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Part II - 1962

 

 

Losing Marilyn 

by Shar Daws

Part II 

Previously, on the 8th June 1962 a meeting at Fox had been held to discuss the catastrophe of Something's Got To Give, which was attended by Dr Greenson.  

Greenson told everyone present that Newcomb and Strasberg were both dispensable but that he and only he, could get Marilyn working again, as he did when she was filming The Misfits - he went on to astonish everyone at the meeting by telling them he would assume responsibility for all creative areas of the picture, which included selecting a new director and taking the decision on which takes would finally be printed. 

That evening Fox went ahead and filed a suit against Marilyn Monroe Productions for $500,00.00, 

When the news broke Marilyn was devastated. 

The studio had not counted on Dean Martin's loyalty to Marilyn. Lee Remick has been signed as Marilyn's replacement, Kim Novak and Shirley MacLaine, having already turned down the offer of the part. When Martin was told, he said he refused to work with anyone except Marilyn. After a great deal of negotiating, after just one week of Monroe's dismissal, it was agreed to continue discussions with a view to Marilyn resuming Something's Got To Give.     

Lee Remick

Kim NovakShirley MacLaine
leeKimShirley

Meanwhile, Marilyn was far from idle, things had picked up, and maybe the whole disaster with Something's Got To Give was actually just what Monroe needed to get her re-focused.  

Marilyn with Truman Capote

mmtruman

There were discussions for other films, she undertook magazine interviews and photo shoots. Around this time Truman Capote was surprised to find that 'she had never looked better... and there was a new maturity about her eyes. She wasn't so giggly anymore' As Marilyn herself said at the time 'There's a future, and I can't wait to get to it.' 

By the 23rd June, her bruises had vanished. Marilyn met the photographer Bert Stern, who was commissioned by Vogue to produce a photo assignment over five sessions, with the last one taking place on 12th July. 

 

She also spent 3 days (29th June to 1st July) on and around Santa MonicaBeach with the photographer George Barris for a Cosmopolitan photo essay.

Stern recalled that during her photoshoot with him she was 'Very natural, without the affectation of a star complex'  

During an interview regarding her age and prospects Marilyn was extremely candid with the reporter, she said: 

I'm 36 years old... I don't mind the age. I like the view from here. The future is here for me, and I have to make the most of it - as every woman must. So when you hear all this talk of how tardy I am, of how often it seems that I make people wait, remember - I'm waiting too, I've been waiting all my life. 

she continued 

You don't know what it's like to have all that I have and not to be loved and know happiness. All I ever wanted out of life is to be nice to people and have them be nice to me. It's a fair exchange. And I'm a woman. I want to be loved by a man, from his heart, as I would love him from mine. I've tried, but it hasn't happened yet.  

When the reporter asked her questions about her marriages, she was not forthcoming, always the soul of discretion she would not be led into discussion of her private life. 

Although continuing her daily therapy sessions with Greenson throughout July, Marilyn confided to friends that she felt she had developed an unhealthy dependence on analyst, whose actions and attitude were unpredictable, although she would not elaborate and say exactly what meant.  

According to invoices later submitted, Engelberg visited Monroe at home almost every day during July (excluding 4,6,7,8,9 & 16th) she received injections, euphemistically known as liver and vitamin shots, but these shots transformed her mood and energy levels with shocking speed.

Richard Merryman, who arrived late one afternoon for the second in a series of interviews for Life magazine, claimed that when he arrived 'she was tired out' from her meetings at Fox but Engelberg interrupted her and gave her a shot. Suddenly Marilyn was eager to proceed with the interview, her speech was rapid and incoherent, Merryman felt that this could not be the effect of liver and vitamin shots. 

Pat Newcomb testifies to Engelberg searching Marilyn out to give her 'youth shots' on one occasion they were eating out together, when Engelberg tracked Marilyn down and gave her such a shot. Engelberg, according to his ex wife, also boasted that he had direct access to Marilyn's apartment whilst waving a set of keys. 

Much has been made about  Marilyn phoning Robert Kennedy during the last months of her life - however, only 8 calls were placed in the last months, the conversations were brief and uncomplicated. Robert Kennedy never had time to indulge in long social calls and phone records corroborate this. In the last two weeks of July only one call lasted longer than a minute. All calls were put through to a main switchboard at the Department of Justice and then transferred to the Attorney General's secretary. Marilyn never had access to Kennedy's private line.

When Joe returned from Europe, he and Marilyn frequently exchanged phone calls. DiMaggio visited Marilyn on 20th June and 8th/21st July. They had begun rekindling their relationship on a new and serene footing, sharing simple pleasures such as meals together, bike riding towards the ocean and shopping together. Joe agreed with Marilyn regarding her concerns about her therapy and Greenson, and he promised to support her whatever decision she made. 

