The Red Diary
So much has been written about the supposed red diary yet no one has ever produced it. Even the released FBI files haven’t revealed whether the diary has been found and if so where it is stored. It is unlikely Marilyn had any serious writings in the book. The Kennedy brothers weren’t fools. They weren’t going to reveal government secrets to an unstable woman, especially one in the habit of using barbiturates. Jeanne Carmen, Marilyn’s good friend, suggested the diary revealed the Kennedys’ innermost feelings but I doubt it. It’s much more likely that the diary revealed Marilyn’s innermost feelings, the reason for keeping a diary. Whatever Marilyn recorded in the notorious little book doesn’t seem to have caused any problems in the history of the Kennedys of the mafia. I don’t believe the mob killed Marilyn Monroe over a red book.
It’s much more likely that Marilyn wrote about her feelings for JFK and possibly for Robert Kennedy, although the latter probably didn’t have a sexual affair with Marilyn. Jack sent Bobby to “clean up” his mess with Marilyn. There was no way Bobby was going to place himself in the same situation, especially in light of the struggle Jack faced in ending their relationship. The phone call to Jackie Kennedy had been the last straw in the Marilyn-Jack relationship: Jackie warned him to end it or they would finally divorce. That Jack did, cutting off the telephone number he’d given Marilyn to the White House. Marilyn admired Bobby from afar but he wasn’t fool enough to have a tryst with her. The last thing he needed was for his wife Ethel to also receive a call from Marilyn Monroe.
However so-called documentaries insist on dramatizing the red diary as if it held crucial secrets about the Kennedys and the government. Too much emphasis is placed on the silly book, as if Bobby and Jack Kennedy faced ruin from its contents. At the worst if Marilyn threatened to release the book to the press, the Kennedy’s would offer her a bribe in exchange for the book. Failing that, they would send someone to the house when Marilyn wasn’t present to find the book. Professionals wouldn’t take long to find it. In fact if the house was bugged they would have found those too. In the previously linked video, It’s more likely that Bobby referred to audiotapes Marilyn may have lied and said she made of her and Jack, or perhaps herself and Bobby. Had that been the case I could understand the Attorney General’s frustration. However his anger with Marilyn would have intimidated her enough to make her give him whatever it was he wanted. He might have played on her affection for himself or Jack Kennedy, if indeed there was anything of value to be found in Marilyn’s house. The tapes have been discussed yet again they have never been released and no one in the public has heard them. Myself, I am of the mind that without evidence, there is never proof of any rumour. People enjoy rumours. It creates mystery. It causes scandal. It is the reason why cheap magazines such as The National Enquirer and The Star sell so many copies.
However a number of people who knew Marilyn insisted over the years that there was indeed a red diary. Robert Slatzer claimed she let him read it while they sat together on Laguna Beach, south of Los Angeles. He claimed Marilyn had written Bobby Kennedy was going to “kill Fidel Castro” (ridiculous) and that everything “she wrote began with Bobby told me...” (10:36). This is quite plausible. A starry-eyed Marilyn probably reiterated verbatim everything Kennedy said from his views on the current national unemployment rate to the colour of his socks. He may well have spoken of Castro but my feeling is he explained patiently to Marilyn why Castro was a threat to the United States, and how it was that he was a poor leader for his people. Kennedy would have expressed a loathing for the man, but I don’t believe he went so far as to tell Marilyn that he wanted to assassinate Castro.
Deborah Gould, Lawford’s ex-wife, claimed Marilyn told her she had been passed around between the two men and she was distraught. She was going to reveal to the press everything the Kennedys had done to her and to reveal the political secrets they had told her. She also stated that the night before she died, Marilyn contacted Lawford to tell him it would be “best for everyone if she died, she was going to kill herself.” Gould continued, Lawford’s response was to “quit the nonsense, Marilyn. Pull yourself together but my God whatever you do, don’t leave any notes behind.” Lawford denied this conversation but years later “he did state he was consumed with guilt that he hadn’t immediately gone to her aid.” One reason he didn’t was that a dinner guest talked him out of it, telling Lawford if anything was happening at Marilyn’s house he would also be implicated. Anyone would feel as Lawford did, especially since he had no way of knowing Marilyn was indeed suicidal. Most likely Marilyn had threatened to kill herself on numerous prior occasions. She had a long history of suicide attempts and there were probably many occasions where she threatened to kill herself then made no attempt. I don’t believe Lawford’s actions reveal guilt or a cover-up about Marilyn’s death.
Let us allow Marilyn to answer the question about the red diary herself. Sometimes when things just happened I used to write it down….but then I used to tear it up.That information is very accurate. The book Fragments by Marilyn Monroe, published in 2011, (a great read, btw) is a collection of her thoughts and observations of her life and poetry. Key in her writings is her self-deprecatory comments about her acting ability. There is no mention of the Kennedy brothers, the mafia or anything controversial. I should imagine actually living these experiences would be more intriguing than writing about them.
There are several and they are edited chronologically in Fragments. The first writing is a type-written letter, very legible by a 17-year-old heartbroken Norma Jeane who is waiting vainly for her husband, Jim Dougherty, to return from his mistress’ house. It is 4 pages long and details her betrayal and loneliness. The many other writings have been edited only to make them more legible for the reader; the content isn’t changed.A significant example of the content reveals her lack of confidence about her acting prowess. It mentions nothing of the Kennedys or the mafia.She may have written her feelings and thoughts about significant people in her life but I do not believe she wrote “government secrets”, or threats about exposing the Kennedy brothers to the press. Marilyn believed she loved JFK. Causing his career irreparable damage makes little sense had she truly wanted him to marry her.
Most likely Marilyn’s diary focused on the person every diary writer focuses on: herself.