Peter Leonardi and Marilyn Monroe

Peter Leonardi was a hairdresser and best known for going with Marilyn Monroe to Bement, Illinois where she inaugurated a museum dedicated to Abraham Lincoln in August 1955.

From Revelation #2:

Leonardi was Marilyn’s hairdresser and gopher in 1955. He was around in the heady days when Monroe and Greene were putting together the new production company. The sky was the limit in their hopes and plans and according to Leonardi, promises were made that he would be set up with his own salon.

Marilyn Monroe and Peter Leonardi had a falling out. At the end of 1955 when things with the production company weren’t happening as quickly as hoped for in the beginning, Leonardi grew impatient. A bizarre incident ensued with Leonardi taking Marilyn’s furs hostage. It was all settled quickly and there’s no evidence it led to any long term animosity between them. Like everyone else who betrayed Marilyn’s confidence he was simply dispatched. It’s obvious Marilyn thought fondly of Peter Leonardi during their time together. She sent a note to his mother expressing how “wonderful” her son was.

Marilyn Monroe note to Peter Leonardi's mother

There’s also a birthday card to MM from Leonardi, sent in 1956, that Marilyn saved for the rest of her life.

Peter Leonardi birthday card to Marilyn Monroe

Peter Leonardi facts:
Peter Leonardi was used as driver, hairdresser, handyman and assistant at the time when MM ran Marilyn Monroe Productions with Milton Greene.

Leonardi was a friend of the “Monroe six” and would tell them where she was going so they could get their pics.

Leonardi told James Haspiel that Marilyn Monroe gave money to the homeless.

Marilyn Monroe biographer Lois Banner believes Peter Leonardi is the Peter that Marilyn was afraid of in the book Fragments.


I’ll close this research file for now with an old press clipping that mentions Leonardi:


July 11, 1956
The Times from San Mateo, California · Page 39

Publication: The Times i Location: San Mateo, CaliforniaIssue Date: Wednesday, July 11, 1956Page: Page 39MARILYN LOVED MILLER BEFORE SHE MET JOE j (Continued From Page 1) much of her .emotional energy was per cent on devoted to making a dozen second- rate movies-and becoming a first- rate national sex symbol. The possibility of an eventual conjunction ‘ of »body and mind dwindled even more when she married Joe DiMaggio early in 1954. But the old Miller embers in Marilyn’s memory began glowing again soon after she released the outfielder from his marriage contract and stole away to New York frp’n Twentieth. Century-Fox early last year. Establishing her headquarters in Waldorf Towers apartment, she opened campaigns on two flanks. . One- was to make a business break from Hollywood and set up a movie company of her own, Marilyn Monroe Productions. The’other was to attempt to learn to act. Into His Arms paragraphs. On the ii The latter pursuit took her to L^ Marilyn’s style is a “political neuter.” . . The basic difference is in their mentality. Miller is a powerful logician, and even in casual conversation he speaks in 1 clear–frequently brilliant — sentences and intellectual , · – ··. , ” ~ ‘ . i .. ., , ioiui, iiAamjii ,- oi-jn, iS a bit nil- the Stanislavsky-haunted world o f ! f eren t f r o m this. Actors’ Studio and, very soon there- j after, to the \arms of. A r t h u r , the future prospects chart. Different Worlds There is a substantial difference in their ages — she is 30 and he is ·40. Their past years were spent in different worlds — his the world of, Jewish middle-class Brooklyn and hers a disorganized foster-home world in Southern California. He is a college graduate; she made it only through high school. He is deeply involved in the politics and sociology of our time; she has never publicly indicated the remotest interest in, or understanding of, such matters. One_ associate of several year^ called “her year. New Novel-, Miller. Under Water Talk “When I talk with her I feel like we’re talking under water,” a Through 1955 they ran into each, Hol i yw – ood producer recently said. “When I asked her questions,” a New York reporter observed after an interview, “I felt like my words had to go miles and miles before they reached her.” other again and again at the homes of mutual acquaintances who’ had volunteered their help in adding some culture to Marilyn’s more noticeable possessions. Their most frequent meeting place was at the home of Poet Norman Rosten, Miller’s close sfriend since their days at’the U. of Michigan. The rekindling of the 1951 blaze was a slow process. Their friends, moreover, kept the developments hidden in .deepest secrecy

. Even Peter Leonardi, Marilyn’s around-the-clock hairdresser–secretary-confidant through, the spring and summer of last year, admits that he had no suspicions that anything was brewing between his enticing employer and’ the playwright. Never Heard Of Him . . “1 was with her morning, noon and night for weeks,” says Leonardi, “and I never even heard the name ‘Miller.’

