Marilyn Monroe’s Psych Tapes

Everybody remembers where they were when they heard that Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe had died.

It was August 5, 1962, and I was with my parents on a summer road trip. My Dad, a second generation Italian, liked to visit the places where Italian immigrants had built notable things. We were in an underground dwelling in Fresno called the Baldassare Forestiere Underground Gardens, built by a Sicilian immigrant who felt it was too hot to live above ground in Fresno. The former New York City subway worker had built more than 50 underground rooms over a 40-=year period. While escaping the August heat, we heard some people gasping as they talked about Marilyn Monroe. Every ten-year-old knew who she was and knew how to repeat the dirty jokes our older brothers or schoolmates told us about her.

Today the L.A. Times has published the transcript made by former Los Angeles prosecutor John W. Miner, who was head of the District Attorney’s medical-legal section when Marilyn Monroe died. To quote the Times, “He says the transcript was based on tapes Monroe recorded at her home for her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson. Miner says he compiled the transcript after Greenson played him the tapes during an interview he conducted as part of the investigation into her death.”

Everybody remembers where they were when they heard that Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe had died.

It was August 5, 1962, and I was with my parents on a summer road trip. My Dad, a second generation Italian, liked to visit the places where Italian immigrants had built notable things. We were in an underground dwelling in Fresno called the Baldassare Forestiere Underground Gardens, built by a Sicilian immigrant who felt it was too hot to live above ground in Fresno. The former New York City subway worker had built more than 50 underground rooms over a 40-year period. As we escaped the August heat in the cool earthen rooms, we heard some people gasping as they talked about Marilyn Monroe. As a ten-year-old, I was a little young to understand what kind of drama was actually going on, but I knew her image well from The Seven Year Itch and how to repeat Marilyn Monroe jokes the way my older classmates could.

Today the L.A. Times has published the transcript made by former Los Angeles prosecutor John W. Miner, who was head of the District Attorney’s medical-legal section when Marilyn Monroe died. To quote the Times, “He says the transcript was based on tapes Monroe recorded at her home for her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson. Miner says he compiled the transcript after Greenson played him the tapes during an interview he conducted as part of the investigation into her death.” Read the Times link to the revelation of these tapes.

Transcript of Marilyn Tapes

Dear Doctor: You have given me everything. Because of you I can now feel what I never felt before. She comes by herself and with somebody else. So now I am a whole woman (pun intended — like Shakespeare). So now I have control—control of myself—control of my life. What can I give you. Not money. I know that from me that means nothing to you. Not my body. I know your professional ethics and faithfulness to your wonderful wife make that impossible. What I am going to give you is my idea that will revolutionize psychoanalysis. Isn’t it true that the key to analysis is free association. Marilyn Monroe associates. You, my doctor, by understanding and interpretation of what goes on in my mind get to my unconscious which makes it possible for you to treat my neuroses and for me to overcome them. But when you tell me to relax and say whatever I am thinking, I blank out and have nothing to say; that’s what you and Dr. Freud call resistance. So we talk about other things and I answer your questions as best I can. You are the only person in the world I have never told a lie to and never will. Oh yes, dreams. I know they are important. But you want me to free associate about the dream elements. I have the same blanking out. More resistance for you and Dr. Freud to complain about. I read his “Introductory Lectures,” God, what a genius. He makes it so understandable. And he is so right. Didn’t he say himself that Shakespeare and Dostoievski had a better understanding of psychology than all the scientists put together. Damn it, they do. You told me to read Molly Bloom’s mental meanderings (I can use words, can’t I) to get a feeling for free association. It was when I did that I got my great idea. As I read it something bothered me. Here is Joyce