GODDESS: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers

GODDESS: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A book of sordid, sensational, and ultimately sad revelations. While no principle witness steps forward, the author does freshly substantiate that Monroe was involved with both John and Robert Kennedy. His conclusion is that Monroe was not murdered, but that indeed there was a cover-up following her death by overdose August 4, 1962, to prevent disclosure of her intimate, and possibly ruinous, connection to the Kennedy White House. Summers, an investigative reporter, also uncovers a mother lode of material on the whole of Monroe's life. A new portrait emerges of Joe DiMaggio as a jealous, possessive man who slapped Monroe around and hired henchmen to break into an apartment where she was meeting another man following the breakdown of their marriage. Neither does Monroe's sex-goddess image emerge from these pages intact. Summers reports she was not above sexually servicing an elderly, ailing, and extremely important member of the movie industry to further her career. Her extreme exhibitionism meant that not only did she not wear panties, but sometimes appeared before company nude. She was a user of both drugs and people. Unfortunately, she dropped only the people, when they were of no further use to her career, from her life. In substantiating Monroe's sexual involvement with the Kennedys, the closest Summers comes to getting an insider's account is in interviews with two of the ex-wives of Peter Lawford, who was also married to a Kennedy sister throughout the pertinent years. Both women recall in startling detail the affairs that they say Lawford confided in drunken moments. Summers' exhaustive investigation--he interviews Monroe's friends, neighbors, the police, private detectives, even ambulance drivers--reveals that Robert Kennedy may well have seen Monroe on the day of her death, and that possibly she died in the hospital. Her body, according to Summers' theory, was spirited back to her home as part of the cover-up. Oddly enough, though, it is Eli Wallach's description of Monroe's ability to metamorphose into Marilyn at will--""I just felt like being Marilyn for a moment,"" she would murmur when she instantaneously transformed herself while walking down a street--that stands out in this morass of shocking detail. It is fascinating in the extreme that a woman who so lost control of her person as to become a threat to the presidency could, up until the end, maintain such control over her persona.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1985
Publisher: Macmillan