On the morning of 21st July, Joe brought Marilyn home from Cedars of Lebanon, after another procedure to alleviate her endometriosis. After she died, spurious rumours of an abortion at this time, were thrown into the arena of gossip and to give substance to conspiracy theories, however, the notes of her regular surgeon Leon Krohn MD leave no doubt that these rumours were blatantly false. 

During further interviews with Merryman at Fifth Helena, when asked about unflattering remarks in the gossip columns Marilyn replied candidly: 

I really resent the way the press has been saying I'm depressed and in a slump, as if I'm finished. Nothing's going to sink me, although it might be kind of a relief to be finished with movie-making. That kind of work is like a hundred yard dash and then you're at the finish line, and you sigh and say you've made it. But you never have. There's another scene and another film, and you have to start all over again. 

On questions about  her future she responded: 

I want to be an artist and an actress with integrity. As I said once before, I don't care about the money. I just want to be wonderful. 

After the interviews and photo session with Allan Grant were complete, just as Merryman was leaving, Marilyn said to him in a whisper 'please don't make me a joke.'

 Photograph by Allan Grant 1962

agrant

 

***

Completing her interviews and photo shoots with various different photographers and reporters, Marilyn met up with Sidney Skolsky to continue pursuing their joint project about Jean Harlow's life. With the approval of Harlow's mother, they were all systems go. Marilyn and Skolsky were scheduled to meet again at 4pm on Sunday 5th August to work on the treatment for the story with Marilyn playing the part of Harlow.  

Ralph Roberts said 'she was really taking control of her life and asserting herself that Summer.' His sentiments were also backed up amongst other by Rupert Allan and Susan Strasberg. 

Roberts added Marilyn could 'see Greenson was severing all her close relationships one by one' 

Ralph Roberts with Marilyn on the set of The Misfits

mmrroberts

 

Marilyn began to realise that if she didn't take back control then she would have no one but Greenson, left in her life. She needed to make the split, detach herself from Greenson before it was too late. 

By Wednesday 25th July, Hal Kanter had completed his revision of Something's Got To Give and submitted it to Peter Levathes. Levathes visiting Marilyn at home the very same day. Marilyn wanted to look her best, she had her makeup done by Whitey (Allan Snyder) and Agnes Flanagan washed and styled her hair. Marilyn wanted someone there in the background to listen to conversation, so she asked Pat Newcomb to come along and eavesdrop behind a bedroom door. In 1992 Levathes gave an account of the meeting which was backed up by Pat Newcomb: 

As so often with Marilyn's history at Fox, we simply decided to reinstate her. I was the one responsible for firing her, so I wanted to be the one to persnally rehire her. No one wanted bad blood. She told me she didn't want her name tarnished, nor did she wish to ruin anyone. She did not seem unhappy or depressed at all, she asked if we could review the new script and we did. She read it and was very astute about it, thinking carefully before she made some excellent suggestions. Marilyn saw, for example, great comic potential for a scene she had in mind: 'A woman who has been off on a desert island for years wouldn't eat so delicately with knives and forks.' And she suggested another scene in which her character just forgot about shoes, because she was unused to wearing them. I remember saying 'Marilyn, these are beautiful ideas!' She was very happy and creative and glad to have a say in the revised script. She was in fine spirits and looking forward to getting back to work. 

He went on to tell her lawsuits would be dropped and she would be reinstated at a higher salary.  

Levathes continued: 

When I said goodbye, she returned to the task she was engaged in when I arrived. There was an array of photos of her [by Bert Stern and George Barris], contact sheets and prints all over the floor and she was making decisions about them. This was not, I thought, a shallow person, and I was sorry I never really knew her. She was a woman who made distinctions, who thought about her life, who knew the difference between sham and reality. She had depth. Of course she was enormously complex and I had a sense of some real underlying suffering there./ But at her best there was no one like her. The wounds with Fox were healed, and when I last saw her, she was like a young and beautiful starlet, eager to do a picture that now had real possibilities. 

During the last week of July, the Lawfords' invited Marilyn to Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe. Frank Sinatra would be there performing and Marilyn was eager to accept the invite. She telephoned Joe and asked him to meet her there. Apart from watching Sinatra sing, she and Joe kept a low profile that weekend. Marilyn did however, meet up with Dean Martin and she thanked him for his support and discussed the movie project I Love Louisa. 

Over the years, defamatory rumours have persisted that the weekend was nothing but a drug infested orgy with members of the Mafia and that Marilyn took part in sexual activities with various men including Johnny Roselli, Bugsy Siegel and Sam Giancana.  

The actor Alex D'Arcy, who knew Marilyn and was also a close friend of Roselli - a key mob figure in L.A. hotly denied these rumours stating 'There was absolutely never any affair between Marilyn and any of these men,' he said '... she was in Lake Tahoe to be with Joe!'  Betsy Duncan Hammes, who also knew Roselli and Sinatra well, agreed: 'I was in Lake Tahoe that weekend and I saw Marilyn eating dinner. Giancana and his crowd weren't there, and I would have known if they were.'

