“The true things rarely get into circulation. It’s usually the false things.” – Marilyn Monroe
In this new documentary, which is basically just a video version of the book he published 30 years ago, Summers continues to claim a massive coverup around Marilyn Monroe’s death. Immediately at the start of the documentary there are references to the Kennedys.
Summers claims to have interviewed 650 people for his book “Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe,” first published in 1985, following the LA County District Attorney’s reopening of the investigation into Marilyn’s death in 1982. Many people highlighted in this new documentary are those he interviewed as part of researching “Goddess.” The start of the film says, “All voice recording are the real voices of friends and colleagues of Marilyn Monroe.” But just how many of the people interviewed were actually part of Marilyn’s life? Her true friends? In her inner-circle?
If you’re a believer of the conspiracy theories involving the Kennedys, the mob, Jimmy Hoffa, etc., then this new documentary is for you. If you’re interested in knowing the truth directly from people who were actually part of Marilyn Monroe’s life, then be sure to read this article. I address chronologically, as presented in the documentary, those who were interviewed. I own two of Marilyn’s personal phone books from 1962. These will be the source of information as to who actually was close to Marilyn Monroe, and who wasn’t.
Before we get to that, my general opinion of this new documentary is that it’s nothing more than the same content from the original book. There’s no new information. Considering the number of times he actually appears in the documentary, I soon started to wonder if the film was about Marilyn, or about Summers. It’s basically a vanity project for him, a way to re-inject himself back into the circle of Marilyn Monroe, conveniently just months before the 60th anniversary of her passing on August 5.
One of my biggest issues with Summers is the ambulance story, which he renews as one of the main discoveries as part of his research. He claims Marilyn was whisked away in an ambulance but died on the way to the hospital, and the ambulance simply returned her body to her home. The timeline of events prove that this story couldn’t possibly be true, which I address later on in this article.
The first audio tape played in the documentary was a conversation between Summers and Al Rosen, Hollywood Agent.
Rosen says he knows Marilyn well, “in the beginning.” Rosen then proceeds to tell Summers that every casting director had black books with names of starlets “who could be laid.” There’s basically no other information provided as part of that interview, nothing relevant. Why was he included in this documentary? Merely to imply that Marilyn “could be had” when she was a starlet? Later in the film, Rosen sets the stage for the sexual escapades and philandering of the Kennedy brothers, saying it was their father who was their role model. Al Rosen is not listed in Marilyn’s phone books.
The next person presented in the documentary was Gloria Romanoff, friend & owner of Romanoff’s restaurant.
When asked if she knew Marilyn she said, “My husband knew her first, in the early 40’s.” She said Marilyn hung out at Romanoff’s in the early days. She claims Marilyn first started seeing John F. Kennedy in the 1950s. She states that Marilyn was mixing sleeping pills and alcohol prior to her death (which is already well documented). Again, same as Rosen, why is this person included in the documentary? She had nothing solid to add. There is no evidence they were actually friends. Like Rosen, no listing for Gloria Romanoff or her husband Michael in Marilyn’s phonebooks.
Rosen and Romanoff then proceed to claim Marilyn was one of Joseph Schenck’s girls. He was the Chairman of the Board at Twentieth Century-Fox. Of course, as with the rest of his hypothesis, all hearsay and secondhand information.
The next interview is with John Huston, who directed Marilyn in “The Asphalt Jungle” in 1950, and in “The Misfits” in 1961.
Huston confirms that Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde was in love with Marilyn. Huston was very complimentary of Marilyn. In general, he was supportive of Marilyn. He knew she was in trouble during “Misfits,” saying, “Anyone who allows her to take a drug ought to be shot.” John Huston is listed in Marilyn’s phone books.
Next, Summers interviewed Jane Russel, Marilyn’s co-star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Like Huston, Russell was very complimentary of Marilyn. “She was very bright, and she wanted to learn.” “Every night after work she’d go to a coach.” Jane Russell is listed in Marilyn’s phone books.
Summers then plays audio of phone calls with Dr. Ralph Greenson’s family: Hildi, Danny, and Joan Greenson.
Danny makes it very clear he has a strong distaste for everything related to Hollywood. He states that he eventually got to know Marilyn and a friendship developed between the two. Hildi and Joan talked about Marilyn’s magnetism, even when she was out of makeup and in plain clothing. As her psychiatrist, Greenson is listed in Marilyn’s two phone books. His wife and children are not.
It’s at this point in the documentary that Summers starts to weave the Kennedys into the story. Joan discusses that Marilyn had a new friend, whom she referred to as “The General.”
