The landmark book GODDESS: THE SECRET LIVES OF MARILYN MONROE by award winning investigative journalist ANTHONY SUMMERS has just been re-released as an ebook. Publisher: Open Road Publishing [ISBN-13: 9781453265857]
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Another witness had no doubt about the nature of MARILYN’S relationship with ROBERT KENNEDY: JEANNE CARMEN, Marilyn’s neighbor at the Doheny apartment in Los Angeles, said she remembered an astonishing episode, which probably occurred in the spring of 1962. ‘I was at Marilyn’s place one evening when the doorbell rang. She was in the tub, and she called to me to get it. I opened the door, and there was Bobby.’ Carmen said she recognized the Attorney General at once, but was completely nonplussed. So was Robert Kennedy. ‘He had that expression of not knowing whether to run, or walk, or stay,’ said Carmen. ‘I was stunned, and I kept saying, “Come in,” but went on standing in his way. Finally, I got out of the way, and Marilyn came flying out of the bathroom, and jumped into his arms … she kissed him openly, which was out of character for her…‘
That night, said Carmen, she shared a glass of wine with Marilyn and Robert Kennedy — in a somewhat awkward atmosphere — then left them alone. She said Marilyn had told her some time earlier that she had seen John Kennedy, but never said much about the elder brother.
There was another occasion, says Carmen, when John and Robert arrived together with a couple of companions, then left almost at once with Marilyn. There was, she said, one further encounter with Robert Kennedy. She discussed it with some reluctance, and understandably so. If true, it was a remarkable episode, with a bizarre background.
Carmen discovered early on Marilyn’s mischievous delight in nudity. They once went to the movies together, each of them naked under a mink coat. (Given Marilyn’s history of such antics, this seems plausible.) Carmen said they were both friends of comedian Jack Benny; Marilyn had known him since 1953, and witnesses confirm they were friends. Benny’s home number appears in Marilyn’s address book.
Benny, says Carmen, would accompany Marilyn and herself to a massage parlor on Sunset, where they would all have facials. Once, for a lark, and to tease Benny, the two women walked out of the building and “flashed” their mink coats open at Benny, who was waiting outside in the car. Both were naked under the coats.
Carmen says nudity became something of a running joke for the trio— she makes it clear there was no sexual aspect so far as Benny was concerned— and they occasionally ventured forth to a “nude beach.” In the early sixties there was a beach where nude swimming was permitted, well to the north of Santa Monica, near the present Pepperdine University. As a sort of mutual dare, Carmen says, Jack Benny and Marilyn would accompany her to this beach in disguise—Marilyn in her black wig, Benny in a false beard acquired specially for the purpose. It worked, nobody recognized them. The false beard remained lying around Marilyn’s apartment and—in 1962— that was how Robert Kennedy came into the story.
“The beard was lying there,” Carmen says, “when Bobby came to see Marilyn, and I think he asked us what it was for. We explained, and told him about the Benny thing, and he said, ‘You could recognize Benny if he had ten beards on.’ And Marilyn said, ‘Oh, no, you couldn’t. Nobody’d recognize you if we fixed you up.’ And she put the beard on him, I put sunglasses on him, and we put a hat on him like a baseball cap sort of thing. And he looked in the mirror and said something like ‘I could probably get away with this.’ And we said, ‘Okay, we dare you! Let’s go.’”
Carmen is aware her story sounds preposterous, but she says Robert Kennedy simply seemed unable to resist a dare. That, certainly, is in character. They went off to the nudist beach in Carmen’s convertible—Kennedy in his getup and Marilyn in her wig. It was late, she says, and not many people were around. “We walked up and down, and sat on a blanket we brought from the car,” Carmen recalls. “Once we got out there and found nobody cared. Here were two famous people that nobody recognized—we just sort of lounged around. On the way back, we really laughed a lot.”
Checks of her background, and her own voluminous file on her show business career, indicate that Carmen was what she says she was and had many of the friends she claims she had in that period, including PETER LAWFORD and FRANK SINATRA. She correctly named the landlady of the Doheny apartments at the relevant time, and was clearly familiar with the building when we visited it together in 1983. Marilyn did not give up the apartment at once when she moved to her new house in spring 1962.