Thursday Reviews: The Last Days Of Marilyn Monroe

The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe

Donald H. Wolfe

There are a lot of questions surrounding the death of Marilyn Monroe. Did she really overdose? Or was she murdered to keep her quiet about the Kennedys, the Mafia, or communists in Hollywood? Donald Wolfe suggests the latter.

I take Wolfe’s combination conspiracy scenario and biography with a grain of salt, mainly because it’s probably the first in-depth look I’ve read or viewed about MM’s death. Some of Wolfe’s assertions are known facts. However, he paints everyone around her – aside from the usual Hollywood suspects such as the Rat Packers and Clark Gable – as communists circling Marilyn for her relationships with Jack and Bobby Kennedy or as a series of men treating her as a trophy. I don’t discount it, but much of Wolfe’s assertions, including the identity of Marilyn’s murderer, require a considerable amount of corroboration.

But whether you take Wolfe’s tale of Marilyn as a Cold War casualty seriously or not, he does spin a compelling tale that includes Norma Jean Baker’s incredibly sad yet impressive life and spectacular death. While Wolfe clearly says she was murdered, he also demonstrates how her burn-out and descent into darkness at the end of her life might have overtaken any chance she would have had to take charge of her life and move on. Either way, her death was the loss of a major talent, one many people still underestimate.