Sunday, 22 August 2021 22:00

Collateral Damage: Mark Shaw’s Public Atrocity, Part 1

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Donald McGovern reviews Mark Shaw’s recent book Collateral Damage, largely about the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Kilgallen, and discovers that the author recklessly engaged in twisting the facts to suit his theories through the use of a fabricated friendship, peculiar and unreliable resources, discredited witnesses, and more in Part 1 of a two-part analysis.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has

data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit

theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

Sherlock Holmes

The preceding admonition by Sir Conan Doyle’s famous, fictional crime investigator expresses an important maxim: theories should be crafted to incorporate acquired facts. All too often, however, conspiracist authors in the Marilyn-Was-Murdered-World have violated and continue to violate Holmes’ maxim. In some cases, they have twisted the facts; and, in some cases, too often they have created facts to fit their preconceived conclusion about Marilyn’s death. And all too often, the conspiracist authors have engaged in false logic, which has been, and still is, often expressed by this fallacious proclamation: since Marilyn Monroe would never have committed suicide, she must have been murdered. Those authors ignore the fact that Marilyn attempted suicide four known times during her life; before proceeding to craft an illogical and often convoluted path to their foregone conclusion. In Mark Shaw’s recent publication, Collateral Damage, largely about the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Kilgallen, the author recklessly engaged in what Sherlock Holmes calls a capital mistake. Shaw does exactly what the detective admonished investigators to avoid.

I. A Fabricated Friendship

An important foundational premise posited by Shaw in Collateral Damage is that some type of lengthy and abiding friendship existed between the film star and the gossip columnist. Kilgallen’s friends, Shaw asserts, “included stars from stage and screen like Marilyn.” (p. 51) Yet, the author does not offer any tangible evidence to conclusively establish this putative friendship.

Sixty-eight pages following the preceding assertion, Shaw introduces a woman named Brenda DeJourdan, the daughter of Kilgallen’s deceased butler, James Clement. Evidently Shaw interviewed her; but the author’s source notes did not reveal anything about the interview or his source, a glaring but typical omission.

Brenda informed Shaw that Dorothy Kilgallen often hosted fabulous parties. Presumably following one of those many parties, Brenda’s father assisted Marilyn “to her car because she was intoxicated.” (p. 120) In Shaw’s opinion, that statement “cemented” that the two famous women were friends, certainly a quantum leap considering that Brenda’s testimony was not very specific. Was the referenced car Marilyn’s personal car or a rented limousine? And if not a limousine, why would Dorothy allow her intoxicated friend to drive on the streets of Manhattan? Certainly the gossip columnist would have instructed her butler to call or hail a taxi cab for her good friend. Furthermore, Brenda does not assert that she actually witnessed her father assisting the actress. Did the butler’s daughter simply recall a story that her father had related to her? A significant difference; and since we do not know the calendar date when this party occurred, judging Brenda’s statement becomes even more difficult. Then Shaw makes an interesting comment: Dorothy “would have had to approve” Marilyn’s party invitation. (p. 120) Why? If Dorothy and Marilyn were such great pals, why didn’t Dorothy just give her actress pal a jingle and invite her? At any rate, other than Brenda DeJourdan’s anecdotal testimony, thin at best, possibly even hearsay, Shaw does not offer any additional evidence pertaining to the purported friendship between the two famous women.

Oddly enough, Shaw himself actually undermines his friendship premise. He admitted that Dorothy occasionally fired “potshots” at Marilyn, “but usually in jest.” (p. 94) Shaw also notes: Dorothy once compared Marilyn’s appearance to “an unmade bed.” (p. 95) I’m not exactly sure how Shaw knew, or could even assert, that Dorothy fired her potshots at Marilyn simply for comic effect. He certainly could not have interviewed her. Still, it must be noted that Marilyn did not take insults of any type, particularly those regarding her appearance, lightly or in stride.

Then, remarkably enough, Shaw contradicts his assertion that Dorothy took potshots at Marilyn and declares: “Kilgallen always spoke highly of Marilyn.” (p. 422) Really? Then he quotes a 1955 Playboy interview with the writer, Truman Capote, during which Capote shared an anecdote involving Marilyn, a NYC saloon, and his friend Dorothy Kilgallen. Allegedly as Capote and Marilyn neared the saloon, he suggested that they duck inside and refresh themselves. “It’s full of advertising creeps,” Marilyn responded according to Capote. Then she added: “And that bitch Dorothy Kilgallen, she’s always in there getting bombed.” Even as Capote tried to defend his journalist friend, according to him, Marilyn commented that Dorothy had “written some bitchy stuff about me.” (p. 422) Shaw soft-pedals Marilyn’s comments, called them merely “misgivings” about Dorothy; but Marilyn’s comments do not sound like mere misgivings: they sounded like well-founded hostility. Therefore, in view of the preceding, what exactly are the facts about any relationship shared by Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Kilgallen?

Of course, since Dorothy was an important member of the press, Marilyn was obligated to associate with the gossip columnist; and she evidently did so, but only to a point. Dorothy often published unsubstantiated and false gossip about Marilyn, which the actress neither understood nor appreciated. Even Shaw notes that many press agents considered Dorothy to be “a ‘sucker’ for an unsubstantiated story about a personality and thus didn’t do her homework to confirm” a story’s validity before it appeared in her gossip column. (p. 127) That troubling fact leads me directly to Robert Slatzer.

Dorothy apparently knew Slatzer; and she mentioned him in one of her columns as a dark horse in the Marilyn Monroe romance derby. Slatzer, Dorothy asserted, was a generous soul who gave Marilyn books, her favorite gift. Unquestionably, Slatzer fed Dorothy that morsel of gossip. Additionally, during Dorothy’s vacation in 1952, Slatzer wrote her gossip column, which he proceeded to use as a forum to begin his literary fraud and construct his fantasy relationship and marriage to the famous actress.

Marilyn researcher and blogger, April VeVea, noted on her blog site, Unraveling the Slander of Marilyn Monroe, that Dorothy often displayed animosity toward Marilyn for no apparent reason. She frequently reported on Marilyn’s romances, alleging that the blonde actress was involved romantically with many men. Even so, the actress and gossip columnist evidently enjoyed a fair relationship until 1953, when Marilyn ceased giving Dorothy exclusives. It must be noted: Marilyn would immediately forsake persons who had spoken indiscreetly about her private life, persons who had criticized her, or persons who she felt had betrayed her. Such must have been the case with Miss Kilgallen and her gossip column. Certainly, then, after 1953, Marilyn considered Dorothy unworthy of her trust.