writing what a woman thinks to herself . Can he, does he really know her innermost thoughts. But after I read the whole book, I could better understand that Joyce is an artist who could penetrate the souls of people, male or female. It really doesn’t matter that Joyce doesn’t have ... or never felt a menstrual cramp. Wait a minute. As you must have guessed I am free associating and you are going to hear a lot of bad language. Because of my respect for you, I’ve never been able to say the words I’m really thinking when we are in session. But now I am going to say whatever I think, no matter what it is. I can do that because of my idea which, if you’ll be patient, I’ll tell you about. That’s funny. I ask you to be patient, but I am your patient. Yet to be patient and to be a patient makes a kind of Shakespearean sense, doesn’t it Back to Joyce. To me Leopold Bloom is a central character. He is the despised Irish Jew, married to an Irish Catholic woman. It is through them Joyce develops much of what he wants to say. Do you agree that the scene where Bloom is looking at the little girl on the swing is the most erotic in the book? What is a Jew. In my business I have met and ... more Jews that I can count, and boy have I been screwed by some of them. There are those who, I suppose, look Jewish but so do Arabs; there are others who are more blond and blue-eyed than Hitler ever was. And some in between that you can’t tell if they are Jewish or not. How do you think Hitler knew who were Jews to be killed. Couldn’t be by looks alone. I have met too many German Jews who sure could be Hitler’s Aryans by their looks. I couldn’t tell if you’re Jewish by looking at you. Same with women. Keep getting sidetracked. Well, that’s what free association is. OK, my idea! To start with there is the doctor and the patient. I don’t like the word, analysand. It makes it seem like treating a sick mind is different from treating a sick body. However, you and Dr. Freud say the mind is part of the body. That makes the person getting treated a patient. I’ll bet Gertrude Stein would say a patient is a patient, is a patient. See, free association can be fun. Anyway, you are in his office and the Doctor says I want you to say whatever you are thinking no matter what it is. And you can’t think of a damn thing. How many times after a session I would go home and cry because I thought it was my fault. While reading Molly’s blathering, the IDEA came to me. Get a tape recorder. Put a tape in. Turn it on. Say whatever you are thinking like I am doing now. It’s really easy. I’m lying on my bed wearing only a brassiere. If I want to go to the refrig or the bathroom, push the stop button and begin again when I want to. And I just free associate. No problem. You get the idea, don’t you. Patient can’t do it in Doctor’s office. Patient is at home with tape recorder. Patient free associates sans difficulty. Patient sends tape to Doctor. After he listens to it, Patient comes in for a session. He asks her questions about it, interprets it. Patient gets treated. Oh yes, she can put her dreams on the tape too — right when she has them. You know how I would forget what I dreamed or even if I dreamt at all. Dr. Freud said dreams are the via regia to the unconscious and so I’ll tell you my dreams on tape. OK, Dr. Greenson. You are the greatest psychiatrist in the world. You tell me. Has Marilyn Monroe invented an important way to make psychoanalysis work better. After you listen to my tapes and use them to treat me, you could publish a paper in a scientific journal, Wouldn’t that be sensational. I don’t want any credit. I don’t want to be identified in your paper. It’s my present to you. I’ll never tell anybody about it. You will be the first to let your profession know how to lick resistance. Maybe you could patent the idea and license it to your colleagues. Ask Micky. You are the only person who will ever know the most private, the most secret thought of Marilyn Monroe. I have absolute confidence and trust you will never reveal to a living soul what I say to you. What I told you is true when I first became your patient. I had never had an orgasm. I well remember you said an orgasm happens in the mind, not the genitals. ... It doesn’t bother me, but this damn free association could drive somebody crazy. Oh, oh, crazy makes me think about my mother. I am not going to free associate about her right now. Let me finish my thoughts about orgasms. You said there was an obstacle in my mind that prevented me from having an orgasm; that it was something that happened early in my life about which I felt so guilty