” The^fact that their interest in each other remained unpublicized so long was not merely because of their friends’ agreement to keep it secret. More important were the truths that both Marilyn and Miller have always preferred home gatherings to night clubs. Enjoyed dining in obscure little restaurants better than in fashionable cafes and had more fun out of bike rides in Brooklyn thar. out of noisy opening nights. The romance developed along paths not much frequented by columnists and Broadway gossips. By Christmas there was fruit on the love tree. Miller and his wife of 15 years, slender Mary Grace Slattery Miller, had long realized that hope for then: marriage was lost. Close friends insist that their divorce would have come when it did even had Marilyn not entered his life. No One Proposed At any rate, on one chill raid- winter evening after the divorce had been decided upon. Miller and Marilyn made up their minds to get married. Neither claims to have been the proposer. . “We both talked at once,” says Miller. “Well. I guess he sort of initiated it,” Marilyn’ says, “But you could say it was’simultaneous,” -When the official word of the Miller-Monroe intent was made public a few days ago, a reporter in Hollywood broke the news to a cameraman who had known Marilyn and Miller well for several years. The cameraman pressed his palm to his forehead and moaned in despair, “Oh, Oh, the poor guy.” Others professed less pessimism, but it is true that in certain aspects they considered the match a most surprising one indeed. Any marriage counselor might be tempted to give them less than 100 MISSION Automatic Gas Water Heaters Phone Fl 5-1691 24-HOUR PLUMBING SERVICE McCtENAHAH COMPANY 2301 .Palm Avenu* Another writer sad her thought patterns seemed “misty, very misty.” But those who emphasize the differences sometimes fail to note certain ones which have made the mating of Miller and Marilyn possible, if not inevitable. From her viewpoint, Miller is the intelligently dominant male whom she has sought for years. Abraham Lincoln has a l w a y s a sort of father-hero for Marilyn, who never knew her own father. Lincoln’s picture used to hang in her bedroom. .And Miller, except for the chin, whiskers, looks strikingly like Lincoln. Glamor- For Miller · · ‘ . For Miller, Marilyn is glamor replacing Flatbush, she is * robust companion for a man who swims and plays tennis and is a carpenter,’ mechanic and mason as .well as a writer. She is, for a man WHO enjoys talking, a listener who can: look attentive. | “Besides,” a man from Brooklyn said the other day, “Miller may wrfte and all but he’s still just a guy from Brooklyn. And do you know one guy in Brooklyn who wouldn’t like to have Marilyn Monroe around?” Although fully smitten by love, Miller and Marilyn kept their^bent for marriage a secret even *after his plan to get a divorce had been confirmed to the press. There was speculation in print that he would wed Marilyn after -the divorce came through. “But this report is- absurb.” Miller said in early February. “1 often see her at the homes of friends, but we’ve never been alone and there is definitely no ro mance.” He’s Married “But how can they say we’re having a romance?” M a r H y n purred. “He’s married. I haven’t been dating. I have no romance, period.” · i · . However, before Marilyn left New York Jate in February to star ir. the still-to-be-released film “Bus Stop” intimates of the couple knew their protestations were not the whole truth. “A few months ..before…he left for Reno, he was really like a kid. about Marilyn — a “kid in love,” said a close Broadway acquaintance. “No one who’d ever known hun had ever seen this kind of ebullience in him. It was almost as if we were dancing a jig. “He couldn’t contain himself-he was so happy, so full of love. But he and Marilyn were very secretive about their meetings. Though they must have met often, only people very close to them knew anything about it. ‘Miller is 1 a very private kind of guy, really a lone wolf. He makes all the important decisions himself.” Indian Ronmer The playwright followed his fiancee’s, westward trail- a month and’ a half after she reached Hollywood. He made it only as far as Nevada. There he camped out in a rustic cabin at Pyramid Lake, 45 miles from Reno. He lived there eight weeks, six of them necessary to fulfill the residence requirements for .a divorce. He ran up a formidable telephone bill during those weeks. ‘ With ncr phone in his cabin, MHler had to take the calls from Marilyn at the Pyramid Lake ranch? lodge. An Indian runner would’ go- to his cabin end tell him “Mrs. Leslie” was on the line.. Their code’names, for each other, r.^and 1 Mrs. -Leslie,”‘ were obviously derived: from; the. Vina Delmar novel, “About Mrs. Leslie.” There, was the story o£ tbet homey nightclub singer (played by Shirley Booth in; the morie)’ who. lived! with. married Washington celeb- rity as man and wife six weeks a :or interviewed her that she always can’ be expected -to be at least 30 minutes ‘late: for ‘any appointment. .But , ! on -June’.2,’ the she fle\y ·from-‘Hollywood, to”New. York; .she was an hour ‘early.