Marilyn Monroe was murdered. She did not take an “overdose of sleeping pills” as her stomach was virtually empty. She did have multiple bruises that were erased from the autopsy report, and her body showed evidence of having been given an enema, which may be how the barbiturates that killed her were administered, although some believe the final coup d’etat may have been delivered via syringe by her analyst Dr. Ralph Greenson, who was having an affair with her, a serious breach of professional ethics. Greenson is the man who discovered and reported her dead.
Perhaps the key detail in understanding this case is that her death occurred within days of her friend Dorothy Kilgallen leaking info about Monroe’s affair with JFK in her widely-circulated gossip column. Although neighbors reported hearing quite a row that night, all this would be swept under the rug, along with an emergency visit from Robert Kennedy. There’s also a report of a possible intervention with Sam Giancana shortly before her death, both incidents of which might have indicated last-ditch efforts to save her life.
It all happened 54 years ago, so it’s about time the real facts come out, but don’t hold your breath. In the world of archetypes, icons just don’t get any bigger than Marilyn. She remains the sexiest woman alive and her personality seemed charmingly devoid of evil intent, so why would anyone want to kill Marilyn Monore?
Most of what I know about this case I picked up from Jim Hougan, one of my favorite conspiracy writers, who always maintains a great sense of humor, unlike many people in this field. Many years ago, Hougan published a brilliant book, Spooks, that went into detail on characters like Robert Vesco, Mitch WerBell, Robert Maheu, the sort of guys who dance between raindrops. But Hougan also connected some dots on the Kennedy-Teamster confrontation, a war Marilyn seems to have gotten caught in the middle of, which may be why she ended up dead.
The story starts in 1955. Senator John McClellan’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations nails its number-one target, Teamster boss Dave Beck, thanks to Beck’s assistant Jimmy Hoffa, secretly assisting Robert Kennedy with the incriminating evidence of Beck’s pension diversion schemes. JFK sat on the committee and RFK was the committee’s lawyer. Hoffa became the new leader of the country’s most powerful union. Soon, however, Robert Kennedy starts building a case against Hoffa and this becomes the most intense vendetta of his life. Papa Kennedy had earlier maneuvered his son onto the staff of Communist witch-hunter Joe McCarthy, a man RFK seems to have (strangely enough) held a lot of respect for. It was while working closely with McCarthy and Roy Cohn that RFK cut his political teeth and mastered the art of dirty tricks.
Many people make the mistake of thinking Kennedy “went after the mob.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Robert Kennedy went after Jimmy Hoffa, while others in the administration maintained friendly contact with Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, even to the point of requesting their services in the elimination of Fidel Castro.
RFK’s assault wasn’t nicknamed the “Get Hoffa Squad” for no reason. At one time, Kennedy had 40 grand juries all investigating different aspects of Hoffa’s life. Eventually Hoffa was brought down simply through defensive measures he initiated to fight against dirty tricks RFK was playing on him, which included planting government informants all around him and turning Hoffa’s own secret agents into well-greased doubles under RKF control.
Bernard Spindel is the key character in the Monroe mystery, a surveillance expert who worked for Hoffa, a person RFK attempted to double early on, telling him to set any price. “Now, Bernie, you know my brother is going to be the next President. You don’t have to worry about anything,” RFK is reported to have said. Bernie worked for anyone who paid him and, in his own words,”never asked for a pedigree,” but he refused to work for any government agency and he refused to break any laws. He pioneered all sorts of strategies for circumventing the laws against wiretapping, even to the point of using lip readers to decipher films he shot, rather than use the available audio track.
Spindel didn’t double, however. He took the 5th Amendment when called to testify. So the Spindel home in upstate New York was raided by the police and Spindel led away in handcuffs. Meanwhile, his extensive library of recordings disappeared into government hands, never to be seen again. Spindel would become so famous that he once appeared on “What’s My Line?” He was murdered eventually, although I can’t find much information on his death.
Spindel’s widow, Barbara, believes the seized tapes included conversations between Marilyn and the Kennedy brothers that contained proof of Monroe’s secret affair with JFK. These tapes could have destroyed his political future. Who ordered the tapes, who knew about them and who had copies?
Shortly before he disappeared, Jimmy Hoffa indicated he had evidence that could have been used to destroy the Kennedys but he chose not to use it against them due to its “unseemly” nature. Obviously, he was talking about sexual exploits, but was he talking about the Marilyn tapes?
The Hoffa/Kennedy War got as nasty as it gets, and Marilyn seems to have been caught in the middle. Did she consent to allow her conversations to be taped (which would have made the wiretapes legal), something that would have infuriated the Kennedy brothers? Or did Spindel’s surveillance include RFK’s midnight intervention? Was Marilyn really threatening to reveal her affair with JFK to the press? I find this last speculation, although popular on the internet, hard to swallow. I’m sure Marilyn had more than one extramarital affair in her life. But when you read Arthur Miller’s accounts with his wife, you begin to understand Marilyn was probably bipolar, which meant she was subject to manic mood swings and had great difficulty sleeping. No one could depend on her keeping quiet and she apparently wasn’t.
Most online theories point to a mafia-related hit, although that always seemed somewhat dubious since the Sicilian Men of Honor do not typically kill civilians or women, although they seek vengeance when they feel it’s justified. But the biggest mafiosos in the country were very close friends with Marilyn and she was an important member of their Hollywood Union, supervised by Roselli. According to “Double Cross” by Chuck Giancana, the hit was actually put out by the CIA and accepted by Mooney Giancana, who wanted to implicate Robert Kennedy, so they killed Marilyn immediately after a visit from RFK and Greenson, who only gave her a mild sedative. After she was asleep, they broke into the house and administered a fatal enema. Needles Gianola was in charge of the hit squad. The reason for the hit? Marilyn was talking too much about the mob/CIA relationship and threatening to “tell all to the press.” I’m not sure I buy that version, and there’s a competing theory that Greenson was being blackmailed by someone in the Kennedy circle.
In 2009, an FBI document appeared, a report from some unnamed agent and none of this could ever be authenticated, but it stated RFK made a call to Peter Lawford asking, “Is she dead yet?” The report went on to state Monroe was murdered in retaliation to threats she had just made to reveal her JFK affair to the press. Someday, those Monroe/Kennedy tapes just might surface, in which case we might clear some of the mud from these waters and learn more of the true subtext behind the murder of one of the greatest movie stars in history. Marilyn’s inside knowledge of government and mafia affairs was considerable and eventually she may have become targeted as a threat to National Security, undoubtedly the same crime JFK died for a few years later.