The next audio interview in the documentary was with Billy Wilder, director of “The Seven Year Itch.”
He talks about Marilyn filming the subway scene from the film. Throughout the documentary he is mostly positive about Marilyn, in spite of things he said about her during and after the filming of “Some Like it Hot,” which were not complimentary. Wilder is not listed in the phonebooks, (which is not surprising).
Up next was Gladys Whitten, a hairdresser of Marilyn’s, who did her hair for “Itch.”
Gladys states that Joe was upset with the filming of the skirt blowing scene. She states Joe hit Marilyn in their hotel room. This has been highly debated over the years. Whitten is not listed in the phone books.
Audio of a telephone call with Peggy Feury was played next in the documentary.
She said she and Marilyn “talked a lot” in the final years of Marilyn’s life. Feury said Marilyn seemed concerned about childhood memories of being molested and that she avoided people who were psychotic. Feury is not listed in the phonebooks.
Next up in the documentary, audio of a call with dressmaker Henry Rosenfeld.
He claims that he and Marilyn were close friends. He states Marilyn wanted to get to know her father. He claims that Marilyn wanted to trick her father into having sex with her. Clearly a horrible thing to say. As it turns out, he proposed to Marilyn and was clearly in love with her based on letters he sent. Could this incredibly ridiculous statement about Marilyn wanting to sleep with her father be in retaliation for her unreturned affection? He claims that he was talking with Marilyn in the months before she died. Rosenfeld is listed in both of Marilyn’s phonebooks.
The next interview is with Arthur James, described as a property developer and longtime friend.
He comments on the impact of the Monroe/Miller relationship, saying “The greatest effect of all was Arthur Miller.” Later in the film he claims that Marilyn started seeing Jack Kennedy in the mid-1950s. He states that “Pete Lawford’s house in Malibu was meeting headquarters for Marilyn and Kennedy.” Lawford was married to Pat Kennedy, JFK’s sister. (Of course, the Lawford home was actually in Santa Monica, not Malibu. These two beach cities in California are separated by nearly 20 miles.) He also says he met Marilyn in Laguna a month before she died. She came down for the weekend. He states, “She told us what had really taken place with the Kennedys.” He said she was terribly hurt when told directly never to call or contact the Kennedys. It was an order. As is the case with many other people highlighted in this documentary with inflammatory and unproven statements about Marilyn and her life, James is not listed in either of Marilyn’s phone books.
An interview with Milton Greene, Marilyn’s former business partner was then played.
Greene states they loved each other and were close friends. He was very complimentary of Marilyn, saying she was a good, faithful wife wanting nothing more than to have a baby. Not surprisingly, due to the nature of Greene’s separation from Marilyn Monroe Productions, Greene isn’t listed in the phone books. Regardless, he painted a positive picture of Marilyn for Summers.
Sydney Guilaroff, another hairdresser, was the next interview.
He said, “She had a soft gentle quality.” He said she wasn’t happy many times, which was in reference to her inability to have a child. He is listed in both of Marilyn’s phone books.
The next interview in the documentary was with Jeanne Martin, wife of Dean Martin.
She claims she saw Marilyn at the Lawford home with JFK and Robert Kennedy, going so far as to say “Lawford was pimping for them.” She talks about how both of the Kennedy brothers were sexual predators, often having sex with women while their wives were just in the other room. Martin says they were, “Chips off the old block,” implying their father was also a womanizer. She states that JFK and RFK were “sharing Marilyn.” Dean Martin was Marilyn’s co-star in her final film, “Something’s Got to Give.” He famously stood up to Fox after Marilyn was fired, saying, “No Marilyn, No Picture,” rather pointedly reminding the studio that he had prior approval of is co-star. When they went to hire Lee Remick as Marilyn’s replacement. He had always been a staunch supporter of Marilyn. Dean and Jeanne were married in 1949 and divorced in 1973. Jeanne Martin is not listed in either of Marilyn’s phonebooks.
Summers then highlights private investigator Fred Otash.
Otash claims to have worked for the Mafia, law enforcement, the White House and Jimmy Hoffa. Summers starts to develop his claim that Hoffa wanted to neutralize RFK by connecting Robert Kennedy to Marilyn because Kennedy went after him. Otash claims to have bugged the Lawford home and Marilyn’s house in Brentwood, in the bedrooms and on the phones, under carpets and in the chandeliers. He claims to have recordings of Marilyn having sex with JFK.
Robin Thorne is the next interview.