that I did not deserve to have the greatest pleasure there is; that it had to do with something sexual that was very wrong, but my getting pleasure from it caused my guilt That it was buried in my unconscious. Through analysis we would bring it to my conscious mind where we could get to the guilt and free me to be orgasmic. Well, we sure worked it and got nowhere. I’d go home and cry and vomit from the frustration. Then you said for the orgasm problem we’ll try a different approach. That you would tell me how to stimulate myself, that when I did exactly what you told me to do I would have an orgasm and that after I did it to myself and felt what it was, I would have orgasms with lovers. What a difference a word makes. You said I would, not I could. Bless you, Doctor. What you say is gospel to me. By now I’ve had lots of orgasms. Not only one, but 2 and 3 with a man who takes his time. I never cried so hard as I did after my first orgasm. It was because of the years I had ...never had an orgasm. What wasted years. How can I describe to you, a man, what an orgasm feels like to a woman. I’ll try. Think of a light fixture with a rheostat control. As you slowly turn it on, the bulb begins to get bright, then brighter and brighter and finally in a blinding flash is fully lit. As you turn it off it gradually becomes dimmer and at last goes out. It is so good ... Doctor, I worship you. I have a dream for you. I dreamt that I was sitting on Clark Gable’s lap with his arms around me. He said: “They want me to do a “Gone With the Wind” sequel. Maybe I will if you will be my Scarlett.” I woke up crying. They called him King and God knows he was that. What respect and deference he had from the actors and crew, even that ... Huston. Some day I hope I’ll be treated like that. He was Mr. Gable to everybody on the set, but he made me call him Clark. He had such concern for the animals. Even though there were Humane Society inspectors all over the place, he kept ordering that nobody hurt the horses. Ironical, it was a horse that hurt him. I was told after he was dragged and the horse calmed down, he stroked his muzzle and gave him a piece of sugar. He was so nice to me and I didn’t deserve it. I was having problems with Arthur and being sick and I held up the shooting a lot. Clark protected me from Huston who kept giving me a bad time. In the kissing scenes, I kissed him with real affection. I didn’t want to go to bed with him, but I wanted him to know how much I liked and appreciated him. He told me he had been a hunter for a long time, but he had decided not to kill animals. He said if he had children, he would teach them to hunt with a camera instead of a gun. When I came back from a day off the set, he patted my ass and told me if I didn’t behave myself, he would give me a good spanking. I looked him in the eye and said: ” Don’t tempt me,” He burst out laughing so hard he was tearing Because of his performance I’ve seen “Gone With the Wind’s over and over again. He was perfect. It makes me so mad I could scream. Those Academy ... didn’t award him the Oscar. He should have won hands down. All right that was a long time ago. I must have been about 13. I have never seen a man who was as romantic as he was in that picture. It was different when I got to know him. Then I wanted him to be my father. I wouldn’t care if he spanked me as long as he made up for it by hugging me and telling me I was Daddy’s little girl and he loved me. Of course that’s fantasy. Ever since you let me be in your home and meet your family, I’ve thought about how it would be if I were your daughter instead of your patient. I know you couldn’t do it while I’m your patient, but after you cure me, maybe you could adopt me. Then I’d have the father I’ve always wanted and your wife whom I adore would be my mother, and your children, brothers and sisters. No, Doctor, I won’t push it. But it’s beautiful to think about it I guess you can tell I’m crying, I’ll stop now for a little bit. When Clark Gable died, I cried for 2 days straight. I couldn’t eat or sleep. It was some comfort to remember I’d make him laugh like that. Is there a God. He must be cruel for not letting Clark live to teach his son to hunt with a camera. Speaking of Oscars, I would win overwhelmingly if the Academy gave an Oscar for faking orgasms. I have done some of my best acting convincing my partners I was in the throes of ecstasy. If he were alive I’d have Johnny Hyde be the presenter. ... Johnny Hyde was special. He wasn’t a lot to look at. A little shrimp. Little shrimp, is that redundant or tautological. I always get them mixed