April VeVea also noted: Dorothy Kilgallen and Walter Winchell were the only two journalists who did not receive an invitation to the 1955 event during which Marilyn announced the formation of Marilyn Monroe Productions. Marilyn biographer, Donald Spoto, also noted: “Every Manhattan columnist and every reporter of any status was present except Dorothy Kilgallen and Walter Winchell, both of whom had been excluded by Milton [Greene] because of their general hostility toward Marilyn” (Kindle Edition: Ch.14); and finally, Dorothy did not receive an invitation to attend Marilyn’s funeral while Walter Winchell did: he was Joe DiMaggio’s friend.

In an email communication with me regarding the Marilyn–Dorothy friendship alleged by Shaw, Marilyn biographer, Gary Vitacco-Robles, noted that he was “only aware of DK attending the event to promote” the romantic comedy, Let’s Make Love, released in September of 1960. Extant photographs depict Marilyn, her costar, Yves Montand, and Arthur Miller with Dorothy Kilgallen. But an unbiased and forthright analysis of those photographs will lead to this conclusion: while Marilyn and Dorothy were together during that publicity event, they were not being friendly. In fact, Marilyn appeared to be completely disinterested in Dorothy’s presence, as the photographs below reveal.

Gary also commented: “I wouldn’t consider them good friends. As a member of the press, MM had no choice but to cooperate with DK. There is no known personal correspondence between them.” Gary offered to search Marilyn’s address books for Dorothy’s name. But even Shaw admitted that the journalist’s name did not appear therein, an important omission that Shaw does not explain. Being absent from Marilyn’s books of important names, addresses, and telephone numbers meant that she did not consider the missing person an important part of her life. Worse still, she did not consider the missing person a friend.

Did Marilyn know Dorothy Kilgallen? Of course. But were they good friends or even friends at all? No evidence exists that would lead a reasonable person to conclude they were even friends, much less good friends. In fact, the actual evidence suggests just the contrary: Marilyn and Dorothy were not friends.

II. Peculiar and Unreliable Sources

When considering any literary effort pertaining to Marilyn Monroe, it is important to consider the author’s sources. More often than not, it is equally as important to consider the sources of the author’s sources, in other words if it is a secondary source, where did the author get the info? This is a near impossibility regarding Collateral Damage due to the author’s paucity of information about his sources. At any rate, Mark Shaw relied on an odd group of peculiar and unreliable sources.

During his opening “Author’s Note,” Shaw declared the following purpose relative to Marilyn Monroe: “most people look at the movie star with a stereotypical perception that she was a sexpot who became a star only because of that appeal instead of her being what she really was: an accomplished actress and a very caring and intelligent human being, as will be presented here;” a laudable purpose. (p. 9) Yet, nineteen pages later, Shaw calls upon a woman named Cara Williams as a source and for insights regarding Marilyn Monroe’s persona.

Evidently Shaw interviewed Cara, then 94 years old, during May of 2020. According to Shaw according to Cara, she worked briefly with Marilyn during the 1940s while both women were employed by Fox. Therefore, Cara’s association with Marilyn must have occurred between late 1946 and late 1947, at the beginning of Marilyn’s movie career. With that fact established, consider the information Cara shared with Shaw.

Cara and Marilyn infrequently shared the mirror in what one assumes was Fox’s community make-up room. Marilyn constantly practiced making various expressions during those beautification sessions, according to Cara. She concluded that Marilyn wanted “to see what particular face would look best in the film she was working on,” certainly an odd conclusion. (p. 29) During her initial tenure with Fox, Marilyn appeared on-screen in only two films: for 4 seconds during Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! and for 56 seconds in Dangerous Years. Neither film required her to perform any unusual or abnormal expressions, at least not expressions for which she would need to rehearse. Also, Cara announced, Marilyn simply could not act. Why? The blonde was just too concerned with her self-image, meaning, I assume, her appearance. Should we conclude, then, that Cara was not concerned with her appearance?

Evidently, Cara was acutely aware of Marilyn’s reputation and condemned her promiscuous behavior. Cara knew that Marilyn “slept around with this executive and that,” meaning, of course, that the movie star simply fornicated her way to the top. (p. 29) Just how she actually knew about Marilyn’s bed hopping, neither Cara nor Shaw explains. Cara also informed Shaw that she, like Marilyn, had posed for the photographer Tom Kelley; but she did not pose in just her skin. She would never have done such a thing. And finally, even though Marilyn was always nice to Shaw’s source she was not interested in being Marilyn’s friend. Obviously, Cara Williams did not like Marilyn Monroe.

The opinions offered by Cara Williams clearly undermined Shaw’s expressed purpose: to present Marilyn as more than just a sexpot, but to present her as an accomplished actress who reached the top on her talent; to present her as a woman of intelligence and humanity. Cara’s opinions pertaining to Marilyn did not provide Shaw’s readers with an insight into Marilyn’s life or her death. In fact, Cara’s opinions did not provide evidence of anything.

Jane Russell, Marilyn’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes co-star, appears as one of Shaw’s sources at approximately the midpoint of his book. Unlike Cara Williams, at least Jane had some feelings for Marilyn and often referred to the blonde movie star as her little sister. According to his source notes, Shaw did not interview Jane. Instead, he relied on quotations from a biography written by Edwin P. Hoyt, Marilyn: The Tragic Venus, published in 1965; quotations which Shaw does not properly source, a common occurrence for him. According to Shaw, Jane informed Hoyt that her co-star “was always sweet and friendly [with] the stagehands and the crew” along with also being “a thoughtful person, a searching person.” (p. 388) Shaw then referenced a 2007 Daily Mail article in which Jane expressed her opinion regarding Marilyn’s death: her friend did not commit suicide, so sayeth Jane. “Someone did it for her,” Jane opined in the article. “There were dirty tricks somewhere.” Wendy Leigh, the interviewer and the article’s author, asked Jane if she believed that the middle Kennedy brothers were involved in Marilyn’s death, meaning, of course, her murder. Jane nodded her head in agreement. Certainly Jane Russell was entitled to her opinion, but that is all it was: her opinion. Then Jane Russell the actress suddenly became Jane Russell the expert mind reader; she informed Wendy Leigh: “Soon after Marilyn died I met Bobby Kennedy, and he looked at me as if to say, ‘I am your enemy.’” Unquestionably, Jane’s assessment of Robert Kennedy’s expression, or what she assumed was a glaring threat, was likely colored by her opinion and belief that he was involved in Marilyn’s death; and since Jane’s anecdote starring Robert Kennedy cannot be confirmed, her assessment of how the attorney general looked at her was merely her biased opinion. Like Cara Williams, Jane Russell’s opinions did not provide evidence of anything, except Jane’s prejudice.

