brother. It would be easy to assume that the aborted child was a Kennedy, but she was seeing other men as well that spring and summer.
The cover story given out at the time by the Jacobs office was that she had gone that weekend with the Lawfords to Lake Tahoe. It is likely that even Mrs. Murray accepted this as true. By the end of July, Marilyn was taking tentative steps toward replacing Mrs. Murray. She had gone to the home of her former black housekeeper, Florence Thomas, and asked her to come back to work for her. Florence believed that she was to take Mrs. Murray’s place.
Marilyn phoned Bobby Kennedy on Monday, July 30. If she had indeed terminated a pregnancy, we have no way of knowing whether or not she told him. What we do know is that she seems to have plunged into a profound depression. Early in July, Dr. Greenson had begun seeing her on a daily basis. This would continue until her death.
Friday, Aug. 3, was relatively quiet. Mickey Rudin, Marilyn’s attorney in California (and who was also Dr. Greenson’s brother-in-law), had worked out details for her return to the Fox lot and the completion of Something’s Got to Give. Dean Martin had begun a nightclub tour since the production shut down and would not be free until October. Everything would wait on his return. She called designer Jean Louis about a dress and asked his fitter to come the next day but then remembered that it was a Saturday and said that Monday would be fine.
That evening she went out to her favorite restaurant, La Scala, with Pat Newcomb, Peter Lawford, and, according to at least one source, Bobby Kennedy, who was then in California with his family.
Marilyn seemed edgy that evening. Bobby had taken over her emotional life within a brief two and a half months, but he may well have brought Ethel and his family West to help ease him out of this mistake. Marilyn had drifted into an unrealistic view of the situation—believing that Bobby was somehow available to her. Now the Kennedy clan was shoving her back into her place. If she felt that the possibility of a really serious relationship with Bobby was being dismissed—that would certainly help explain her ill temper Friday evening.
According to a rather strange document in Bobby Kennedy’s Justice Department file, he had arrived early that Friday with his family at the John Bates ranch in Gilroy, which is a small town about 85 miles south of San Francisco; the document is strange because it is one of the few in his file that deals with such minutiae as his arrival and departures on days in which nothing else happened. The document, which is termed in the text as “miscellaneous information,” says that Bobby Kennedy and his family spent the weekend on the Gilroy ranch, then went to the apartment of Paul Fay, Jr., in the city of San Francisco Sunday night and that he held a press conference Monday morning in San Francisco. It says nothing about the tragedy unfolding in Los Angeles that weekend. But the document served to make it officially clear that Kennedy was far away by the time the word of the tragedy was out.
From NORMA JEAN: THE LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE by Fred Lawrence Guiles. Copyright © 2020. Reprinted by permission of Turner Publishing.