Photo of the day: DEAD MARILYN ~ DAY OF THE DEAD – Day of the Dead / Dia de Meurtos is a fascinating holiday celebrated in Mexico October 31 and November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day (Halloween), Mexicans have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones. They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. I think this is wonderful. Elaborate altars are prepared with food and drink, skulls made of sugar, marigolds and lots of flowers, cigarettes for the departed and incredible folk art replicating and honoring their dear departed.
So on my annual trip to Tijuana, Mexico this August it was close enough for the approaching holiday that the Day of the Dead folk art abounded. Eagerly I shopped the markets – I saw dead Frida Kahlo of course, dead Elvis and my two treasures – dead Marilyn. Upon seeing them, my first reaction was with excitement. Second reaction with revulsion. Third reaction “I have to have them!” (Fourth reaction ‘Which do I choose?’) So here are my two hand made folk art Dead Marilyns (I’ve gotten used to them in my living room). Feliz Dia de los Muertos! .
PS – There was a short lived punk rock group called ‘Dead Marilyn’, I have the picture sleeve 45 tucked away somewhere.
Mondays on Memory Lane: MARILYN DEAD (murdered) August 5, 1962 – The glaring headline sent shock waves around the world, that the world’s most beloved blonde sex symbol had “committed suicide.” I can still remember that Friday summer’s morning in August, as a six year old boy was visiting his local grocery store with his grandmother, when suddenly a woman rushed into the store waving a newspaper over her head yelling something. The next thing I remember is the grocery store becoming absolutely silent. I didn’t understand at all what was going on, I had never witnessed anything like this. I remember I tugged on “Oma’s” skirt and asked her what had happened, I clearly recall her saying to me in a hushed tone “a beautiful woman has died.” We left in silence, the people around us were transfixed on the newspaper, many crying.
Today Marilyn would have been 87 years old, the same age as my mother. I wonder, what would she have been like? A woman’s libber? A dramatic actress? A recluse? We will never know. I choose to think she would be happy, having found love again with Joe DiMaggio (they were seeing each other again, seen walking hand in hand on the beach), outspoken, not face lifted and a beautiful graceful wise old woman. I wish that for her.
“How sad that the universal symbol of love and sex appeal died so alone.” No, she didn’t die alone – she was murdered, there were many people there that night. There is all the proof in the world that has conveniently been suppressed to keep the Kennedy’s reputation clean and clear. How intense that America’s ‘Camelot’ first family would be tied to the murder of the most famous woman of all time.
New York Daily News, August 5, 1962
Marilyn knew too much. She was seeing John F. Kennedy who had to end the affair for obvious reasons and passed her on to Bobby Kennedy. When Bobby wouldn’t return her calls anymore she made a pest of herself at the White House and the Kennedy household. How is it, that during the night she died, all of her phone records magically disappeared? No one has the power to do that – except the White House. Weeks before her murder, her house was broken into. What was stolen? Jewels? Furs? Her bra? Memorabilia? No – the infamous diary that she foolishly kept. Not wanting to be considered the dumb blonde, after her visits with the Kennedy’s and political figures, she would jot down notes of what she had overheard. She would study those notes so as to sound ‘intelligent’ at the next gathering. This was at the volatile time of the Cuban missile crisis which undoubtedly MM overheard details of. She simply was “a piece of meat” (Marilyn’s own words) who knew too much.
It is said she was depressed for being fired from her unfinished film “Something’s Got To Give” – not true, Dean Martin refused to continue filming unless MM was rehired, and she was. It is said she was loveless, as I said, she was seeing DiMaggio again. She was also living for the future, she had made plans to go furniture shopping in Mexico for her Spanish style home – a depressed person does not plan to buy furniture. She was known to be and said to be by her maid, Eunice Murray, a slob and would sleep rebelliously in dirty sheets for weeks and that the bed had not been made. Magically that night, new sheets appeared.
Anyone who knew her or had even seen her, saw and knew she couldn’t take pills without lots of water – there was no glass found in her room. How did she take all those pills?? The medication she is supposed to have overdosed with, leaves you dying cramped up, her body was found smooth. If she did take all the pills – where were they? The autopsy to this day shows only tea and toast in her stomach, that which her neighbor saw her eat. Her autopsy also, originally hundreds of pages long, mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with the greatly abbreviated version that exists today. The detective on the scene said he had never seen such a fishy fake set up as her bedroom death scene, but he never confessed this until shortly before he died.
So how did she die? Poisonous injection and suppository. MM wanted to get attention, having been rejected by both Kennedy’s. So, she had planned a press conference for that following Monday August 8th and was going to innocently leak some of the political scoop she had overheard, so as to get the brother’s attention. (Some old newspaper records still exist of the press conference she was to have had.) Oddly she was gone Friday night. Peter Lawford was sent with MM’s psychiatrist Ralph Greenson to quiet her up. The doctor knew exactly what drugs she had been prescribed and knew exactly what drugs would lethally interact with them. That drug was injected into her arm pits – one needle mark in each armpit is indicated in the autopsy report, her colon was discolored from the poison inserted into her.
Time has very conveniently been the best cover up of the most sensational murder of all time. People fearful of reprisal kept quiet, or confessed when it was too late. The afterlife must be one helluva an interesting place when all those guilty souls have to meet. Hundreds of books have been written about her, more so than any other woman in history. I own about 300 of those books and have read about half of them. It fascinates me endlessly! As a college student, I had to write a term paper on ‘a controversial subject’ – I chose her murder, which, at the time, was still very, very hush-hush and just rumored about. In 1969, there was only one book that existed about the subject, Fred Lawrence Guiles’s ”Norma Jean: The Life of Marilyn Monroe,” which was translated into 14 languages. It was followed by Bob Slatzer’s 1974 book “The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe”, I devoured them both and determinedly wrote my term paper for which I begrudgingly got an “A”.
Macy’s American Icon banner, summer 2013
To this day she remains the eternal blonde. The eternal symbol of American sex appeal. The eternal love goddess. The epitome of ‘blonde’. The eternal American success story, from orphanage to the goddess of Hollywood. What person today doesn’t recognize that luminous face? She will radiate eternally. RIP.
Hauntingly beautiful, Norma Jeane Baker windswept