Journalist in Netflix Doc Thinks Robert F. Kennedy Was One of Last People to See Marilyn Monroe Alive

In the new Netflix doc, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, author Anthony Summers says he found evidence that RFK got into an explosive fight with the star on the day she died

Marilyn Monroe Netflix Doc
Marilyn Monroe. Photo: Netflix

Like much of her life, Marilyn Monroe's last day alive was complicated.

Fired in June 1962 from what would be her last, unfinished film, Something's Got to Give, because of her many absences (she was quickly rehired by studio heads who realized no one could replace the screen goddess), Monroe was laying the groundwork for new film projects.

Her personal life was another story.

That summer, the Hollywood icon was said to have been having trouble in her purported relationships with two of the most powerful men in the world at the time: President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney General.

Any dreams Monroe had for her personal and professional life came to a halt on Aug. 5, 1962, when she was found dead of an apparent overdose at age 36 in the sprawling Spanish-style home she'd bought in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles just a few months before.

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Usa. Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe Found Dead In Her Villa. August 10Th 1962 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Marilyn Monroe's body being taken out of her Brentwood, Calif. home in 1962. Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty

Now, nearly 60 years after her tragic and controversial death, exactly how she spent her final hours is explored in-depth by investigative journalist Anthony Summers in the Netflix documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, now available to stream on the platform.

Based on Summers' updated bestseller, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, the documentary features never-before-heard recordings from the 650 interviews the author conducted for the book.

For more on Netflix's documentary on Marilyn Monroe, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE on newsstands now.

During a party at the home of movie executive Arthur Krim, American actress Marilyn Monroe stands between Robert Kennedy (left) and John F. Kennedy, New York, New York, May 19, 1962. The party followed a democratic fundraiser at Madison Square Garden honoring John F. Kennedy's birthday where Monroe famously sang "Happy Birthday.' (Photo by Cecil Stoughton/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)
The only known picture of Marilyn Monroe with Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. Cecil Stoughton/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty

Much of Emma Cooper's film explores the actress's relationships with JFK and RFK.

The official word is that on Aug. 4, 1962, the Attorney General and his family were in Northern California staying at the home of family friend, attorney John Bates.

But several sources in the film claim RFK visited Monroe in the hours before she died.

RFK came to Monroe's house to end their affair, which set off an intense argument, according to several of Summers' sources — including some who were involved in a wiretap operation at her home.

"She was raising a stink," eavesdropping operative Reed Wilson can be heard telling Summers about a secret recording inside Monroe's house that day.

"[She] was calling [JFK] and the White House and complaining," says Wilson, whose identity is revealed for the first time in the updated 2022 edition of Goddess.

Summers cites a second wiretapping operative, Paris Theodore, who claimed he also listened to recordings from that final visit.

"Where is it? Where the f---is it?" is what Theodore tells Summers he heard on the tape, referring to what Summers believes may have been Monroe's diary.

What the Hairdresser Knew

What Wilson and Theodore tell Summers is corroborated by hairdresser-to-the-stars Sydney Guilaroff, says Summers.

While Guilaroff wouldn't say much about Monroe when Summers interviewed him, he wrote in his 1996 memoir, Crowning Glory, that she called him at 9:30 p.m. on the night she died, distraught over a fight she'd had with RFK.

RFK, Monroe told Guilaroff in one of her last phone calls, had been at her house earlier and had "threatened" her. "She knew a lot of secrets" about what had gone on in Washington, Guilaroff wrote. "Dangerous ones," she said, before hanging up.

Adding to the mystery were the findings of reporter and photographer Billy Woodfield, who investigated the star's death for the New York Herald Tribune.

B7TJ1C Something's Got to Give Something's Got to Give Year: 1962 USA Marilyn Monroe Director: George Cukor. Image shot 2003. Exact date unknown.
Marilyn Monroe's famous pool scene in the 1962 film, Something's Got to Give. Alamy

Woodfield told Summers he saw a helicopter pilot's flight log which showed a mysterious entry from Los Angeles back to San Francisco indicating RFK was flown out of Los Angeles that night.

"I saw an entry that said he took Kennedy to meet a flight en route to San Francisco" at approximately "two or three in the morning," Woodfield tells Summers.

"He had been at the beach house [Lawford's home in Santa Monica] that night," Woodfield tells Summers. "He had flown out…The message we got back was that Kennedy would appreciate it if we didn't do the story. We decided that we would not go with the story."

When the story did eventually come out, Bates told reporters that the Attorney General and his family were at his Northern California compound all weekend and had never left.

Will We Ever Know What Happened to Monroe?

The mystery has lasted to this day. When Summers interviewed Monroe's housekeeper Eunice Murray, whose accounts have been inconsistent over the years, she told him years later that RFK had visited the house on the day the star died.

"Oh sure," she can be heard telling Summers in her interview with him.

Then in a 1985 interview for the BBC, she revealed yet another twist. Says Summers, "At the end of the interview, it was an extraordinary moment. She just spread her hands and almost cried, 'Oh Mr. Summers, why do I have to go on covering up?'"

Summers concludes in the Netflix documentary: "I did find evidence that the circumstances of her death had been deliberately covered up.

"If you then say to me, 'Why were those circumstances covered up?' I would say that what the evidence suggests is that it was covered up because of her connection with the Kennedy brothers."

Though some believe Marilyn was murdered, Summers says otherwise.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock (12122036a) Portrait of American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) as she poses on the patio outside of her home, Hollywood, California, May 1953. Portrait Of Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood, California, USA
Marilyn Monroe. Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

"There is no good evidence that she was murdered," he tells PEOPLE.

"I think Marilyn Monroe was overwrought about her relationships with both President Kennedy and his brother Robert, felt rejected by both men, had a heated argument with Robert when he visited the house and then whether as a cry for help or intending to kill herself, swallowed too many pills."

Related Articles