Nixon, Monroe and Miller…
Los Angeles International Airport
Richard Nixon ~ Marilyn Monroe ~ Arthur Miller
The press corps were at Los Angeles International Airport to cover the departure of Vice President Richard Nixon. He was just warming up, preparing to give his standard “and I say to you…” rhetoric, cameras and lights were ready.
Marilyn Monroe and husband-playwright Arthur Miller walked in totally unexpected. They had just arrived from New York on a private plane. Monroe was always top news copy so I flipped my lights on her and she was ready. Other photographers followed my lead leaving Nixon without light or attention, standing dumbfounded on the sidelines watching Marilyn Monroe pose for the cameras. Miller looked on, appropriately grim. Miller had been a witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee of which Nixon was an active member during the early 50’s.
These pictures were made November 2, 1959. Three years later Monroe was dead, leaving behind a tarnished myth. Assignment editor, Ed Conklin, still feeling booze from the night before, received a tip on Marilyn’s death and got me out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to cover it. Only a few of us were on the scene: a handful of police, a photographer from the Santa Monica police beat; Jim Bacon of Associated Press and I were the only news media. A neighbor told us she saw Bobby Kennedy walking away down the driveway shortly before midnight.
Because of her involvement with the Kennedys, arch enemy and head of the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa had her place bugged. He had to have known who was there in her last hours. If Hoffa did have her bedroom bugged, he knew Bobby Kennedy was there. And why didn’t he use it? Twenty years later evidence gathered by researchers placed Bobby Kennedy in Los Angeles the day before she died, leaving by helicopter from Peter Lawford’s Santa Monica beach house that night to connect with a private plane for a flight back to San Francisco. But the story didn’t surface for twenty five years.
Monroe typifies countless pretty girls who populate Hollywood and possess no real acting ability. She was filled with insurmountable insecurity and just played vulnerable Norma Jean. Monroe could barely read a line. That, of course, was part of her charm.
I saw only melancholy in her eyes. The famous glamour star was really more to be pitied.