Monday, August 5, 2013


August 5, 2013


Brentwood, California (JFK+50) Actress and singer Marilyn Monroe* was found dead in the bedroom of her apartment here in Brentwood 51 years ago today, August 5, 1962. 

Miss Monroe's body was found by her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson**, who was called to the home by Monroe's housekeeper, Eunice Murray, who had been unable to open the locked bedroom door.

   Former Home of Marilyn Monroe
       Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA
           Photo by JGKlein (1992)

Dr. Greenson, who had left Monroe's apartment at 5 p.m after a session for treating her depression, was called by Ms. Murray at 3 a.m.  He arrived in 45 minutes.  

Five days later, the death, occurring between 9:30 and 11:30 p.m., was ruled a "probable suicide" from a drug overdose by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.

Thomas C. Reeves writes...

"The events surrounding and including the actress's death have been painstakingly probed...and...some of the evidence remains controversial."

                      Marilyn Monroe
                  Studio Publicity Still
                     "Niagara" (1952)

And Reeves adds that JFK and Marilyn had an affair "some time in the 1950s" and "saw each other on several occasions during the Thousand Days."

The time best known publicly when the President and Marilyn were together was when Miss Monroe sang 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President'  at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962.

Marilyn, dressed in a skin-tight, flesh-colored, rhinestone studded dress, sang in a sultry, sexy voice.

The show's director called JFK after rehearsal concerned that Marilyn's style of singing would be too steamy.  The President told him to let her perform it the way she wanted.

The 15,000 invited guests were left aghast by Marilyn's performance, not to mention her attire.

After Marilyn sang, President Kennedy came to the podium and said:

"I can now retire from politics after having had 'Happy Birthday' sang to me in such a sweet, wholesome way."


"A Question of Character:  A Life of John F. Kennedy," by Thomas C. Reeves, The Free Press, New York, 1991.

     Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell
       Los Angeles, California (1953)
      LA Times/UCLA Library Photo

In 1999, Paul Rudnick wrote in TIME,

"Marilyn Monroe's tabloid appeal is infinite.  At her peak, Monroe was very much like Coca Cola or Levi's - she was something wonderfully and impressively American."

                    Miss Marilyn Monroe
                   Publicity Photo (1946)
                       by Joseph Jasgur

*Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was born as Norma Jean Baker in Los Angeles.  Her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker, was placed in a mental hospital while Norma Jeanne was raised by foster parents. At age 19, she signed with a modeling agency and later 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures.

Having changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, the young movie actress appeared on the cover of Life magazine and starred in films such as Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Bus Stop.

Marilyn's 1st husband was James Dougherty (1942-46), her 2nd was NY Yankee baseball star Joe DiMaggio (1954) and the 3rd was playwright Arthur Miller (1956-1961).

**Dr. Ralph Greenson (1911-1979) graduated from Columbia University and studied medicine in Switzerland.  He was known for his work with post traumatic stress suffered by soldiers returning from WWII.

Dr. Greenson became a clinical professor at UCLA School of Medicine and his clients included Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe & Frank Sinatra.


Moscow, USSR (JFK+50) The Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed today by representatives of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union here in Moscow 50 years ago today, August 5, 1963.

The treaty prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and under water.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk signed for the United States, Alec Douglas-Home signed for Great Britain and Andrei Gromyko signed for the USSR.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty was ratified on September 24 and it was signed by President Kennedy on October 7, 1963.

JFK signs Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
         Photo by Robert Knudsen
              JFK Library Photo


Naru Island, South Pacific (JFK50) Lt. John F. Kennedy and crewman Barney Ross made a half-mile swim from Olasana to Naru Island about 1:30 p.m. seventy years ago today, Thursday, August 5, 1943.

This was the 4th day following the sinking of the PT109 after being struck by a Japanese destroyer on August 2nd.  

While JFK and Ross were making their way to Naru, the other 9 survivors were "resting in the bushes behind the beach." 

                      PT109 Crew (1943)
                       National Archives
                   Navy Historical Center

Kennedy and Ross walked to the eastern side of Naru where they found a crate containing bags of "hard candy in the shape of teardrops" and crackers left by the Japanese. 

They also found an abandoned dugout canoe*** in the bushes "with a large tin of rainwater."

***A dugout canoe is a thick, sturdy craft, hewn with an adze, or ancient type of edge tool,  from the trunk of a single tree, preferably a goliti tree^.

^A large, tall and straight-growing tree that grows back quickly.

                        Dugout Canoes
                       Suriname River
            Photo by John Hill (2005)

The Navy men also spotted a couple of natives who upon seeing them "paddled furiously away toward Blackett Strait."

The natives ended up paddling to where the 9 survivors were hiding.  After some reassurance that these men were not Japanese, the natives, Biuku and Eroni came ashore.

Leaving Ross behind on the beach, Lt. Kennedy took the canoe filled with candy and water back to his men.

He was surprised when he saw the natives among his men and didn't recognize them as the ones he and Ross had seen earlier.

JFK left the candy and water with his men and headed the canoe back toward Naru to rejoin Barney Ross.

Although they attempted to take the canoe back into the Blackett Strait that night, the waves were too strong and they had to give up.  They returned to Naru exhausted and slept on the beach during the rest of the night. 


"PT 109: John F. Kennedy in WWII," by Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1961, 2001.