·’ for her plane.’ As ..Marilyn .was tidying, her apartment f?r Miller’s .return, a subpoena was being delivered to hii..,in Reno by a representative of. the House Committee on Un-American Activities. ‘. ‘· . . ‘ It. was.’clear to.”Miller.that-he would have’to interrupt’his reunion time -with Marilyn to go to Washington and publicly discuss bis .past associations with Communist-dominated organizations. ‘ Urged to Quit This was also clear to several of Marilyn’s close.publicity and business associates, and they quietly urged ,her to reconsider her plan to marry Miller. They were not at all sure how the public would cotton to the idea of having theii; All’ American Venus married to a fellow whose mind had been touched by complicated thoughts and whose name” was linked with groups deemed untrustworthy by certain congressmen and attorneys general.. ‘ ‘ · ·But ‘Marilyn^ steadfastly ignored her advisers. ‘ · On June 11 Miiier was granted a divorce after a routine five-minute Neither Miller nor Marilyn had any mention-worthy social life while they were apart. · . ,Miller sj[ent most o’f his time in his cabin,’:writing three-fourths of a new novel. He took part in only a few of the ranch outings, one a wild horse hunt. Marilyn moved from Hollywood to Phoenix to Sun Valley while “Bus .Stop” was being filmed. But a dawn-to-bedtime-schedule of acting-and of script study with her new drama coach, Mrs. Lee Strasberg, wife of the director of Actors’ Studio, kept her too busy for any fun-making. Moreover, she was afflicted with bronchitis throughout most of her stay in “the West. At one point, after working in bad weather-while dressed in a skimpy costume, she was forced to go to a hospital for a couple of weeks. In the hospital, although she .was under doctors’ orders to use her voice as little as possible, Marilyn had telephone cooings – and- billings ‘with Miller which sometimes lasted almost an’hour.’ A: soon’as her work in “Bus Stop” was completed, Marilyn returned to Manhattan and her new apartment at 2 Sutton Place. It is common knowledge among all who have worked with Marilyn hearing in a Reno court. Two days later he was back in New Yo*with Marilyn. During the next week they were together -almost -constantly/,/Although every newspaper in town had. reporters after ‘them, they managed to? carry on their reunion courtship without ‘publicity. ‘ · ‘ . . · · – They dined several times in cozy little restaurants, \ took drives in the country, attended a play, and ,one night: visited. Miller’s parents in Flatbush, Mr. and Mrs. Isadore Miller. Even though, they were the “hottest” news personalities in the city, reporters learned of none.of these activities. Between dates with Miller; Marilyn was busy .buying new “things; for her “one-bedroom apartment.’ Miller’s, country, house near Roxbury, Conn,, and the apartment at 2 Sutton PL, will be their homes whenever they are in the New York area. Two Question! The hounding by reporters increased enormously just before Miller went to Washington for the hearing. Miller had a long visit with Marilyn at her apartment before he made the trip to Washington. And while at the capita); they exchanged many more telephone calls. There were two questions-and- answers in the hearings which made more news than all the other politico · philosophical questions combined. Arens (Richard Arens, Committee counsel): Now, your present application for a passport pending in the Department of State is for life In a tuccession af /osier- homes. Miller’s graduation from fdctball- and.’. girls to’ university, and literary ambitions.) Japan Shipping ‘Rises TOKYO’ .(UP)–. Japan climbed . t o . second .place -in the purpose of traveling to Eng- Wednesday, July .11, 1956 land. Is that correct? Miller: To England, yes., Arens: What;-is the .’objective? Miller: /The’ objective .is”‘double. I have, a production which is in’the talking-stage in;-England of “A ‘View From The .Bridge,”,, and I will be there tp be with the woman who .will then be my wife. That is my aim. . . . . . – ‘ They .All ‘.Kaew , Everybody joiew he was talking about Marilyn cMonroe, “.’.’.- Returning v :from – . Washington, Miller drove to Roxbury with- four, passengers in his car.– his mother,Mrs. Augusta .Miller; his daughter,. 12; his son,–8; .and the most famous passenger, Marilyn. ” . “Until the wedding- day’they alternately fought’off reporters and played in the sun. They occasionally visited Miller’s cousin, Morton Miller, who lives just down the road and occasionally drove to ‘a rural Connecticut restaurant for dinner.. . * . But most of their hours were spent getting the pool in the back yard ready for-swimming and seeing that the lawns and hedges were properly trimmed. They were making a home. . “I’ve never been,happier in my life;” Miller said once during those days just before the. marriage. . · . Five years had been a long-time for Marilyn. (TOMORROW: Miller’s boyhood in a middle-class New York family.