Judy and I — the memoir Luft left unfinished before his death in 2005, and excerpted in this week’s PEOPLE — reveals new details about their poignant friendship, and the shocking revelation that Monroe had once asked Garland for help before she died from an accidental drug overdose in 1962.
According to Luft, Monroe’s death was “especially troubling to Judy since Marilyn had been one of Judy’s telephone pals during her years of insomnia.”
The book also includes an excerpt from an article written by Garland about Monroe for Ladies Home Journal in 1967, in which she revealed a haunting conversation she’d once had with the star.
In the article, Garland described a Hollywood party one evening in which Monroe followed her “from room to room.”
“I don’t want to get too far away from you,” she said. “I’m scared!”
I told her, “We’re all scared. I’m scared, too!”
“If we could just talk,” she said, “I know you’d understand.”
I said, “Maybe I would. If you’re scared, call me and come on over. We’ll talk about it.”
They never did.
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As Garland wrote: “That beautiful girl was frightened of aloneness — the same thing I’d been been afraid of. Like me, she was just trying to do her job — garnish some delightful whipped cream onto some people’s lives, but Marilyn and I never got a chance to talk. I had to leave for England and I never saw that sweet, dear girl again. I wish I had been able to talk to her the night she died.”
“I don’t think Marilyn really meant to harm herself,” Garland continued, in an eerie foreshadowing of her own death from an accidental drug overdose in 1969.
“It was partly because she had too many pills available, then was deserted by her friends. You shouldn’t be told you’re completely irresponsible and be left alone with too much medication. It’s too easy to forget. You take a couple of sleeping pills and you wake up in 20 minutes and forget you’ve taken them. So you take a couple more, and the next thing you know you’ve taken too many.”
Luft’s memoir also describes how Monroe would visit their home and play with their young children, Lorna and Joey Luft.
“She’d sit by the fire, not talking much, a quiet presence,” Luft writes. “Marilyn was sweet and very unhappy. She’d chat with Judy and play with the children, hang out. She was separated from one of her husbands [whom Luft doesn’t name] whom she complained was a nice person but said didn’t know how to make love to a woman. She’d hoped this pattern would change when they married. She was frustrated and disappointed.”
Now 61, their son Joey Luft, has sweet memories of Monroe, whom he remembers would sport jeans and eyeglasses for her casual visits.
“She kind of looked like a really pretty schoolteacher,” Joey recalls to PEOPLE. “That’s what I was thinking to myself. ‘This can’t be like one of the huge sex symbols!’ My sister had just explained to me who she was before she walked in. My dad and mom were talking to her about movies and things and directors and people. I couldn’t figure it out. She came over the second time and she did the same thing and she only stayed for about 20 to 25 minutes. The next day or following day, I turn on the TV and I see Marilyn Monroe singing to President Kennedy, ‘Happy Birthday.’ I put it together. I thought, ‘Oh, that’s right!’ Now I get it.”