Lena Pepitone, Marilyn’s maid for 6 years in New York City, has written an interesting account of Marilyn’s life entitled Marilyn Monroe Confidential (not so confidential anymore). There are people who dispute its validity; some claim Pepitone admitted to fabricating much of the book but I haven’t uncovered evidence to secure this claim. Pepitone made many curious observations about Marilyn during the years of her life that she spent with her glamorous employer.
Pepitone herself was a very attractive young woman. She appeared on a 1980s talk show when she was in her late 40s – early 50s and she was still beautiful. Pepitone discussed her experiences with Marilyn. In October 1957, when Pepitone arrived for her first day at Marilyn’s apartment, a housekeeper opened the door. She was a stern, elderly woman who looked distinctly uninviting. Occasionally she made nasty comments that made Marilyn cry. Suddenly a nude Marilyn appeared in the foyer. “Oops!” she giggled. “That’s okay, we’re all girls here,” Pepitone found herself saying. “Will you be able to help me?” Marilyn asked in a half-shaky voice, referring to her wardrobe. Pepitone assured Marilyn she would do her best. Pepitone recalled that Marilyn took her by the hand and walked her to her bedroom, staring hard at Pepitone and “I stared back just as hard.” She recalls that Marilyn wore no makeup and her skin was perfect and translucent. Pepitone would soon realize that Marilyn regularly walked around nude, “because she was beautiful.” So began a warm relationship between the maid and the movie star.
“First of all, Marilyn’s life was incredibly monotonous for her. Her doctor ‘s appointments (I later learned these were appointments with psychiatrists) and her acting lessons were virtually all she had to look forward to. She spent most of her time in her little bedroom,” Pepitone wrote. This was Marilyn’s New York experience. When she left New York and returned to Los Angeles to film Some Like it Hot, Marilyn’s life took a dramatically different turn. This was where she reunited with JFK, met Bobby Kennedy, was a frequent guest at the Lawfords, and ironically, flew back to New York to sing happy birthday to the President.
Pepitone discussed Marilyn’s isolation and loneliness. “Because Marilyn had no real friends, she concentrated on herself. You can go anywhere,” I [Lena] assured her. “Anywhere in the world” “Who with? she asked sadly. “Who with? By myself””Mr. Miller, your friends…” “What friends? I ain ‘t got nobody.” It is easy to verify that Marilyn told Pepitone she had no friends. She said she had “very few friends” in an interview. By very few friends I believe Marilyn meant none but was reluctant to say so. Why she didn’t count Jeanne Carmen and Peter Lawford among her friends is a mystery. On another occasion Marilyn was very down because she was the most beautiful woman in the world and she had no date on a Saturday night. “Who’s going to want me?” she asked. “Millions of men,” was Pepitone’s answer. “Yeah but who’s going to love me? Who?” Pepitone relayed an episode where she visited Marilyn at the Polyclinic Psychiatric Hospital. “I found Marilyn in a small room without any view. It was very depressing, especially since there were no flowers or any other signs that Marilyn had friends who were thinking of her.” Of course, Marilyn may not have made anyone aware of the fact that she in the psychiatric hospital: certainly not one of her best moments.
Pepitone recalled that Marilyn loved her lasagna and began eating it for lunch every day for several weeks while still married to Arthur Miller. When she was finished with her meal she shoved her plate beneath her sheets until Pepitone removed them. Then there came a night when she was expected to attend a premiere. By now Marilyn weighed 156 pounds, the most she would ever weigh in her life. Aghast at the weight she had put on, Marilyn didn’t know if she could wear anything in her closet. Her miserable housekeeper chided her meanly, “well that’s your fault for eating so much,” and Marilyn burst into tears. Personally I think 156 is peanuts for a woman as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe but that was a horror to Marilyn. Pepitone went to Marilyn’s closet and found a stunning silver gown with a matching cape. She told Marilyn “you’ll wear this and you’ll go to the premiere.” Pepitone claimed the extra weight made Marilyn look more luscious and more like a sex goddess than ever and a picture of Marilyn at the premiere proves Pepitone to be correct. Her hips and tummy were shaped with a girdle and she looked like a voluptuous mermaid.
Marilyn’s only real love was Joe DiMaggio. Pepitone revealed that Marilyn kept a large picture of him inside her closet. She spent hours staring at it and silently crying, tears streaming down her face. Once Marilyn asked a photographer if Yves Montand reminded him of Joe. When DiMaggio visited Marilyn for dinner in New York Pepitone waited until Marilyn left the room and asked DiMaggio if he would marry Marilyn again. “Joe wiped his mouth and shook his head. ‘Not unless Marilyn leaves Hollywood’, was his answer.” Yet in a self-contradictory statement Pepitone also stated that Marilyn told her “I really didn’t want to marry him. [In that picture] I’m really pushing him away.”
Pepitone believed that Marilyn’s death was an accident. She refused to believe that Marilyn deliberately killed herself. She also stated that Marilyn didn’t keep track of her pills. When she heard of Marilyn’s supposed suicide, Pepitone was devastated, like everyone else.
Still beautiful, Pepitone died of a heart attack at the age of 86.