up. Anyway, he only came up to my chin. Johnny was a cocky character. There was no better agent in the business. The studio bosses and casting directors respected him. His word was gold. You didn’t need any damned lawyers when he made a deal. ... how that man took care of me. He divorced his wife and bought a house for us to live in, bought my clothes, paid my hairdresser and cosmetic bills and medical expenses. He was my agent and got me better parts and more money than I had before. Funny though. He always took his agent fee. Said it kept me professional and then he’d turn around and spend a fortune on me. There was a lot of talk that he did all this to get me to marry him. And I probably would have if he wanted me to. But the truth is he thought marriage would hurt my career. He said if I did what he told me, he’d make me a big star… I was everything to him: wife, mother, sister, daughter, mistress. Nobody will or could love me as much as Johnny H. I loved the little guy, but I was never in love with him. I’d do anything he wanted and I’ve only skimmed the surface in what I’ve said. But I just couldn’t have the kind of love for him that he had for me. We both knew he had a bad heart. His doctor told him if he wanted to stay alive, he should stop seeing me and retire from his work, He didn’t and died suddenly before he could keep his promise to put me in his will. C’est la vie. The talk went around that his relationship with me killed Johnny. They are wasting their time trying to make me feel guilty. I gave Johnny the greatest happiness he ever had. He wouldn’t have traded a day of it for a year of life. [Miner notes: Topic: “Taxicab Drivers”. Here is what I remember] (Monroe rhetorically asks Greenson how the most famous woman is the world could go to a strange man and ask him a question. She answers by saying — Use a taxicab driver. She got the idea from reading about or hearing of a Caliph or Sultan who went out incognito among his people to find out what they thought of him. She wanted to take a poll. So she disguised herself with a brunette wig—no make up—horn rimmed glasses, an amorphous garment and gave the driver $10 to answer the question: Name the woman you would most want to sleep with. She intended a jury of 12, but only asked 9. Six said Marilyn Monroe. She gave the responses of the other 3, but I don’t remember them. It excited her that they did not know her identity.) There’s a radio ... trying to restart a fire under the old so called Crawford-Monroe feud. OK, she said some mean things about me a while back. What do I care. I don’t know why she did. Crawford and I started out friendly. As always, Shakespeare said it best; “He that takes from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and make me poor indeed.” No, Doctor, I did not look it up. I’ve memorized a lot of Shakespeare. That reminds me of Prince and the Showgirl. Olivier came into my dressing room to give me hell for screwing up. I soothed him by telling him I thought his Hamlet was one of the greatest films ever made. You know he won an Oscar for it But the Prince was a real .... He was superficial—no, that’s not the word — supercilious, arrogant, a snob, conceited. Maybe a little bit anti-Semitic in the sense of some of my best friends are Jews. But, damn him, a great, great actor. At a party he told a couple of Jewish jokes. Arthur says his Yiddish accent was perfect. I told him Lee Strasberg said I had Shakespeare in me. What did he think. Olivier said, Marilyn, if you worked with Lee harder than you ever worked and get the basics, come to me and I’ll help you do it. Here’s what you’re in for. And Olivier recited Shakespeare for 2 hours. Everything from Hamlet to Shylock. It was magic. I’ve never heard anything so magnificent. He ended with: “She should have died hereafter. There would have for such a word. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle. Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Olivier said: “That says it all,” smiled and left. I sat and cried with joy for being so privileged. Oh yes, Crawford…. We went to Joan’s bedroom ... Crawford had a gigantic orgasm and shrieked like a maniac. Credit Natasha. She could teach more than acting. Next time I saw Crawford she wanted another round. I told her straight out I didn’t much enjoy doing it with a woman. After I turned her down, she became spiteful. An English poet best describes it: hath no rage like love to hatred turned; and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – most people wrongly credit that to Shakespeare. William Congreve is the author. That’s me, Marilyn Monroe, the