There is a slew of shocking revelations in Netflix’s explosive new doc The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes. Like, for example, Marilyn Monroe had a sexual obsession with her absent father. Seriously. More than anything in the world, one of her close friends says in the film, Monroe consistently revealed a strong desire to sleep with her dad.
“She said she’d want to put on a black wig, pick up her father at a bar, have him make love to her,” her friend Henry Rosenfeld recalls near the beginning of the film. “And then she’d say, ‘Well, how does it feel now to have a daughter that you’ve made love to?’”
It’s bizarre, but it’s not the most gut-wrenching story The Unheard Tapes digs up on the late movie star. The doc features unheard interviews with those who knew her best, piecing them together with research that covers Monroe’s entire life and stardom. It homes in on her death, pruning the biggest conspiracy theories—the Kennedys’ involvement, the Communist party, etc.—in order to find the truth of what happened.
Unlike many conspiracy theorists, Anthony Summers (author of Goddess, the Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe) comes to a clear conclusion based on his findings, and the result is shocking. Based on his interview, the film insinuates that the Kennedys were involved with the superstar’s death.
After breezing past her relationship with Joe DiMaggio, The Unheard Tapes connects Monroe with both Robert and John F. Kennedy. Hildi and Joan Greenson—the wife and daughter of Monroe’s psychiatrist—describe “girly talk” with Monroe, in which the icon gossiped about a new man she was seeing called “The General.”
This was Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the start of her affairs with the famed political family. Actor and socialite Peter Lawford dedicated his time to “pimping for both Kennedys,” he says, which resulted in the connection between Monroe and the pair of brothers.
“You don’t think the brothers were sharing a lady?” Summers asks Jeanne Martin, Dean Martin’s wife, who used to attend Kennedy parties.
“I do,” she responds, without any hesitation.
This brotherly love—try not to shudder at the thought—was only the start. Because of feuds between union leader Jimmy Hoffa and the Kennedys, the film alleges there were “numerous tapes” made of Monroe and JFK “in the act of lovemaking,” and even more featuring Robert. On the tapes, the film contends, Monroe is captured doing “cuddly talk,” “taking off her clothes,” and “the sex act in the bed.”
This seems to have been an open secret in Hollywood. Still, tensions continued to grow as Monroe’s suspected ties with the Communist Party started to be whispered about. In fear of Monroe exposing their political chats, the Kennedys cut all ties with the star.
“That’s what killed her,” longtime friend Arthur James hauntingly says. “I don’t care what anyone else says. It was the beginning of the last day, if you will.”
The Unheard Tapes then dives into the details of Monroe’s death. Was Monroe on her side? Her back? When was the call to 911 made? It leads up to a major revelation: Robert Kennedy was allegedly there, with Monroe, at the time of her death.
The doc goes step-by-step through the entire evening that Monroe died. The public version of her death doesn’t align with other accounts. Her housekeeper, for example, has given one version of the story, but investigators have poked holes in details like Monroe’s final resting position, whether or not she went to the hospital, and where, exactly, she died.
According to the film, the FBI was working to scrub Monroe’s death clean of any controversy. “My husband fudged everything off,” the widow of Monroe’s PR rep says, remembering the night her husband was whisked away from the Hollywood Bowl to deal with Monroe’s death. “Don’t forget, that was his business, to keep the press at bay. He kept everyone in abeyance.”
The FBI “knew that they didn’t want Bobby Kennedy’s name brought into this.” According to law enforcement informant Harry Hall, Monroe’s death then became a “hush-hush” operation.
The most damning segment of the doc comes from Monroe’s housekeeper, Eunice Murray. After confirming the “important part” the Kennedys played in Monroe’s life, Murray alleges that Robert Kennedy was visiting the actress on the day of her death. “Oh, sure,” she says. “And it became so sticky that the protectors of Robert Kennedy, you know, had to step in there and protect him.”
The Unheard Tapes provides evidence proving Robert Kennedy was in Los Angeles on the night of her death. And Summers is convincing in his interview: “What the evidence suggests is that [her death] was covered up because of her connection with the Kennedy brothers.”
The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes will debut on Netflix on April 27.