Jeanne Carmen

A B-List Bombshell Dropping Bombshells

Jeanne Carmen was born in Paragould, Arkansas on August 4, 1930 (or so she says, I can’t find anything about her before the late 1940’s). She went on to be a chorus girl in “Burlesque” with Bert Lahr and a trick golfer with Jack Redmond. She found her way to Hollywood where she appeared in 19 pictures between 1951 and 1962, mostly bit parts in episodes of TV series and B-list pictures. While in Hollywood Carmen appears to have lived the life of a starlet, like Marilyn had ten years before.

October 31, 1957 Halloween Party with Elvis
Raintree County Premiere 1957

The biggest movie role Carmen ever had was in “Untamed Youth” as the 8th billed actress. Hardly someone who made it in her youth, she faded off into obscurity and probably wouldn’t be remembered if she hadn’t reappeared in Anthony Summers book as Marilyn’s long lost female best friend. Carmen went on to make 31 appearances as Marilyn’s bosom buddy from 1985-2006, much more lucrative than when she was showcasing her talents. Carmen managed to hobnob with the rich and famous while giving her insight into Marilyn’s personality, relationships, and death.

Great! We’ve found Marilyn’s long lost best friend. What did she have to tell us? So much that she wrote a book with her son, Brandon James that was released after her death. This fascinating book covers Carmen’s life and pulls you in with fanciful tales of mobsters, murder, and mayhem. It reads like a pulp novel and that’s exactly what it is. We open with this:

Johnny Roselli (Yes, Carmen spells his name wrong) worked for the Chicago outlet that Sam Giancana was the boss of for a short time. Sam Giancana was the mob boss from 1957-1966. His downfall came about being he wouldn’t let the mob in on his share of the profits from oversea casinos and his connections out west. He considered those to be side projects. In 1967 he started a seven year exile in Mexico where he was eventually arrested and brought back to the United States on July 24, 1974. Shortly after his arrival, Giancana had a sit-down with the Outfit who again told him to share his part of the money from the casinos. Giancana again refused. After his return to the US, Giancana had a police guard in front of his home. He was scheuled to appear in front of the Church Committee and needed to be protected. The night of June 19, 1975 someone called off the police guard. That was the night Giancana was killed. There are many speculations about who killed Giancana but nearly all agree that it was most likely because he would not give The Outfit a cut of his gambling profits and had nothing to do with Marilyn Monroe. It is also speculated that Giancana’s death shook Roselli being he had just testified before the Church Committee. Roselli was killed 14 months later because he divulged a lot of information at the Church Committee. Carmen later goes on to contradict herself when she says that payback has to be swift and severe.

 There are no known photos of Marilyn with any mobster, especially Johnny Roselli, in fact, no reliable Marilyn biographer has Marilyn dating any mobster. In 1948 Marilyn was introduced to Joe Schenck at a poker party by Pat de Cicco. It is very well known that Cohen also attended these poker parties. If anyone got Marilyn the deal with Columbia it was Joe Schenck, not Johnny Roselli. Roselli’s movie ties are all with Byran Foy, who owned Eagle Lion Studios. Foy ended up heading the B-movie department at Warner Brothers. There is no solid evidence that Cohn was involved with the mob and their money to start a movie studio, in fact, Columbia was considered a Poverty Row studio until 1934 when “It Happened One Night” swept the Oscars. Columbia Studios had actually started as “CBC” Cohn-Brandt-Cohn (the second Cohn being Harry’s brother John) in 1919. They produce two-reelers and shorts that while popular, were never going to be smashing successes. Cohn figured out that it would be cheaper to use unknowns and stars past their prime. It wasn’t until 1922 that CBC made their first feature length film. Brandt sold his portion in 1924 to Harry Cohn with John Cohn staying on to run the financial department until his death in 1956. Roselli was involved with the 1940’s multi-million dollar extortion campaign against all the major studios but that wasn’t strictly against Cohn. Carmen then goes on to later say they dated in the early 1950’s. Again, no photos can substantiate this. It’s also known that Marilyn was seeing Nick Ray on and off between 1951-1952 as well as her connection with Johnny Hyde who passed in 1950.

Marilyn had a short stint in New York in September of 1951 as well as weekends in 1952 while filming “Niagara”. 1951 was to see Carol Channing perform the part of Lorelei in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and was a very short trip. 1952 was to spend time with Joe DiMaggio. The first time Marilyn met anyone connected to the Actor’s Studio was on August 24, 1954 on the set of “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. She met Lee’s wife Paula and daughter Susan. On February 1, 1955 she met Cheryl Crawford who told her to speak to Lee. On February 4, 1955 Marilyn met Lee and started taking lessons at the Actor’s Studio. Marilyn wasn’t going to a bar in 1952 (the only plausible trip) after her lessons at The Actor’s Studio being she wasn’t enrolled with Lee until 1955 and had relied heavily on Natasha Lytess until that point.

There are, again, no account of Jeanne meeting Bobby Kennedy. While the Kennedy brothers may or may not have had a dalliance with Marilyn (different article is needed for that one) Jeanne was not running in the same circle. The Kennedy brothers were smart. They didn’t run around with just anyone being they had such high profile careers in politics. There also is no evidence that Marilyn was ever prescribed Quaaludes.

Carmen repeatedly puts herself at Doheny Drive yet there are no records of her actually living there. If you look at past phone books she is never listed. If she did live there it was most likely after Marilyn’s death. No one remembers her living there while Marilyn was alive nor do Marilyn’s friends remember Marilyn speaking of her. Carmen later said that she and Marilyn were both put up there by Frank Sinatra. There are two reasons why this is completely unbelievable. The first is that the apartment was owned by Violet Mertz from 1952 to 1981. The second is that while Frank did live there for a short time, it was just rented in 1963.

No one recognizes Marilyn and Bobby making out in the backseat of a car? Oh that’s right, because they have disguises that they wore. I’m not going to dissect this nonsense any further because of how asinine it is. If Bobby was at Marilyn’s home half as much as Carmen says he was he was basically living there. The Attorney General of the United States doesn’t repeatedly sneak into the world’s most famous blonde’s home with NO pictures ever being taken.

I’ll dissect the Cal Neva weekend a bit later but Marilyn took nude pictures a few weeks before. In them she is obviously not fat with a flabby butt. She was actually quite thin during that period like she had been for her entire life minus a 4 year period with Arthur.

The most damning evidence against Jeanne Carmen are that there is no mention of her being friends with Marilyn in any of her press clippings from the fifties nor are there any press photos of them together. Carmen is also not found in any of Marilyn’s address books. Carmen’s collection of photos were all lost in a fire yet she regularly told stories of the press hounding them. This is completely unbelievable being these photos would have been printed or at least in the photographers’ possession. Carmen was a striking woman and would be recognizable yet none have ever surfaced. What follows are various press clippings through the years. Marilyn is mentioned in one being Carmen is described as a Marilyn look alike which leads me to my next point, Marilyn tended to not hang around with fellow blonde starlets, especially one that was 4 years younger than her. If this was vanity or just a want for higher caliber friends is subject to debate.

Kentucky New Era July 20, 1957

Miami News June 14, 1954
Park City News March 28, 1958
Toledo Blaze, April 29, 1958
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