classical scholar. About enemas. You and Dr. Freud say every child goes through an anal development stage when the child first gets to neural control of the anal sphincters. Dr. Freud says the sexual and the excremental are always mixed together. You told me that childhood experiences during the anal development stage can cause a fixation which play a part in later sexual development. Maybe that happened to me and we’ll get at it in analysis. You know I have a very poor memory of my early childhood… I began remembering a little bit about the enemas I had as a child. They were what you and Dr. Freud call repressed memories. I’ll work on it and give you another tape. But Doctor, I don’t understand this big taboo about enemas. Most of the actresses I know use them, even some who won’t admit it. Mae West told me she is given an enema every day and she has at least one orgasm a day… Mae says her enemas and orgasms will keep her young until she is 100. I hope she makes it. A nice lady even though she turned down making a picture with me. That just shows how smart she is. Peter Lawford…says the Queen and noblewomen of the court of Louis XIV were given frequent enemas with by special servants called apothecaries. The purpose was to give them peaches and cream complexions… Something about intestinal toxins getting into the blood. So there you are. Those ladies were doing the intelligent thing. ... Yes, I enjoy enemas, so what! But lets get to something serious Doctor, I want you to help me get rid of Murray. While she was giving me an enema last night I was thinking to myself Lady, even though you’re very good at this, you’ve got to go. But how? I can’t flat out fire her. Next thing would be a book “Secrets of Marilyn Monroe by her Housekeeper.” She’d make a fortune spilling what she knows and she knows too damn much. How about this- You tell her you have a seriously sick and suicidal patient or locate one somehow. That the patient is in urgent need of Murray’s services. I graciously with tears in my eyes agree to part with her. I’ll give her a substantial severance bonus, but she’ll have to sign a contract not to write or give interviews about me. Ask Micky if a contract like that can be made to stick. - Doctor, the fact is we just plain don’t like each other. I can’t put up with her insolence and disregard for anything I ask her to do. If you have a better idea please let me know what it is. Another problem that is bothering me. A…named Slatzer is running around saying awful lies about being my husband and what I am like in bed. I asked Frank Sinatra what I could do. He said, Marilyn baby, ignore it. If you take on one of these ... you make him bigger and yourself smaller. I suppose if anyone knows Frank should. He is a man at the top of his profession and is a fine actor as well. (You know, he got an Oscar for “From Here to Eternity”). He has helped more people anonymously than anybody else. And the miserable ... press smears him with lies about his being involved with the Mafia and gangsters. And Frank just takes it. What a wonderful friend he is to me. I love Frank and he loves me. It is not the marrying kind of love. It is better because marriage can’t destroy it. How well I know. Marriage destroyed my relationship with two wonderful men. Joe D. loves Marilyn Monroe and always will. I love him and always will. But Joe couldn’t stay married to Marilyn Monroe, the famous movie star. Joe has an image in his stubborn Italian head of a traditional Italian wife. She would have to be faithful, do what he tells her, devote all of herself to him. Doctor, you know that’s not me. There is no way I could stop being Marilyn Monroe and become someone else to save our marriage. It didn’t take too long before we both realized that and ended our marriage. But we didn’t end our love for each other. Any time I need him, Joe is there. I couldn’t have a better friend. It’s different with Arthur. Marrying him was my mistake, not his. He couldn’t give me the attention, warmth and affection I need. It’s not in his nature. Arthur never credited me with much intelligence. He couldn’t share his intellectual life with me. As bed partners we were so-so. He was not that much interested. You know I think his little Jewish father had more genuine affection for me than Arthur did. I loved the little Jew and his quaint Jewishness. But the Jewish religion never got to me ... Maybe he is a fine creative writer, I suppose so. Arthur didn’t know film and how to write for it. Misfits was not a great film because it wasn’t a great script .Gable, Monroe, Clift, Wallach, Huston. What more could you