1985. The Kennedy Defenders Strike Back

It’s 1985 and the conspiracy frenzy is at it’s zenith. It’s been three years since the laughable “threshold” investigation into Marilyn Monroe’s death. There’s new calls for an official grand jury into the circumstances into Monroe’s last hours. But far more significant is an investigative reporter named Anthony Summers and his book named Goddess, which has legitimized a fringe movement of conspiracy theorists. Summers has done an amazing job of collecting every conceivable piece of gossip, speculation and innuendo, but then he presents them all on equal footing, even though some of the information is obviously bogus. 

Enter Vernon Scott, defender of the truth, or, at least the Kennedy legacy. Here’s his article pooh-poohing the conspiracy “nonsense.”

Rumors of plot in Marilyn Monroe death abound, but proof lacking

By VERNON SCOTT, UPI Hollywood Reporter | Oct. 5, 1985

HOLLYWOOD — Was Marilyn Monroe’s death part of a plot involving the Kennedy family? Twenty three years after her death, such rumors abound but the evidence simply isn’t there.

The rumors resurface each time a book is published about the actress, many of which hint at a conspiracy by the late Robert Kennedy to prevent her from going public about supposed affairs with himself and John F. Kennedy during his presidency.

At 36, Marilyn was a legendary movie star and the world’s best-known sex symbol. She died alone in bed Aug. 4, 1962, of an overdose of barbituates, according to a Los Angeles Coroner’s autopsy.

Almost from the moment of her death, gossip persisted that she was a murder victim in a plot somehow involving the Kennedys. Like the second gun theory in the Dallas assassination of President Kennedy, the speculation has never been put to rest.

The key figure in Marilyn’s life at her death was the late actor Peter Lawford, the link between the actress and the Kennedy family. Lawford was married to Patricia Kennedy, sister of the president.

Lawford rarely discussed events of the night of Aug. 4 and the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 5, but allegedly discussed them in detail with his third wife, Deborah Gould, to whom he was married for a few weeks in 1976.

Gould’s story is recounted in a new book, ‘Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe,’ in which she says Marilyn was suicidal over a broken love affair with Bobby Kennedy, who refused to marry her.

She says Lawford went to Marilyn’s home the night she died and removed evidence that would have created an international scandal involving the Kennedys.

Rumors about Bobby also visiting the Monroe house that night abound, as do published accounts that an ambulance picked up Marilyn’s body, but later returned to the house.

Almost all of the stories about the mysterious Monroe death amount to unsubstantiated hearsay. In addition to Gould, a retired Los Angeles detective and a couple of writers have advanced theories that Marilyn slept with both Kennedys and either committed suicide in anguish or was forcefully given the barbituates orally or by injection.

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office exhaustively investigated the case and found no cause for criminal complaint.

Lawford denied the rumors and now Milton Ebbins, his manager and close friend for 33 years, is writing his own book about the events the night Monroe died.

‘I talked to Peter on the telephone several times that night,’ Ebbins told United Press International in a lengthy interview. ‘He never left his beach house in Santa Monica and he was the last person to talk to Marilyn on the phone.

‘Bobby definitely was not in Southern California that night and neither man went to Marilyn’s house. Forget about the ambulance. It just couldn’t have happened.

‘Peter called in the afternoon and asked me to dinner with (agent) Bullets Durgom and (producer) Joe Naar and his wife — and Marilyn. I declined. He called again to say Marilyn couldn’t come and that she was anxiety-ridden.

‘Peter called a third time about 7 p.m. to say he’d talked to Marilyn once more and her voice was fuzzy. She told Peter how terrific he was and how great Pat and Bobby and the president were and then the phone went dead.

‘Peter immediately called back and the line was busy. He tried several times until the operator told him Marilyn’s phone was off the hook.

‘He was upset and wanted to go to Marilyn’s house in Brentwood. I told him not to. We all knew Marilyn took too many pills and was drinking heavily. I suggested we call Milton (Mickey) Rudin, Marilyn’s attorney, and her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson, Mickey’s brother-in-law, and ask them go to her house.

‘I got Mickey and told him about Peter’s apprehension. Mickey called me about 7:30 to say he had talked to Mrs. Murray, a psychiatric nurse hired by Greenson, who said she looked in on Marilyn. Murray told Mickey, ‘She does this every night. She takes the pills, calls somebody and falls asleep. She’s fine.’

‘Mickey said Mrs. Murray had looked through the drapery of an outside window and saw Marilyn lying on the bed asleep. The lights were on and the radio was going. I told Peter this and he insisted on talking to Mickey.

‘Mickey called Peter and convinced him all was well, but Peter was still apprehensive and wanted to go to Marilyn’s. I told him Mrs. Murray would tell him the same thing she told Rudin.

‘This was no conspiracy to kill Marilyn, you know, involving Mickey and Mrs. Murray, for God’s sake.

‘Peter called me twice more when he was getting a little drunk, expressing his fear that Marilyn was very ill. Peter called me once after midnight and he was bombed.

‘By this time (comedian) Mort Sahl had stopped by to talk to me. Mort was there when about five minutes to 4 a.m. Mickey called. And I asked him, ‘How’s Marilyn?’

‘He said, ‘Not good. I’m here with Dr. Greenson and Dr. Engelberg (Marilyn’s personal physician). We broke into her bedroom. They pronounced her dead. We just called the police.’

‘He told me Mrs. Murray had gone to the window to look in and was alarmed to find Marilyn in the same position she had been in early in the night. So she called Greenson to come out. Greenson and Mickey broke the window and entered her bedroom to find Marilyn dead.

‘I was stunned and told Mort. We were the first to know except for Mickey and the two doctors. I tried to call Peter, but he had pulled the phone jack from the wall — which he did every night — and I couldn’t reach him.

‘So I went to bed and later when I did reach Peter, he had already been told. Peter was guilt-ridden because he hadn’t gone to Marilyn’s house. I told him that Marilyn was doomed. She had tried to commit suicide five or six times previously. This time she made it.

‘I never heard Bobby’s name mentioned, much less about him arriving at Peter’s house in a helicopter that night. Peter was my closest friend. He would have told me if Bobby had been here or if Marilyn had been taken away in an ambulance.’

Ebbins said he understood that ‘Mickey and the others found Marilyn’s body at 3:30 and didn’t call the police until 4 a.m. After all, they had to figure out what to do with this giant story. Mickey called me because he wanted me to tell Peter.

‘That is the unadulterated story of the night Marilyn died. The rest of that stuff is pure fantasy. How could Bobby be in town that night? He was in Northern California with his wife and children. And he and Peter were never close friends.

‘If Peter had bailed Bobby out of a jam, don’t you think they would have been friends for life? But when Pat and Peter divorced, Peter became persona non grata with the Kennedys. Bobby never called Peter when he came to town, neither did Teddy or any other family member.

‘The authorities are satisfied Marilyn committed suicide and died alone. The stories going around are circulated by people who want their names in the papers.’