But Shaw is not finished in this suspect vein. He offers a woman named Janet Peters, the daughter of Marlowe C. Hodge, the real estate agent who allegedly sold Marilyn’s hacienda after her death. The name Marlowe Hodge does not appear anywhere in the Marilyn canon. Some quick research uncovered an obituary for Marlowe C. Hodge dated July 14, 1996, published by Desert News, Salt Lake City, Utah, a Mormon newspaper. The obituary noted that Mr. Hodge’s daughter, Janet Peters, survived him. The obit’s biographical information mentioned that Hodge was the president of Hodge Sheet Metal, “a company which was involved with many heating and air conditioning and fascia projects in the greater Los Angeles area.” Evidently, he was also the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Association of America’s president; and he often delivered speeches “in his usual articulate manner in many cities at conventions.” If the late Mr. Hodge was a real-estate agent, his obituary did not so state. I suppose the referenced death notice could have been for another Marlowe Hodge with a daughter named Janet Peters, but that probability seems minuscule.

But according to Janet Peters, her father related a story to her involving Eunice Murray. “My dad came home one day and told me,” Ms. Peters informed Shaw, “I just sold Marilyn Monroe’s house.” Evidently, Mr. Hodge encountered Eunice Murray who told him “Marilyn was murdered, said it was the Kennedys, Bobby Kennedy, not a suicide at all.” (p. 481) Mr. Hodge revealed that Mrs. Murray was adamant about Marilyn’s murder, meaning what exactly? Odd how Shaw, on one page of his publication could accuse Eunice Murray of complicity in concealing the facts about Marilyn’s death, accuse her of being a liar, and then on another page offer testimony pertaining to her opinion about Marilyn’s murder at the hands of the evil Kennedys. Shaw admitted that Janet Peters’ testimony was “secondhand,” a weakness that he simply ignored, and announced that her statements and her recollections appeared to be “genuine.” Surely, as a lawyer, Shaw realized that the statement by Janet Peters was gross double hearsay, possibly even grosser triple hearsay, and despite her genuineness, offered no evidentiary value at all.

Before I leave Mr. Hodge and his daughter behind, I would be remiss if I did not note the following: the sale of Marilyn’s home became embroiled in court due to multiple offers to purchase the house. By that time, Eunice Murray was no longer involved. Designated by the probate court, Inez Melson took over the sale of Marilyn’s hacienda and the liquidation of Marilyn’s possessions. The home would not be sold until September of 1963. Also, Gary Vitacco-Robles informed me that Mrs. Murray only returned to the hacienda on one occasion: with Marilyn’s sister, Berniece, and Inez Melson to select a burial dress for Marilyn. Shaw appears not to have done his homework on this.

III. Mark Shaw Meets Mario Puzo

Gianni Russo portrayed Carlo Rizzi in the 1972 movie, The Godfather. He reprised his portrayal in the movie’s 1974 sequel. Thereafter, Russo appeared in twenty-five movies, most of which were either critical or financial failures. Still, his appearance in the two Godfather movies, considering his lack of any acting experience or formal training, afforded Russo a certain amount of fame; however, three decades plus would arrive and depart before Russo appeared on the Howard Stern Show, during which he imparted an amazing story: one that involved the former thespian, famous mobsters and the world’s most famous actress, Marilyn Monroe. In Collateral Damage, Mark Shaw presented Russo as a reliable source and a man that his readers should believe. As the reader will see, this is amazing.

Tracing the development of Russo’s yarn in the ever accommodating media has been humorous, but also informative. The edges of his MM narrative changed constantly over the years, not unlike the edges of an amoeba.

In 2006, for example, Russo announced on the Howard Stern Show that Marilyn was in her 20s when he first encountered her and their affair began. Shall we engage in some simple arithmetic? When Russo was born, Norma Jeane was 17. On June 1, 1946, Norma turned twenty. At that time, Russo was two-years-old, still in diapers no doubt and pulling on a pacifier. A decade later, Marilyn started her thirties on June 1,1956, and she attended the premiere of The Seven Year Itch in Manhattan with Joe DiMaggio. At that time, Russo was a twelve-year-old boy. So, at the age of 12, he was taking on Joe D? Would Mario Puzo even write that? There’s more. For the entertainment website FactsVerse, Russo declared that his affair with Marilyn actually began when he was 16 and she was 23. Marilyn was 23 in 1949. Russo must have become an extremely advanced six-year-old in December of that year. But this is obvious: neither Norma Jeane nor Marilyn Monroe had an affair with Gianni Russo while they navigated through their twenties and most certainly not when Russo was six years old.

The former pizza clerk and brick mason must have realized his errors or a friend advised him that he appeared and sounded foolish. So, in 2019, he began to alter his story. In March of 2019, he told The Sun that his Marilyn affair really began when he was 15 years old and she was 33. But then, in a 2020 article published by the website IrishCentral, he revised his age upward to 16. But he left Marilyn’s age at 33. At least the arithmetic worked in Russo’s favor.

During an interview, Russo reported to Mark Shaw that he first encountered Marilyn “one day in 1959” when he was working as a shampoo boy for the hairstylist Marc Sinclaire. One of his “lovely customers,” who he had yet to recognize, “began moaning as he messaged her head. She thanked him for ‘being good at this,’” before, as he said, “It hit me. I was shampooing Marilyn Monroe.” (p. 160) Shaw can believe Russo’s ridiculous anecdote; but speaking for myself, I do not believe for one minute that he was allowed to shampoo the hair of the world’s most famous actress without being told her identity beforehand; or that he did not immediately recognized her, particularly since Some Like It Hot had been released with considerable fanfare in mid-March of that year. (For more information about Gianni Russo’s incredible tale, read the sidebar: Did Mark Shaw Reveal Everything About Gianni Russo?)

Sidebar: Did Mark Shaw Reveal Everything About Gianni Russo?

In 1972, following The Godfather’s release, and its resultant acclaim, Gianni Russo began to receive some media attention. Donna Morel, a California attorney and incredible researcher, provided me with two newspaper articles about the unknown and inexperienced actor. What the articles revealed is both curious and puzzling.

According to a Thursday, March 23, 1972, Akron Beacon Journal newspaper article, written by Jerry Parker, Russo reported that he spent most of his adolescence, his teenage years, working long hours, both during the work week and on weekends, behind a Staten Island pizza counter. Parker then added: “At 18, by his own account, he was a $10-an-hour bricklayer.” Since Russo was born December 12, 1943, he must have stacking bricks in late 1961. Please note: Russo never mentioned his relationship with Marilyn Monroe to Jerry Parker. Why?

In another 1972 newspaper article written by Margo Coleman, featured in both the Oil City, PA, Derrick, on Friday, December 22nd, and the St. Cloud Daily Times on Wednesday, December 27th, Russo asserted that his air-conditioning company had won the contracts to install $9M worth of air-conditioning in the new MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. Evidently, the newspaper fact-checked Russo and learned that those contracts “had been let to a Dallas Firm called Continental Mechanical which, alas, has never heard of Russo.” Similarly, Russo mentioned his olive oil company and Russo Pasta Products, both of which, he announced, had been purchased, evidently from a man named Vincenzo La Rosa. However, Miss Coleman humorously noted: “This will no doubt come as a surprise to Mr. V. La Rosa and his sons who are unaware of having sold their pasta company to Russo—or anyone else.” Please note again: Russo never mentioned his relationship with Marilyn to Margo Coleman, either. Why?