He was a nurse to director George Cukor, who directed Marilyn in “Let’s Make Love” in 1960, and also her final film, “Give.” He states Cukor said, “Marilyn will turn out to be the most popular actress of her generation, possibly this century. Her best films would have come late in her career. She had a great untapped dramatic talent.” Cukor is listed in both of Marilyn’s phonebooks.
Summers next plays audio from an interview with John Danoff, a private investigator for Fred Otash.
Danoff says he has heard Marilyn with the Kennedys. He says there are “numerous tapes.”
Angie Novello, Bobby Kennedy’s personal secretary is interviewed next.
She said she always took Kennedy’s personal calls, and Marilyn would talk to her when she called.
Summers at this point really starts to dive more deeply into the conspiracy that Marilyn was murdered. She was a communist actively being watched by the FBI. He states she was telling everyone everything she knew, and that she was unstable
Natalie Jacobs, wife of Arthur Jacobs, Marilyn’s publicist, was the next interview. She states she and her husband were at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl the night of August 4, 1962 and were called away at about 10:30. Her husband then went to Marilyn’s house because something was wrong. She doesn’t know what was wrong, and evidently Arthur never told her. She also doesn’t state what time Arthur returned home. Just because “something was wrong,” does that mean Marilyn was dead? We all know that Marilyn died sometime the evening of August 4 or the early morning of August 5. It’s undoubtedly true that a period of time passed between the time Marilyn actually died and the time the police were called, which was 4:25 AM. Hymen Engelberg, Marilyn’s personal physician, and Ralph Greenson, her psychiatrist, were both called by Eunice Murray, Marilyn’s housekeeper, after she discovered Marilyn wasn’t responding. She called the doctors at 3:30 AM. They both pronounced Marilyn dead at 3:50 AM, and police were called at 4:25 AM. A delay of an hour in calling the police about the death of the most famous movie star in the world doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Lookup the timeline for Michael Jackson’s death.
It’s here that Summers reintroduces the Ambulance story, which basically indicates two men from Schaefer Ambulance Service, James Hall and Murray Liebowitz, came to Marilyn’s home and she was still alive. They loaded her into the ambulance and while on the way to Santa Monica Hospital, Marilyn passed away. So, what’s the most logical next step for the ambulance drivers? Return Marilyn’s body to her home. There are a number of problems with the idea that Marilyn was still alive when the ambulance arrived, and also with the actual information Summers presents in this documentary.
In 1982, the LAPD reopened the case into the death of Marilyn Monroe. Their findings related to the ambulance story is that there were actually TWO ambulances that REPORTEDLY came to Marilyn’s home the morning of August 5.
One story is attributed to James Hall, who says Marilyn was still alive when they arrived. The second story is attributed to a man named Ken Hunter, also a driver with Schaefer Ambulance Service. When watching this documentary, it’s the voice of Ken Hunter that’s heard on the audiotaped interview.
He says he went to the house and saw Marilyn laying on her side, and then his interview ends. In the FULL interview with Hunter (as conducted by the LA County District Attorney’s Office), which can be found online, Hunter states Marilyn was clearly already dead. He and his partner arrived in the early morning hours. At that time, Marilyn’s body was “blue in color, exhibiting signs of lividity and rigor mortis.” In the full interview, the investigator tells a story of a different ambulance crew that arrived and Marilyn was still alive. Hunter says that wasn’t the case. Listen to the full interview with Hunter here.
Again, it’s the voice of Ken Hunter that’s heard in this documentary, not James Hall.
The next interview that’s played is with Walt Schaefer, owner of the ambulance company.
Schaefer confirms Hunter was one of his employees and he confirms an ambulance was called to Marilyn’s home, but was it one or two? Schaefer, who WAS NOT PRESENT AT MARILYN’S HOME, says Marilyn was alive but comatose, and that she was picked up alive and transported to Santa Monica Hospital. Remember, Hunter said she was dead when he arrived, and had been for quite some time.
James Hall, part of the crew on the other Schaefer ambulance reported to have been at Marilyn’s home, has provided somewhat varying stories of his involvement. He contacted the LA District Attorney’s office on August 11, 1982, under the code name “Rick Stone” saying he had information about Marilyn’s death but he wanted to be paid for it. Upon learning he wouldn’t be paid, he did sit for an interview with the DA’s office. In the interview, he stated he and Liebowitz arrived at Marilyn’s house between 4:00 AM and 6:00 AM, and she was still alive, naked and comatose. He claims to have moved her to the floor and started attempts to revive her, to which she was responding. A man claiming to be Marilyn’s doctor then came into the room and took charge. The doctor ultimately plunged a giant syringe filled with a brownish fluid into her chest, after which she quickly died while on her back on the floor.