ask. I’ll tell you. There has to be a story as good as the talent who play it. If you put Jesus Christ in a bad script it would be a flop. You know why those religious theme pictures like Ben Hur and the Ten Commandments are so successful. Because the Bible is a ... good script. I stood naked in front of my full length mirrors for a long time yesterday. I was all made up with my hair done. What did I see. My breasts are beginning to sag a bit. ... My waist isn’t bad. My ass is what it should be, the best there is. Legs, knees and ankles still shapely. And my feet are not too big. OK, Marilyn, you have it all there. It is decision time. If I have to do any more pictures for those ... at Fox, I am going to be the highest paid actress in Hollywood, double what they pay Taylor, and a piece of the gross. I’ll choose the script, director and cast. The pictures will be box office hits. I’ll put part of the millions I make in no-risk investments. The rest I’ll use to finance my plan. I’ll take a year of day and night study of Shakespeare with Lee Strasberg. I’ll pay him to work only with me. He said I could do Shakespeare. I’ll make him prove it. That will give me the basics Olivier wanted. Then I’ll go to Olivier for the help he promised. And I’ll pay whatever he wants. Then I’ll produce and act in the Marilyn Monroe Shakespeare Film Festival which will put his major plays on film. I’ll need you to keep me together for a year or more. I’ll pay you to be your only patient. Oh, I made you another present. I have thrown all my ... pills in the toilet. You see how serious I am about this. I’ve read all of Shakespeare and practiced a lot of lines. I won’t have to worry about the scripts. I’ll have the greatest script writer who ever lived working for me and I don’t have to pay him. Oh, Monroe will have her hand in. I am going to do Juliet first. Don’t laugh. What with what make-up, costume and camera can do, my acting will create a Juliet who is 14, an innocent virgin, but whose budding womanhood is fantastically sexy. I’ve some wonderful ideas for Lady Macbeth and Queen Gertrude. I feel certain I’ll win an Oscar for one or more of my Shakespearean women. Yes, Doctor, this is what I am going to do. I owe it to you, Doctor, that I can. Marilyn Monroe is a soldier. Her Commander in Chief is the greatest and most powerful man in the world The first duty of a soldier is to obey her Commander in Chief. He says “do this.” You do this. He says “do that.” You do that. This man is going to change our country. No child will go hungry. No person will sleep in the street and get his meals from garbage cans. People who can’t afford it will get good medical care. Industrial products will be the best in the world. No, I’m not talking Utopia—that’s an illusion, but he will transform America today like FDR did in the 30’s. You don’t think you’re hearing me do you. You’re right. And he’ll do for the world what he’ll do for America — transform it for the better. I tell you, Doctor, when he has finished his achievements he will take his place with Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR as one of our greatest Presidents. I’m glad he has Bobby. It’s like the Navy. The President is the Captain and Bobby is his Executive Officer. Bobby would do absolutely anything for his brother. And so would I. I’ll never embarrass him. As long as I have memory I have John Fitzgerald Kennedy. But Bobby, Doctor, what should I do about Bobby. As you see there is no room in my life for him. I guess I don’t have the courage to face up to it and hurt him. I want someone else to tell him its over. I tried to get the President to do it, but I couldn’t reach him. Now I’m glad I couldn’t. He is too important to ask. You know when I sang Happy Birthday for him ... Maybe I should stop being a coward and tell him myself. But because I know how much he’ll be hurt I don’t have the strength to hurt him. I think what’s happened to Bobby is that he has stopped having good sex with his wife for some time. ... Well when he starts having sex with the body all men want, his Catholic morality has to find a way to justify cheating on his wife. So love becomes his excuse. And if you love enough, you can’t help it and you can’t be blamed. All right, Doctor, that’s Marilyn Monroe’s analysis of Bobby’s love for me. And now I understand it for what it is, I’m not going to have any problem handling it myself . What is amazing is I solved my problem just through the free associating I did for you. ... Well, that’s something for you to sleep on, Doctor. Good Night.


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