To close the loop on Russo’s pasta company, according to my research, V. La Rosa and Sons Macaroni Company began operating in Brooklyn in 1914. Evidently, the American Italian Pasta Company (AIPC) eventually acquired La Rosa’s macaroni operation. Then, in 2010, Ralcorp Holdings acquired AIPC followed by ConAgra Food’s acquisition of Ralcorp in 2013. All of the preceding companies are now a part of the multinational corporation, Tree House Foods.

Continuing with the balderdash, Russo has asserted that his affair with Marilyn actually began while he was working in Manhattan as a shampoo boy for the hairstylist Marc Sinclaire. The year was 1959. Considering what Russo told the Akron Beacon’s Jerry Parker in 1972, the fifteen-year-old must have toiled all those long hours behind the pizzeria’s counter in Staten Island and then headed to Manhattan and his hair washing gig. Marilyn Monroe, he alleged, was a regular customer who appreciated his hair washing skills. At any rate, Russo asserted that Marilyn “summoned” him to the “Waldorf Astoria hotel” for a “private shampooing” during September of 1959, approximately three months before his 16th birthday. That slice of baloney created yet another problem for Russo: his assertion about Marilyn’s residence did not intersect with reality.

After Marilyn left the Greene’s Connecticut farmhouse in early 1955, she moved into Manhattan’s Gladstone Hotel; but she soon relocated into a more elegant one-bedroom suite in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. That suite proved to be too expensive for Marilyn Monroe Productions; so, in late 1955, Marilyn relocated her residence again: she moved into a five-room apartment at 2 Sutton Place South. Additionally, after she married Arthur Miller in June of 1956, the newlyweds purchased a luxury apartment located at 444 East 57th Street. She maintained that apartment even after she and Miller separated in 1959 and then divorced. Obviously, then, in 1959 Marilyn did not summon Gianni Russo unto her for a private shampoo at her Waldorf-Astoria residence: she was not living there.

Certainly Mark Shaw’s source, while being imbued with braggadocio, also has a real aversion about facts. Shaw did not tell his readers the full truth about Gianni Russo, because he never fact-checked his own source.

During his February 2005 appearance on Howard Stern’s program, and in various Internet articles, Russo asserted that his sexual cavorting with Marilyn lasted for only a weekend. But evidently, a brief cavort with her was not sensational enough. So, he began to report that the relationship lasted off and on for four years. If Marilyn was 33 years old when the affair began, she must have been 37 when the four-year affair ended. Not possible, of course: Marilyn died at the age of 36.

Additionally, Russo reported to Mark Shaw that Marilyn was “as beautiful as ever at age 33.” (p. 161) Similarly, in various articles and interviews, Russo reported that the movie star was a great lover—the best, he often asserted: she simply wanted to please her partner. But then, during a 2020 Howard Stern interview on October the 6th, Russo told the vulgar shock jock that Marilyn was not really a good lover because “she was like a baby.” He also reported to Stern that Marilyn was in her mid-20s during their affair and did not have a great body: she was slightly fat. He also told Stern during that interview: “I was with her for three days.” Wait a minute: I thought the affair with his slightly fat, rotten lover lasted four years. Like most inveterate fabulists who frequently create anecdotes from the whole cloth of their imaginations, he simply could not keep his fabrications aligned. As I have already demonstrated, Gianni Russo was still a youngster when Marilyn was in her mid-20s. Besides, any man who alleged that Marilyn in her mid-20s was unattractive is—well, pick any pejorative you like.

Like the inveterate fabulist Robert Slatzer, Russo claims a photograph proved his purported relationship with Marilyn. In the photographic panel displayed below, on the left is the aging, former actor seated beside his cropped photograph; and on the right is the actual photograph which includes another unidentified man also looking sideways at Marilyn. Russo has invariably asserted the following about that photograph:

  1. The shirtless man facing away from the camera, looking sideways at Marilyn, is him.
  2. Mafia don Sam Giancana snapped the photograph.
  3. Giancana took the photograph at Cal-Neva Lodge in July of 1962 during Marilyn’s purported Weekend from Hell, the now infamous weekend of July 28th.

In July of 1962, Russo was 18 years old and he would not leave his teenage years until mid-December of 1963. By his own admission, at age 18, Russo was building masonry walls in the Greater New York Area. So, how could he also have been in California cavorting with a ganglord and the world’s most famous actress? Besides, the man in the photograph appears to be older than eighteen, possibly in his mid to late twenties, and his face cannot be seen. Plainly, then, the man in the photograph could be almost any man, and the photographer could have been anybody; but the real problem with that snapshot follows the photograph.

After the publication of Russo’s book by St. Martin’s Press in 2019, lawyer Donna Morel began to investigate Russo, specifically, his sensational revelations about Marilyn Monroe, his alleged relationship with the actress, and his assertions about her death. Donna uncovered two newspaper articles that she provided to me along with a press release pertaining to a series of photographs that had been taken at Cal-Neva Lodge that infamous July weekend; and the press release appeared to contradict several of Russo’s assertions. After diligent hunting and research, Donna located an individual who was a guest at the Cal-Neva Lodge the weekend of July the 28th in 1962 and was also married to one of the entertainers who performed briefly at the lodge that weekend. The source Donna located, now past the age of 85, requested anonymity; therefore, hereafter I will refer to that individual as the Married Guest.

Donna attempted to get in contact with this witness and, eventually, in May of 2019, Donna received a telephone call and a story about Russo’s photograph that completely contradicted the yarn spun by the Hollywood Godfather. Recently, Donna graciously provided me with the Married Guest’s telephone number. On Tuesday, August the 10th, 2021, at 10:00 AM, I engaged Donna’s source in a 90- minute conversation. The story I received confirmed what Donna had already reported to me. The individual to whom Donna and I spoke took the photograph, not Sam Giancana, who, according to the actual photographer, was not even at Cal-Neva that weekend. The Married Guest admitted to knowing the ganglord well and humorously commented: “Sam Giancana never took a photograph of anybody in his entire life!”

