On August 5, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in bed at her home in Brentwood, California. The actress was naked, face down, with phone in one hand and an empty box of sleeping pills next to her.
Marilyn Monroe’s death remains one of Hollywood’s biggest mysteries. They say that in that evening she was visited by her former lover Bobby Kennedy, that an ambulance took her alive from the house and brought her back dead. Many rumors circulated but after nearly 50 years, mystery hasn’t been solved yet.
Until now, the legendary American jazz musician, Buddy Greco, who once sat next to Frank Sinatra (him too a lover of Marilyn) and to Rat Pack, decided to talk about Marilyn’s last weekend.
The beautiful actress spent her last weekend on mafia estate, Cal-Neva, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Buddy Greco was there, along with other stars such as Sinatra, who invited Monroe, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Juliet Prowse (Sinatra’s fiancee) and the famous Mafia godfather Sam Giancana.
Monroe was then extremely depressed. She had just separated from Robert Kennedy after five months of their relationship. “She was fragile, very fragile – well, she’d gone.’ Many blamed the Kennedys.
‘Marilyn was distraught and heartbroken. She felt the Kennedys had handed her around like a piece of meat,” said Rupert Allan formerly one of her friends.
“When she arrived that Saturday, you’d never believe that she had a care in the world,’ recalls Buddy Greco. ‘I was sitting with Frank [Sinatra], Peter Lawford and a bunch of other people, outside Frank’s bungalow, when a limousine pulls up and this gorgeous woman in dark glasses steps out,” he says.
“She’s dressed all in green – everything green: coat, skirt and scarf. Before I realised who it was, I thought: “My God, what a beautiful woman. No taste in clothes, but what a beautiful woman!”
“I knew that she’d been to my concerts and shows. She was a regular at the Crescendo club in Hollywood where I often played.”
“It has been suggested that Sinatra invited Monroe to Cal-Neva Lodge to urge her to keep her mouth shut about her affairs with the Kennedy brothers”
“We’d said hello a few times, but were never properly introduced. When Frank introduced us, I said: “You won’t remember me, but I was the piano player when you auditioned for the Benny Goodman band in 1948.”
“She got emotional at that and hugged me. She had such warmth – and I was moved. Somebody took some wonderful shots of that moment, of us hugging.”
“The people in those pictures were among the great entertainers of our time – Marilyn, Frank, Dean Martin,” says Greco.
“It was an unrepeatable moment, a time that would never happen again. July 1962.”
But by the end of the first evening, a darker Monroe was beginning to emerge. Greco had finished his first performance in the hotel’s lounge and had joined Sinatra and the other guests at Sinatra’s regular table.
“It was a wonderful time, a magical weekend. It is so hard to describe now but it was maybe the best time of my life.”
“Then suddenly the room went silent and very still. It was surreal. As if somebody had turned the sound off. I looked at Frank. I could immediately tell he was furious. His eyes were like blue ice cubes.”
“He was looking at the doorway where Marilyn was stood, swaying ever so slightly.”
Given her history of chronic alcohol and drug abuse, it was an ominous sign. Indeed, Sinatra had fallen out with Monroe over her addictions before.
By the end of the evening, however, Buddy Greco says Marilyn turned into another person. “She was still in the same green outfit she’d worn all day,’ says Greco. ‘But the woman I’d met that afternoon – smart , funny, intelligent, fragile – had gone.
‘Now she looked drunk and, well, defiant. She was clearly angry and I think I heard her say: “Who the f*** are they all staring at?” , says Greco.
Sinatra got mad and put his bodyguard to go out on Marilyn, and he took her up. Frank Sinatra was always there for Monroe, but now he was already tired of her drunkenness and her drugs, says Greco.
Greco, worried about her condition, went out after her.
“I found her by the pool. There was nobody around. It was late and the pool was deserted.”
“Maybe it was the moon but she had a ghostly pallor. It still didn’t occur to me that she might be a woman not long for this world.”
“She was distressed, out of it, but that was all. Maybe her friends were used to seeing her like that but it worried me. Anyway, we talked.”
“I walked her back to her bungalow in the complex reserved for the guests of Frank and Giancana where we all stayed.”
“I thought that the next morning I could put her with Pat Lawford [the Kennedys' sister], who was her companion, and make sure she got back to L.A. safely.”
“But the next day when I called, she had already left. That was the last time I saw her.” So does he think that Sinatra had finally lost patience with Monroe and by abandoning her had left her to her fate?
“That’s a possible scenario,” Greco answered thoughtfully. “After she had created that problem, he certainly wanted her out of there. He could be quite firm with her.”
They say that Sinatra called her to Cal Neva to advise her to keep her mouth shut about her relationship with the Kennedy brothers. However, after she was being banished from the bar by one of her closest friends, Marilyn condition worsened, and after five days she was found dead.