A November 28, 1982 interview with the Globe, a weekly tabloid published in West Palm Beach Florida, reports Hall stated he saw Marilyn murdered by Ralph Greenson. In the article, Hall reports that he and his partner arrived at Marilyn’s home between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. This timef rame is different from what he had told the DA’s office just a few months prior, where he said they’d arrived between 4:00 and 6:00 AM.
So here are the issues and inconsistencies with the ambulance stories:
- The LAPD report states Marilyn was pronounced dead at 3:50 AM. Hall could not have arrived between 4:00 and 6:00 AM, as originally reported, with Marilyn still being alive. He may have changed his story, conveniently, to have arrived PRIOR to the time Marilyn was pronounced dead at 3:50 AM.
- Marilyn’s body was in a condition of rigor mortis at the time she was pronounced dead at 3:50 AM. It’s scientifically known that rigor mortis peaks from six to eight hours after death. Given the physical state of her body, Marilyn was likely dead for several hours prior to her official death pronouncement. That means regardless of the time Hall arrived to her home, whether 3:00 AM as reported in the Globe article or 4:00 AM as reported to the DA’s office, Marilyn’s body was in an advanced state of rigor mortis and couldn’t have been alive when he arrived (if he arrived at all which is doubtful). It’s not medically possible.
- There were no signs of a surgical injection anywhere on Marilyn’s body, which was reviewed as part of the autopsy. Greenson actually didn’t inject Marilyn with something that killed her.
The source for the above info is directly from the 1982 LA County District Attorney’s report into Marilyn’s death. There’s no mention in the report of Hall and Liebowitz driving Marilyn to a hospital with her dying in the ambulance.
The next interview is with writer and journalist John Sherlock.
He tells a story where, allegedly, he and Ralph Greenson were sitting next to each other at a lunch. It was then that Greenson told him a story that Marilyn was taken away in an ambulance that night, and on the way to St. John’s Hospital, she died. (Really? At a luncheon? Ralph Greenson shares this story?) Sherlock also says Greenson says he was in the ambulance with Marilyn Monroe. After she died they brought her body back. (Really?)
Next up is an interview with Bill Woodfield, a photographer and journalist.
He says, “Find out where Bobby Kennedy was that weekend.” Woodfield, who was reporting on Marilyn’s death, claims later in the documentary that he “pieced together the notion that a helicopter was used, and so he went out to see a helicopter pilot. And said, ‘Can I look at your log? Have you got a log?’” In the log there was an entry about taking Kennedy to meet a flight en route to San Francisco at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, the night Marilyn Monroe died. So, who was the pilot? Where is this log today?
Summers then plays his interview with Harry Hall, described as a “law enforcement informant.”
Hall says, “I had heard on good authority that the Saturday that this happened, Bobby had come into town. Bobby was in town and supposedly left. I heard it from a federal agent.” He states, “It was definitely from the FBI.” So, this is evidence? “I heard on good authority?” In most situations, that’s called “hearsay.”
Reed Wilson was the next focus of the documentary.
He was a “surveillance expert, and working directly for Fred Otash. Reed states there are recordings from inside Marilyn Monroe’s home the night she died, recordings of her on a phone call Bobby Kennedy in the middle of a heated argument. My question, where is this recording? Why not distribute it if it actually exists. He says he, Bobby Kennedy and Peter Lawford were in Marilyn’s home the night she died to clean up any mention or indication of the Kennedys. If that’s the case, where is all of this documentation today?
Summers interviewed Eunice Murray for his book, and he shares the recording of the call.
Murray says the Kennedys were an important part of Marilyn’s life, and, “It became so sticky that the protectors of Bobby Kennedy had to step in to protect him.” She also claims Bobby was there the day of August 4. However, it’s well documented that Bobby Kennedy and his family were in Northern California that weekend, at the home of John Bates, a family friend who lived in Gilroy. The Bobby Kennedy family arrived August 3 and departed the following Sunday. The arrival was announced in the press, and witnesses saw them on the ranch and in San Francisco that weekend. It’s highly unlikely he was in LA at Marilyn’s home the weekend of her death.
Next, there’s an interview with Jim Doyle, a senior FBI agent, who claims to have been in Marilyn’s house the night she died.
He says he and others were at the home, “…immediately, before anyone realized what had happened.”