As you have probably already assumed, the man in the photograph was most certainly not Gianni Russo; the man was an employee, a roadie who worked for an entertainer who performed that July weekend. Unfortunately, the Married Guest could not recall the roadie’s name, but commented that he was a nice man, not boy. Furthermore, when I asked if Robert Kennedy was at Cal-Neva that weekend, I received laughter and a firm “absolutely not.” To my question about the presence of mobsters other than Sam Giancana, I received a precise answer: “There were no mobsters there.” To my question regarding the alleged yarns about all the bad things that happened to Marilyn Monroe that weekend, the Married Guest replied: “Nothing bad happened to Marilyn. It was a big party and everybody enjoyed themselves, including Marilyn.” According to the Married Guest, the blonde movie star “was a very funny gal, but she did get drunk one night.” Before we ended our dialogue, my conversational partner expressed dismay and amazement with Gianni Russo’s stories. Truly, everyone who listens to Russo talk should be dismayed and amazed, a statement that will become even clearer as we proceed. I also hasten to denote this: two reliable sources who were also guests at the Cal-Neva Lodge that weekend, Betsy Hammes and the actor Alex D’Arcy, told Donald Spoto virtually 30 years ago that Giancana and his gang were not there. Their testimony has been completely ignored, not only by Mark Shaw, but the entire risible Marilyn-Was-Murdered-World.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive, Sir Walter Scott admonished.

IV. Marilyn’s Weekend from Hell

That infamous July weekend has a singular significance in Russo’s wild yarn. Marilyn was there, according to Russo, because the Mob wanted to capture photographs of her in a wanton threesome with the middle Kennedy brothers. Those photographs could then be used as leverage against the Kennedy Administration, primarily the attorney general, and force the politicians to cease antagonizing organized crime and associated mobsters. The preceding scenario is nothing new. The alleged Weekend from Hell has been written about and debated for decades and the written accounts have been filled with inconsistencies and contradictions. What Russo alleged and reported to Mark Shaw simply adhered to that pattern.

Gianni Russo’s account of that weekend, as reported by Shaw, has a surrealistic flair. After Marilyn learned of plans to film her in a threesome with John and Bobby Kennedy, she became extremely angry. According to Shaw according to Russo, Marilyn “lit into Bobby right in front of me and anyone else within earshot” and Russo also claimed that he “actually heard ‘Marilyn screaming’ from her cabin,” a noteworthy first: not even one of the many conspiracist writers who alleged that Marilyn endured a horrific weekend ever alleged that Marilyn was in her cabin screaming. (p. 163) The commonly accepted scenario describes Marilyn as a woman completely gone, knocked out, so drunk and drugged that she could barely walk. Likewise, not even one of the conspiracist writers alleged that the Attorney General of the Unites States was in Tahoe that weekend or that the President of the United States was scheduled to also be there, but like a coward, failed to show. With that in mind, ponder the following facts:

President Kennedy’s itinerary for that weekend proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, and to a mathematical certainty, that he was never scheduled to make an appearance at the Cal-Neva Lodge.

Friday, July 27th, was a busy day for President Kennedy. He engaged in two policy meetings and four meetings with foreign diplomats, not including the luncheon he hosted honoring the Prime Minister of Laos.

After meeting with James Loeb, the American Ambassador to Peru, he left DC for Hyannisport and a relatively festive weekend. On Saturday the 28th, he celebrated the First Lady’s 33rd birthday while sailing near Hyannisport. Then, on Sunday the 29th, the president and the First Lady attended mass at St. Xavier Church, followed by a cruise to Egg Island accompanied by several friends. On Monday the 30th, the president returned to DC.

Keep in mind that Russo stated unequivocally: Robert Kennedy was at the Cal-Neva Lodge that July weekend. Russo insinuated that the attorney general arrived on Friday, July the 27th. With that in mind, ponder the following facts:

On the evening of July 26th in Los Angeles, the attorney general delivered a speech to the National Insurance Association, during which he spoke primarily about civil rights and equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race. I have a Department of Justice transcript of his speech. A photographer, Charles Williams, took the photograph, displayed below. Standing to Robert Kennedy’s right, shaking his hand, was a judge named Jefferson, while the president of the NIA, Theodore A. Jones, stood to Robert Kennedy’s left.

During the day following his speech, Friday, July 27th, Robert Kennedy returned to Washington; and then on Saturday, the 28th, he joined the president and Jacqueline for her 33rd birthday celebration. The Boston Globe reported on that festive event in the newspaper’s Sunday edition: “Among those present,” wrote Frank Falacci, “were Attorney General and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy.”

To end this recitation of Robert Kennedy’s itinerary, he was in Washington on Monday, July 30th, where he spoke to a large group of educators to open the President’s Council on Youth Fitness. “Energetic Atty. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy gave a pep talk on the importance of physical fitness yesterday,” reported a Port Chester New York newspaper, The Daily Item, in its July 31st edition.

From this established record, Robert Kennedy was not with Marilyn Monroe at Cal-Neva Lodge at any time during the weekend of July 28th, as absurdly stated by Gianni Russo. For a man of his ilk to assert as much, along with all the other rubbish he has uttered, borders on felonious behavior. But then, he maintains that is exactly what he was—a criminal, and a murdering criminal at that, along with many other illegal enterprises which Shaw ignores.

Finally, Gianni Russo has tendered an opinion regarding Marilyn’s death. He has stated that he knows how she was murdered and who murdered her; but I will discuss that piece of Russo prattle when I discuss Mark Shaw’s hypothetical scenario regarding Marilyn’s death.

V. The Discredited Cop

Sgt. Jack Clemmons was the first police officer to arrive at Fifth Helena Drive on Sunday, August 5th. Remarkably, Sgt. Clemmons was a friend of Marilyn’s first husband, Jimmie Dougherty. As an aside, it is actually a misnomer to label Dougherty Marilyn’s husband: he married Norma Jeane when she was barely sixteen years old; they divorced when she was twenty. Dougherty often testified that he never met and did not know Marilyn Monroe; but on the morning of August 5th, after Clemmons left Fifth Helena Drive, he telephoned Dougherty and broke the news of Marilyn’s death, which he called, at that time, a suicide.

Mark Shaw evokes Sgt. Clemmons as a source a few times in Collateral Damage. The sergeant initially appears on page 157 as Jimmie Dougherty’s friend. Then, many pages later, Shaw noted Sgt. Clemmons’ concern with the time that elapsed before the police were notified after the discovery of Marilyn’s body, “some four to five hours,” Shaw incorrectly asserts. Then Shaw offers a Clemmons direct quotation, evidently lifted from one of his  many interviews now available on YouTube: “Someone can’t swallow that many barbiturates without throwing up,” Clemmons evidently said, “therefore she could have gotten drugs in her body by another method.” According to Shaw, Sgt. Clemmons suspected that Marilyn had, in fact, vomited, but all traces of it “may been cleaned up before he arrived;” the sergeant also concluded that the murder weapon was possibly a suppository or an enema. (p. 329) Shaw also mentions that Sgt. Clemmons observed “additional empty containers of pills and “scattered capsules and pills of another nature,” meaning obviously that capsules and pills had been dropped either in Marilyn’s bed or on the white carpeted floor, something I had neither read nor heard before. (p. 592)

Eventually, Shaw recites Sgt. Clemmons’ story that he observed Eunice Murray operating a washing machine and clothes dryer close to dawn; obviously destroying evidence of vomit or another bodily discharge which could have proved Marilyn was murdered. In fact, Marilyn did not own a washing machine or a clothes dryer. She used a laundry service; but as with Gianni Russo, Shaw did not allow that fact to encumber him or his speculations about Marilyn’s bodily discharges, the evidence Eunice Murray hypothetically destroyed.