Marilyn at Cal- Neva  Lodge in Lake Tahoe with Peter Lawford 28th July 1962

mmlawford

 

 

 

 

On Sunday evening Marilyn returned to L.A. with the Lawfords, and Joe headed for San Fransisco, with news for his family. Valmore Monette confirmed 'Joe told me he had decided to re-marry her' Marilyn and Joe had set a date for 8th August 1962, in L.A. 

Monday 30th July, Marilyn agreed to accept J. Lee  Thompson as director on I Love Louisa with a plan to start early 1963.  

The same day Marilyn contacted Milton Rudin, she wanted to make a new will. However, Rudin did not want to sign a will and certify that she was of sound mind, for he believed her to have serious problems with pills and paranoia. 

On July 31st, Marilyn was due to have a final fitting for a dress designed for her by Jean Louis. Elizabeth Courtney, his assistant, spoke with her on the phone and describing Marilyn as 'so happy' for this was to be her wedding dress according to Courtney. That afternoon she had a 90min session with Greenson and then returned home, spending several hours on the phone to (among others) a florist, the local wine shop and a caterer. 

*** 

Wednesday 1st August 1962, Nunnally Johnson told Marilyn's old friend Jean Negulesco that he was going to be invited to direct Something's Got To Give 'because Marilyn has asked for you' Negulesco said he would be delighted to replace Cukor. With Negulesco's acceptance Something's Got To Give was scheduled to recommence the end of October 1962. Marilyn was signed at a salary of $250,000 ($150,000,000 more than she was originally hired at)  

Her stand in Evelyn Moriarty heard the news and immediately phoned Marilyn, who was according to Moriarty in 'great spirits' and happy to be going back to work.  

Marilyn's Stand in Evelyn Moriarty

EVELYN

As for Marilyn's immediate plans, she was busy preparing for a small reception following her wedding, and drawing up a list of friends to invite at the last minute. She also confirmed, wine, sandwiches and salads to be delivered the follwoing week from Briggs, the local emporium she used on nearby San Vincente Blvd. Joe was due in Los Angeles Sunday nighyt or Monday morning. The would be married Wednesday and then proceed to New York for their honeymoon. 

Marilyn's phone records for the 1st August also list a call to Leon Krohn's office at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. She asked him to dine with her that evening. Not just her surgeon, Krohn was also a good friend of both Marilyn and Joe. She said she had something to tell him. He replied that he would ring back after hospital rounds. Late in the afternoon she phoned him again, postponing the suggested dinner and saying she would call him in a few days. 

The reason for this is not clear, but between calls Marilyn had seen Greenson and Engelberg.

 

***

 

Now that the wedding was about to take place, and she would be travelling to New York, Marilyn now felt she had her opportunity to dismiss Eunice. Three things in particular had sealed her fate. 

1. Cherie Redmond wrote from the Studio to Marilyn at the end of July, Marilyn's mail from Fox and her private post office box were intercepted by Murray and who was holding them. This angered Marilyn. 

2. At Marilyn's invitation, Ralph Roberts had arrived at the house to give Monroe a massage and according to Roberts 'Eunice made her presence known' recalling that she looked at him with 'such hatred and venom' he found her chilling, intimidating and manipulative.  

3. Eunice planned to accompany her sister on a European vacation beginning Monday 6th August, but she had chosen not to tell Marilyn until Wednesday 1st August. Marilyn wrote her a cheque for a months wages and told Eunice not to return in September.  

Significantly, Eunice's last day of work would be August 4th. 

Marilyn then spent the rest of the afternoon at Fox discussing Something's Got To Give - it was a cordial and creative meeting. 

Thursday 2nd August, Marilyn went to Greenson for a session, he drove to her house later that day for a second meeting. Clearly there was a crisis. 

Ralph Roberts said: 

She deeply resented what she saw as his use of her. And she saw at last what was fundamentally true: that Hollywood was not her life, and that dependence on him was not her life. Her resentment of Greenson had reached the breaking point - so much was clear to all of us. He tried to get rid of almost everyone in her life, and she didn't have that many people to begin with. But when he tried it with Joe - I think that's when she began to reconsider the whole thing. As for Engelberg and the pills and the shots, well it was obvious, wasn't it? If you can't control Marilyn one way, there were always drugs.  

Pat Newcomb recalled several times Marilyn had threatened to fire Greenson. In his essay on 'Special Problems in Psychotherapy with the Rich and Famous' Greenson wrote: 

Rich and famous people believe that prolonged psychotherapy is a rip-off. They want their therapist as a close friend, they even want his wife and his children to become part of the therapist's family... these patients are seductive

a thinly disguised reference to his relationship with Marilyn he continued: 

Rich and famous people need the therapist twenty-four hours a day and they are insatiable. They are also able to give you up completely in the sense they are doing to you what was done to them by their parents or their servants. You are their servant and can be dismissed without notice.

 

 

***

 

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