Ultimately, in the end, Summers does state that he uncovered no evidence that Marilyn had been deliberately killed. He believes she took her own life intentionally or accidentally. Personally, this is my opinion as well. I do not believe there was any murder involved in Marilyn’s death. And, If he truly believes there was no foul play, it would have been best for Summers to have stated this at the beginning of this documentary. What he’s done by waiting to the end is add to the buildup of unfounded conspiracy theories that Marilyn Monroe was murdered by the mob, by the Kennedys, etc. While he doesn’t believe a murder theory, he does believe there was a coverup, specifically due to any relationship Marilyn Monroe may have had with the Kennedys.
Some points of dissonance in the documentary from people interviewed, and some questions:
- Joan Greenson states Marilyn wouldn’t even tell her the name of the new interest in her life. Arthur James says Marilyn spoke openly on a number of occasions about her relationships with the Kennedys.
- Henry Rosenfeld says about Marilyn signing Happy Birthday to JFK, “Just being the one to sing. She was picked.” Well, if she was so dangerous and unstable, why was she “picked” to perform at the JFK gala?
- If there actually were tape recordings of Marilyn having sex with the Kennedys, where are those tapes and why haven’t they been made public? Where is the recording of the call between Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn, allegedly from August 4? Summers claims, “They may have been seized by law enforcement.”
- Al Schaefer says Marilyn was taken to Santa Monica Hospital but died on the way. John Sherlock says she was taken to Saint John’s Hospital. (How can we not know?)
I think there is just too much speculation, hearsay, and “he said, she said” in the book and this new documentary. It’s very clear that anything to do with an ambulance picking Marilyn up to take her to a hospital while she’s still alive just isn’t possible. James Hall himself states Marilyn Monroe was alive when he arrived but killed by Greenson via injection (but there’s no evidence of a surgical syringe on Marilyn’s body…not to mention no evidence of a motive for that). Ken Hunter said she was already dead when he arrived. So which story is true, if any?
- She was dead when the ambulance arrived;
- She was alive but comatose, and Hall tried to revive her; or
- She was alive but comatose, and she was loaded into the ambulance but died along the way and her body was returned to her home.
All three of these stories have been reported.
Sadly, this ambulance story is what’s being picked up by all of the news outlets as “new information about the night Marilyn Monroe died,” and they’re getting it all wrong. A New York Post article reads, “One of his former drivers, Ken Hunter, had been dispatched to Monroe’s home on the night of her death. Schaefer says that the silver screen superstar was comatose, but alive, when Hunter picked her up and began transporting her to an emergency room in Santa Monica.” Again, listen to the Hunter interview and you’ll hear him clearly say she’d been dead for quite some time.
My main frustrations and disappointments with this documentary are:
- There is nothing new being reported here. It’s a rehash of the same information originally published in the book. And why exactly are we republishing this now?
- Authors and journalists have a duty and an obligation to check their facts and sources. Interviews were conducted with people claiming to be in Marilyn’s inner circle, and in fact they were not close to her. The people included in this documentary who WERE NOT listed in Marilyn’s phonebooks are mostly those with negative, salacious, unproven stories about her. Those who ARE in Marilyn’s phonebook are those who overall supported Marilyn Monroe and clearly had a warmth and compassion for her, and told her true story.
- Finally, the ambulance story, as presented in this documentary, is simply impossible. Minimal research and fact finding and a timeline analysis, coupled with an assessment of the reports from James Hall and Ken Hunter, together with undisputed medical facts around the state of Marilyn’s body at the time death was pronounced, would have verified that Marilyn’s was not taken away in an ambulance. Hall’s stories were inconsistent, he was looking for money, and his timeline doesn’t add up (neither of them) when considering rigor mortis and lividity.
In general I’d say that overall this documentary is nothing more than a play for publicity. It’s an epic fail when it comes to telling the story of Marilyn Monroe. Many sources with outlandish stories and tall tales were deemed reliable and truthful, when in fact those people were not part of Marilyn’s inner circle. They were simply trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. Sadly they were used to help embolden the many theories surrounding her death. Conspiracy believers are reveling in this new film, which does nothing more than add fuel to a fire that doesn’t actually exist. It’s ironic that a Marilyn Monroe quote about truth is used at the opening of this film, when in fact there are many mistruths presented in this documentary. It’s slick and shiny with snippets of Marilyn’s actual interviews being spliced together to create a false narrative, together with photos and film clips from her appearances, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s just a sad repeat of the original book, which itself is questionable at best.