Pat Newcomb was an attractive, golden-haired woman in her 20’s, and later 30’s, who became Marilyn’s secretary and press agent during two separate phases in Marilyn’s career. She began working for Marilyn sometime in the early – mid 1950s. The two had constant personality conflicts however and Newcomb left Marilyn in 1956 (the year Marilyn legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe). In 1960, Newcomb returned to work for Marilyn and remained with her until literally the last day of Marilyn’s life in 1962. Newcomb was filmed leaving Marilyn’s house after the body was removed from the home, looking composed. Two weeks later, Newcomb was photographed at Peter Lawford’s beach house, enjoying herself at a small party. JFK was present and in good spirits. It was as though Marilyn Monroe had never existed.
There were almost as many coincidences and ironies in Newcomb’s life as there were in Marilyn’s. Newcomb’s father, Carmen Adams Newcomb, represented big companies of the coal industry in Washington D.C, two of which were run by George Skakel. The latter was the father of Ethel Skakel, the future Mrs Robert Kennedy. In a creepy coincidence, George Skakel’s son, Michael Skakel, would murder his pretty, 12-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley, when he was 15. It wouldn’t be for 30 years that Skakel would finally be brought to justice. That Kennedy connection, you know.
Newcomb spent her childhood in Chevy Chase (Maryland), then settled with her parents in Los Angeles. She attended the Immaculate Heart School in Hollywood, then the Mills College for girls in Oakland where she graduated in psychology in 1952. On March 1, 1956, she was present for the agreement signed between Marilyn Monroe Productions and Warner Brothers. In March 1956 she went with Marilyn in Los Angeles and to deal with her press relations during the shooting of “Bus Stop,” (1956). However, relations between the two women deteriorated so much during the outdoor shooting, that Arthur Jacobs called Newcomb back to Los Angeles.
In November 1960, Rupert Allan, another press agent for Marilyn, also left Marilyn during the shooting of a film, this one being “The Misfits,” (1961). Arthur Jacobs suggested to replace him with Pat Newcomb, who returned to work with Marilyn again. Newcomb’s job wasn’t easy. Aside from her personal conflicts with her famous employer, her first mission was to deal with the consequences of the divorce between Marilyn and Arthur Miller. She accompanied Marilyn and her lawyer Aaron Frosch to Mexico City where the divorce was granted.
During the following18 months, Newcomb became an essential member of Marilyn’s circle, a friend as much as an employee. In May 1962, she went with her to Madison Square Gardens in New York City, where Marilyn sang for John Kennedy. In July 1962, Newcomb organized the final, famous series of interviews and photography sessions that Marilyn would ever have. Newcomb wanted to resurrect Marilyn’s ailing career after Fox dismissed her from the shooting of “Something’s Got to Give.”
Perhaps it was this flurry of press that made the execs at Fox reconsider their decision to fire their star, for soon after the interviews and photos were released to the world, Marilyn was rehired, and under a far more lucrative contract. Marilyn demanded $100,000.00 for the picture, and now they gave it to her, along with other demands, including the right not to attend the set when she was menstruating. This was still a paltry amount of money, consider Marilyn was one of their biggest box office names, and that her rival, Elizabeth Taylor, by comparison, made $1 million dollars per film. It was one of the many reasons why Marilyn loathed her long-time studio producers. In fact, The Last Interview, as it became known, was all about fame. Marilyn vented her frustration with 21st Century Fox to Richard Merryman, the reporter, for hours.
On the morning of Marilyn’s death, Marilyn and Newcomb fought over Newcomb’s long hours of sleep. Marilyn suffered from insomnia and Newcomb’s ability to sleep until noon annoyed her. Dr. Greenson arrived at Marilyn’s house and around 5:30 or 6:00 pm, he told Newcomb to leave, which she did. It was the last time the two women would see or speak to each other. About Marilyn’s death, Newcomb stated: “The lawyer, Mickey Rudin, woke me up at 4.00 AM. He told me that Marilyn was dead of an overdose. I rushed to Marilyn’s house. It had been written that I saw Marilyn’s body, but it’s not true. All the reporters were there, I was infuriated and I screamed, treating them as vultures. Then I came back home, not knowing anything more than anybody else about the way Marilyn died”.
During the two days following Marilyn’s death, Newcomb dealt with a myriad of phone calls from reporters around the world. Newcomb speculated, wrongly, that Marilyn died of an accidental overdose, and said so to the press. Immediately after Marilyn’s burial, Newcomb flew to Hyannis Port, the Kennedys property. Perhaps she felt sheltered there. Certainly, it wasn’t the most tactful move on Newcomb’s part.
Do I believe Newcomb was involved in a conspiracy to murder Marilyn? No. Do I believe Newcomb when she stated that she knew as much about Marilyn’s death as the public? Yes. Newcomb wasn’t present when Marilyn died and for that reason she was unable to offer any clarity on the matter to anyone. Whether or not she was saddened by her employer’s death is anyone’s guess.