Within the text of Murder Orthodoxies, this author devoted many words to Sgt. Jack Clemmons and his tales to many conspiracist authors from Robert Slatzer to Anthony Summers to Donald Wolfe, who became a close friend of Clemmons. I also traced the testimony the sergeant offered during his interviews during the many television documentaries he appeared in until his death in 1998.

For 36 years, Sgt. Clemmons declared that Marilyn Monroe did not commit suicide: she was murdered by an injection administered directly into her heart by psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson, which is a scientific impossibility, proven by Dr. Noguchi’s autopsy and Dr. Abernathy’s toxicological tests. But evidently—and like many in the MM trade—the once LAPD cop repeated the heart injection fantasy so often that he actually grew to believe it happened, when, in fact, it didn’t.

Clemmons’ testimony was often inconsistent and contradictory; and his recollections of August 5th, what he was told by those present and what he saw, changed over the passing years. He even began to assert that Marilyn’s house and her bedroom, even her bed and her bedside table, were exceptionally tidy, and appeared to have been cleaned with all things neatly arranged. One look at the police photographs taken that August morning clearly indicated otherwise. Remember, according to Mark Shaw, the sergeant also allegedly saw pills and capsules scattered here and there.

Sgt. Clemmons’ career as a policeman came to a dishonorable end in 1965, due to his involvement with Frank Capell and the Thomas Kuchel libel incident. Like Frank Capell, Jack Clemmons evidently did not have a problem twisting the facts. If you want to read more about Sgt. Clemmons, here is a direct link to Murder Orthodoxies, August the 5th in 1962. Follow the links at the bottom of that page to subsections featuring the first officer at the scene of Marilyn’s death.

VI. Another Shaw Witness: Capell

Frank Capell was, quite literally, a professional anti-communist. He hated anybody who promoted or even sympathized with the Communist philosophy. Capell considered the Kennedy clan to be commies. So he hated the entire clan just on general principles, but he specifically hated Robert Kennedy. Once the former attorney general announced that he would seek a New York senate seat, the anti-communist crusader knew that RFK would use that senate seat, if elected, as a catapult to the presidency.  This had to be prevented. Enlisting the assistance of LAPD sergeant Jack Clemmons, and New York City media personality Walter Winchell, Capell wrote and published The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe, a scurrilous political hit piece aimed at stopping the most dangerous American Commie of them all. After using the unbridled fabulist, Gianni Russo, as a significant source, and Clemmons as another, Mark Shaw uses Frank Capell as his most significant.

Within the text of Murder Orthodoxies, I devoted a complete subsection and many words to Frank Capell, his anti-RFK diatribe, and the false imputations therein; so, I am not going to repeat all of those words here. I hope you will follow this direct link and read Some Anti-Kennedy, Anti-Communists. I would be remiss, however, if I did not note a few important considerations.

Frank Capell and his associates, among them Maurice Reis, the originator of the MM/RFK affair yarn, were the first aggregation to link Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy in an affair. They were also the first to insinuate a motive to RFK: he had recanted on a promise to leave his wife Ethel and marry the actress. That broken promise prompted Marilyn to threaten public exposure of her affair with the young Kennedy as a form of retribution. Robert Kennedy could not allow that to happen. Besides, as Capell noted, Communists simply eliminated persons who had become threats by using murders disguised as suicides, heart attacks, and accidental deaths. Is that what happened to Marilyn Monroe? “Was Marilyn about to do some talking,” he wondered rhetorically, while asserting that Communists have no aversion to murder. (Capell, p. 57) Despite his proclamations, Capell’s political diatribe did not present any tangible or verifiable evidence to support that Bobby Kennedy was even romantically involved with Marilyn, much less enmeshed in her death. He offered only opinion and cleverly worded insinuations.

Capell denounced the investigation of Marilyn’s death and her autopsy. He considered it to be hopelessly flawed, incompetent, and incomplete. Marilyn’s autopsy findings, according to Capell, did not reveal barbiturates in her organs, only the tested sample of her blood, which is a false statement. He also asserted that the toxicology reports did not mention chloral hydrate, which, according to the newspapers, had been found in Marilyn’s blood. But the Red hunter failed to mention an August 13th amendment, which indicated chloral hydrate in Marilyn's blood and pentobarbital in her liver.

Since Marilyn’s stomach was empty at autopsy, Capell asserted that the drugs must have entered her body via an injection. Once again, he failed to note an important detail: the concentration of pentobarbital in Marilyn’s liver was three times higher than the concentration in her blood, completely consistent with a large ingested overdose. With an injection, or a hot shot, that relationship would have been precisely reversed. But then, Capell often engaged in cherry picking, as indicated by his flawed analysis of the toxicology reports.

Surprisingly—or perhaps not—Mark Shaw presents Frank Capell as a diligent investigator, one who searched for facts leading to truth, when no characterization could be further distant from who Capell really was. For instance, Capell noted that the AG often stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel when he visited Los Angeles; “and one of his visits is an interesting one,” Capell proclaimed.  This was referring to Robert Kennedy’s visit to Los Angeles on July 26th and 27th in 1962. Capell presented a copy of an itemized accounting of the hotel’s charges to Kennedy’s room. Capell accusingly revealed that the attorney general had the charges billed to the National Insurance Association, obviously a deep and dark secret, and that his “inquiry disclosed that the “National Insurance Association […] was originally known as the National Negro Association, made up of some individuals who have connections with small negro insurance companies in the South.” (Capell, p. 57) As I have already noted herein, the attorney general delivered a speech to that business association on the night of July 26th and then returned to Washington on the 27th. Obviously Capell was not as diligent an investigator as Shaw alleged. For, he did not even investigate the purpose for Robert Kennedy’s visit to Los Angeles during those two days. If he did, he did not disclose that information. Capell’s only purpose was to toss vague imputations at the National Insurance Association and Robert Kennedy.

