Why Do We Believe Weatherby? OP-ED

Weatherby 1976.jpg

Weatherby’s Book, 1976

W.J. Weatherby’s book is beloved by fans and considered one of the main resources for Marilyn quotes. Indeed, it is a minefield of quips and stories but is it true? Weatherby states that he didn’t actually record his conversations with Marilyn while she was speaking, just that he would write in a series of shorthand after speaking. He goes on to say that being he had a reporter’s memory, it was easy for him to remember long blocks of conversation. This I don’t doubt at all. What comes to mind though is that she would have known she was speaking to a reporter. It doesn’t seem likely that she would bear her soul to someone with the press after her 1954-1955 debacle with Ben Hecht on My Story. It should also be noted that Weatherby gives no dates which is odd because A) it lets you know what was going on in her life during that time and B) most reporters date their work for their own memories. What can’t be disputed is that Weatherby was working on the set of “The Misfits.” What I question are the conversations after.

Weatherby released his book during an interesting time. The Marilyn community had Slatzer, Mailer, Guiles, Marilyn’s My Story, and countless other books written about her. It also was the mecca for celebrity gossip columnist to release their books as well.

barrett-1974

Rona Barrett, 1974

Beck 1973.jpg

Marilyn Beck, 1973

Cindy Adams 1975.jpg

Cindy Adams, 1975

graham-1964

Sheilah Graham, 1964

Graham 1972.jpg

Sheila Graham, 1972

graham-1985

Sheilah Graham, 1975

Grham 1970.jpg

Sheilah Graham, 1970

Hopper 1952.jpg

Hedda Hopper, 1952

Hopper 1963.jpg

Hedda Hopper, 1963

Mann 1973.jpg

May Mann, 1973

Mann 1975.jpg

May Mann, 1975

Maxwell 1963.jpg

Elsa Maxwell, 1963

Muir 1950.jpg

Florabel Muir, 1950

Newquiest 1980.jpg

Roy Newquiest, 1980

reed-1969

Rex Reed, 1961

 

Parsons 1961.jpg

Louella Parsons, 1961

 

Reed 1974.jpg

Rex Reed, 1974

Reed 1977.jpg

Rex Reed, 1977

skolsky-1975

Sidney Skolsky, 1975

St Johns 1978.jpg

Adela Rogers St. Johns, 1978

Wilson 1971.jpg

Earl Wilson, 1971

Wilson 1974.jpg

Earl Wilson, 1974

Wilson 1976.jpg

Earl Wilson, 1976

Wilson 1984.jpg

Earl Wilson, 1984

winchell-1975

Walter Winchell, 1975

Zolotow 1960.jpg

Maurice Zolotow, 1960 (this is the 90’s cover)

Zolotow 1974.jpg

Maurice Zolotow, 1974

 

 

So, not only was Weatherby’s book released at the coming of Marilyn books, it was also released during the prime of gossip columnist tell-alls.

But what about content? There are some great quotes in this book. That cannot be denied. Yet Weatherby falls right into the Slatzer circle, discrediting Ralph Roberts as someone who wasn’t an “old close friend” while claiming that Slatzer was just that. He also supports the Kennedy rumors:

MM – “Maybe I’ll get married again myself.”

W – “Have you someone in mind? Is there a leading candidate?”

MM – “Sort of. Only problem is, he’s married right now. And he’s famous; so we have to meet in secret.”

W – “And he’s getting a divorce?”

MM – “Arthur had to get a divorce, you know. He’s in politics.”

W – “In Hollywood?”

MM – “Oh no. In Washington.”

 

 

 

 

Weatherby then goes on to talk about the Kennedy rumors and seems to support them although it should be noted that he says an overdose by her own hand is possible while he continues to exalt Slatzer (Please note I use the 1992 edition which he wrote the forward to and insists is still true). So, are the memories real? Or was Weatherby just capitalizing? There are no witness statements to support his meetings in a dive bar (which, why would she risk being seen and recognized when she had a home?). In fact, an extremely close confidant of Marilyn revealed that she had never heard of Weatherby when asked by Anthony Summers. His book came out at a peak time. He didn’t mention knowing her in his obituary for the paper in 1962. His notes have never been revealed. It is unknown whether or not Marilyn put him in her personal address book AND, if she had, whether or not the number was a Reno number or a New York number.

My question for you is this: Why should we believe that Marilyn was having secret conversations in a bar with W. J. Weatherby?

 

 

Advertisements

Libel of the Dead…

Recently some pictures were purchased by Tony Michaels, a long lost friend of one of the Monroe Six, Frieda Hull. Here’s where things get tricky. Michaels claims that Frieda told him that Marilyn was PREGNANT in these photos with a child fathered by Yves Montand. I could spend a lot of time breaking this down but long story short, Michaels is full of crap or Frieda was (which I HIGHLY doubt Frieda even told him this story). For a great debunking, check out the article written by Marilyn Remembered’s Scott Fortner here.

From Frances Farmer getting a lobotomy, to Jean Harlow sleeping with truck drivers and killing Paul Bern, to Jayne Mansfield being a practicing Satanist, to Marilyn being pregnant with numerous love children, libeling and slandering the dead is a hot market. Books and articles can print nearly anything they want while any random person can say the same garbage. There is absolutely no consequence for defaming the dead (something I personally think should be overwritten being it can affect estate earnings but that’s another post).

Darwin Porter has cornered the market on these “hot” stories. Here is an excerpt from one of his sources, Liz Renay.

He was very proud of his noble tool, perhaps prouder than he should have been. I heard that when he wasn’t screwing Tallulah Bankhead or Marilyn Monroe – my rival – he liked to plug the boys, especially James Dean.

Who is the above about? Marlon Brando. Renay’s accounts have since spread like wildfire.

On Rory Calhoun:

He was Guy Madison’s longtime lover and those two gorgeous boys enjoyed banging each other more than they enjoyed banging me.

Porter then goes on to make gigantic claims about sexuality including Monroe, Astaire, Wayne, and countless others.  Who are his sources? I’m not able to tell you being a lot aren’t listed. Note that all of the celebrities mentioned were dead by the time Porter’s “Hollywood Babylon Strikes Again” was published.

So, we’ve covered the legalities and some of what you see but the main question is why? That’s where personal opinion comes in. What seems likely is being the studios shrouded their celebrities in mystery and kept actual scandals out of the papers, anyone who so much as whispers something scandalous is taken as repeating a fact. These whispers then get back to reporters and writers like Porter. I won’t say that Porter makes up his claims, it’s likely that he has heard that a friend of a friend of a friend’s third cousin seven times removed knows a guy who knows a guy whose best friend’s sister slept with Jeanne Carmen. So what now? All I’m calling for is writer and researcher responsibility.