You might be wondering how Mark Shaw presented the accounting of hotel charges. Shaw noted that the accounting proved that Robert Kennedy was in Los Angeles on the 26th and 27th and “would have permitted him two days within which to have spent time with Marilyn,” a completely false statement. (p. 483) According to FBI file 77–51387–284, pertaining to Robert Kennedy’s arrival in Los Angeles on the 26th, his airplane arrived late. At 11:15 PM, his airplane had yet to land. The FBI file did not denote the precise moment of Robert Kennedy’s touchdown, but it is clear he did not deliver his speech until quite late Thursday or quite early on Friday.  Then on Friday the 27th, he would have spent at least eight hours, five and one-half of which would have been in the air, returning to Washington, DC, assuming he had booked a non-stop, coast-to-coast flight. Obviously, Shaw’s assertion about the amount of time Robert Kennedy could have spent with Marilyn was a gross exaggeration. As an aside, you might be wondering: why was the FBI concerned about the attorney general’s flight? FBI file 77–51387–287 indicated that his life had been threatened that day via an anonymous telephone call; and earlier on July the 17th, a similar anonymous telephone threat announced that “Kennedy’s going to die.” The FBI had reason to be concerned.

VII. Shaw’s False Mystery

Capell published a copy of an invoice from Arthur P. Jacobs Company, Inc., pictured above, dated July 31, 1962, which noted the cost of three telegrams the company had sent on Marilyn’s behalf, one to Steve Allen and another to Phil Silvers, both sent on June 11th. On June 13th, the Jacobs Company dispatched a telegram to Robert Kennedy and his wife, Ethel. “Stories made the rounds,” Capell noted, “that Bobby Kennedy interceded with 20th Century Fox on Marilyn’s behalf when she was dropped, since she sent a personal telegram to him at McLean, Virginia, as soon as her contract had been canceled by 20th Century Fox.” (Capell, p. 57)

Evidently, Capell did not employ his keen investigative skills to discover why Marilyn sent a personal telegram to the attorney general; and likewise, he did not attempt to discover the text of the telegram. Mark Shaw merely lifted this receipt directly from Frank Capell’s 1964 pamphlet and included a copy of it in Collateral Damage.

Shaw then noted that Capell had secured the document from Marilyn’s accountant, Arthur P. Jacobs. By his own admission, the entire situation mystified Shaw. But more importantly he noted: “The substance of the telegram is unknown and why Marilyn would have sent it to both of them [Bobby and Ethel Kennedy] is unknown but if Ethel became aware of the telegram, it may have caused her to question Bobby about his relationship with the movie star.” (Shaw, p. 483) The innuendo in the preceding statement is exceptional: Shaw implied that Ethel did not know about the telegram even though it must have been delivered to the Kennedy’s home in McLean, Virginia. But, crucially, his assertion that the text of the telegram, and Marilyn’s motivation for sending it, remains a mystery was, and is, utterly false, which means Shaw’s analysis of the mystifying situation is acutely problematic.

  1. Marilyn had been struggling with Fox since her odd dismissal for appearing at the president’s birthday celebration and the Democratic Party fund raiser at Madison Square Garden earlier, in May of 1962. After Darryl Zanuck re-assumed management control of Fox, he instructed those involved in Marilyn’s odd dismissal to solve their problems with her immediately. As a result of Zanuck’s directive, Marilyn became heavily involved with the negotiations, in order to obtain concessions from the studio. Ultimately, she won those concessions and Fox reinstated her, but at the time of her death, the revised contracts remained unsigned.

  2. Shaw incorrectly identified Arthur P. Jacobs as Marilyn’s accountant. He and his company were Marilyn’s press agency. Patricia Newcomb worked for Jacobs. Jacobs eventually became a movie producer. His production company, APJAC Productions, produced Planet of the Apes and all franchise sequels.

  3. The content of the telegram that Marilyn sent to both Robert and Ethel Kennedy has been known for many years. Even Anthony Summers, back in 1985, published the text of that message and included an actual copy of the telegram. What follows is Marilyn’s witty and humorous expression of regret.

    Dear Attorney General and Mrs. Kennedy:

    I would have been delighted to have accepted your invitation honoring Pat and Peter Lawford. Unfortunately, I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. After all, all we demanded was our right to twinkle.

    Marilyn Monroe

  4. While Donald Spoto reported that Peter and Pat Lawford tendered the invitation to attend the party honoring them, Gary Vitacco-Robles reported that the invitation actually originated with Ethel Kennedy. “Ethel Kennedy’s invitation,” Gary asserted, “disputes the allegations of an affair between her husband and Marilyn.” John Seigenthaler reported that Ethel constantly teased her husband, because he had danced the twist with Marilyn during a Lawford dinner party, an event that will resurface later. But regarding the party that Marilyn could not attend, over 300 attendees joined the Kennedys to honor the Lawfords. According to Gary, the celebration ended in a fun-filled pool party, during which many guests either jumped or were pushed into the pool fully clothed, including Ethel Kennedy. Gary noted: “Time magazine described it as a ‘Big Splash in Hickory Hill,’ and U.S. News and World Report announced, ‘Fun in the New Frontier: Who Fell, Who Was Pushed.’” (Kindle V2 Ch. 27)

  5. If Marilyn and Robert Kennedy had been involved in an affair, Marilyn would not have received that invitation, not from anyone. That should have been apparent to Shaw. Certainly, the AG would not have wanted his wife and mistress in the same location at any time; and most certainly, if Ethel knew of or even just suspected an affair, as insinuated by Shaw, she would not have wanted Marilyn anywhere near her or her husband. Also, I must comment: I am sure Robert Kennedy got a chuckle from Marilyn Monroe’s comparison of her struggles with 20th Century Fox to a minority protesting and fighting for his or her rights.

Capell secured a copy of an Affidavit of Creditor from Agnes Flanagan, one of Marilyn’s many hairstylists, and Shaw references that affidavit. Curiously, Shaw reproduced a portion of Ms. Flanagan’s affidavit in his book on page 482. Although Shaw failed to mention Whitey Snyder, Marilyn’s personal makeup artist, he also submitted an Affidavit of Creditor. With an enlargement of the June 26th hairstyling charges form Agnes Flanagan appended at the bottom, those affidavits are pictured below.

Shaw noted: “of special importance is that the charges for Marilyn’s ‘Hairstyling’ for ‘Dinner Party Peter Lawfords Home’ is for Ms. Flanagan’s assistance on July 26 […].” That date, Shaw asserted, coincided with the date of Robert Kennedy’s arrival in Los Angeles and his stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel. As I noted earlier, while Robert Kennedy delivered a speech in Los Angeles on July 26th, his airplane arrived late, sometime after 11:15 PM. Also, as I noted earlier, Shaw published only a portion of the Flanagan affidavit, but Shaw obviously was not being attentive or maybe his heated ardor to convict Robert Kennedy of Marilyn’s murder adversely affected his eyesight. The affidavit from Ms. Flanagan did not reference any hair styling charges for July 26th. Her affidavit included charges for a June 26th Lawford dinner party. An affidavit provided by Whitey Snyder, Marilyn’s personal makeup artist, also included charges for that date and dinner party. Clearly noted at the bottom of each affidavit are the words: BILL FOR HAIRSTYLING FOR JUNE 26 DINNER. That Lawford dinner party in late June was the last time Marilyn and Robert Kennedy actually met. I suppose it is possible that Mark Shaw simply made an honest error and misread the affidavit. But considering the many other errors and misstatements in Shaw’s publication, I have doubts that are more than reasonable.

According to Shaw, Capell was an investigator who constantly searched for the facts and the truth. But Frank Capell and his minions did not have any qualms at all about twisting and creating facts to suit their personal agendas, regardless of who they slandered. And any author who presents Capell as a reliable, primary source about any topic, but particularly Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy, exposes himself to serious doubts and serious questions. (For more information about Capell’s dishonesty, read the Sidebar: Frank Capell’s Dishonesty Mark Shaw Ignored.)

Sidebar: Frank Capell’s Dishonesty Mark Shaw Ignored

Like Sgt Jack Clemmons, Frank Capell’s career came to an ignominious end in 1965. Capell, along with the LAPD sergeant, a former LAPD motorcycle COP, Norman Krause, and an industrialist, John Fergus, engaged in a criminal conspiracy to libel Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel. Briefly, Senator Kuchel supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and allied himself with Robert Kennedy to ensure that the legislation, instigated by President John Kennedy, became law. But in Frank Capell’s world, that civil rights act represented Communism on the march, a march that had to be stopped. Capell, Sgt. Clemmons and Fergus convinced former policeman Krause to sign a false affidavit which declared that an intoxicated Senator Kuchel and another man, also intoxicated, had been arrested by Krause in 1949 for driving under the influence of alcohol—and also for committing a homosexual act in said automobile. They hoped the resultant controversy and public’s outrage over Senator Kuchel’s behavior would end in his removal from public office.

As noted in the FBI files regarding the smear campaign against Thomas Kuchel, an unnamed but currently employed officer of the LAPD—more than likely Sgt. Jack Clemmons, then still an LAPD sergeant—provided to several interested parties, a group which undoubtedly included Fergus and Capell, some damning information about Senator Kuchel. The information was obtained from unidentified sources within the Los Angeles Police Department. This damning information prompted those interested parties to investigate the senator’s reported arrest which led to the discovery of former police officer Norman Krause, who had retired from the LAPD in 1950 and joined the construction industry. It is clear from additional information in the FBI files, along with contemporaneous newspaper articles, that Fergus, Clemmons, and Capell, who the conspirators represented to Norman Krause as a congressional investigator and implied that he was a federal agent, a violation of federal statutes, essentially enticed Krause to sign the affidavit, which said that Senator Thomas Kuchel was the man Krause had arrested in 1949, fifteen years hence. After obtaining the signed affidavit from Krause, Fergus distributed at least one-hundred copies of it to government officials on the East Coast and also delivered a copy to Senator Kuchel’s office. On October 21st in 1964, Senator Kuchel contacted the FBI and requested a thorough investigation by that bureau and the Los Angeles Police Department. Those investigations followed soon thereafter.

The conspiracy ended unceremoniously for the conspirators. After three weeks of testimony from 43 witnesses, on February 17, 1965, a Grand Jury indicted the four men involved and charged them with a felonious “conspiracy to commit criminal libel” and a felonious attempt to smear Senator Kuchel in order to “affect his moral reputation.” However, the four men agreed to plead either guilty or no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges and also agreed to publicly apologize to the senator. As part of that plea deal, the Los Angeles District Attorney dropped the charges against Sgt. Clemmons, who had been encouraged to resign from the Los Angeles Police Department prior to the grand jury’s indictment. A Superior Court Judge fined Capell $500 and placed him on probation for three years. Although the Thomas Kuchel incident ended Capell’s unethical and dishonorable career, he managed to publish his anti-RFK diatribe as the summer of 1964 neared its end.

In Collateral Damage, Mark Shaw praised Frank Capell and the latter’s “acumen for pursuing the truth” while also noting that Capell’s “reputation” had been “batted about by those associated with the Kennedy family.” (p. 484) Actually, Capell’s reputation had been batted about for years prior to 1964 and those persons included Thomas Kuchel and the LA Times.

It is remarkable indeed that Shaw could proclaim Capell’s truthfulness when the latter’s history of lies and distortions, his actual reputation and his involvement in the Thomas Kuchel incident, indicated otherwise. Capell and his reputation deserved to be batted about, to be questioned. Even Anthony Summers admitted that Capell, along with his pamphlet, were rendered suspect and worthless by poisoned politics, poison and politics that Mark Shaw simply ignored; and we are left to shake our heads incredulously.

Capell offered a surrealistic confirmation of Shaw’s foregone and erroneous conclusion: that Robert Kennedy caused the murder of Marilyn Monroe in order to silence her. That was Shaw’s only interest in Capell. Shaw followed in Capell’s footsteps. And even though the actual facts were readily available to Shaw, and Capell, neither man was interested in finding or revealing them or revealing the truth. So Shaw engaged in the same type of character assassination and calumny by innuendo as Frank Capell. Sad, in a way, that Mark Shaw would, for all intents and purposes, assume the mantle of a man as dishonest as Frank Capell simply to smear a decent man who was assassinated 53 years ago. Under very suspicious circumstances.

Sources like Brenda DeJourdan, Cara Williams, Jane Russell and Janet Peters only offered opinions and beliefs and speculations. None of those sources offered any evidence whatsoever. Gianni Russo’s stories have been so inconsistent, contradictory, and obviously false, that he cannot be taken seriously as a reliable witness to anything involving Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy. It is clear that Russo’s only purpose has been to garner for himself an additional fifteen minutes of fame, which Shaw obliges the fabulist and braggart. Sgt. Jack Clemmons and Frank Capell were poisoned many decades ago by hatred and malignant politics.  Each man has been proven to be untrustworthy. Citing them as sources in the 21st year of the 21st Century has not altered their lack of character, has not rehabilitated those prevaricators and libelists, and, even though Shaw’s use of those sources is difficult to understand, he revealed his remarkable reason for doing so, which will appear later.

Read Part 2

Last modified on Friday, 03 September 2021 17:30
Donald McGovern

Don McGovern is a retired architect who lives in Memphis, TN. He is an enormous Marilyn Monroe fan and the author of the bookMurder Orthodoxies: A Non-Conspiracist’s View of Marilyn Monroe’s Death, a comparative analysis of the many books written about Marilyn’s alleged murder. Even though he has written a book about her and read one-hundred and twenty-two books about Marilyn’s life, he has other interests as well: guitar, drums and old movies.

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