She was the quintessential sex symbol of the twentieth century, and the only thing greater than Marilyn Monroe’s fame is the mystery surrounding her tragic death.
The “Some Like It Hot” actress passed away on Sunday, August 5, 1962, though the circumstances leading up to her demise have been kept secret for nearly fifty years.
However, a new voice has emerged to shed some light on Monroe’s final weekend alive- Frank Sinatra’s pianist and singer Buddy Greco. Greco was at the Cal-Neva Lodge [a known Mafia haunt] in Lake Tahoe, Nevada on July 28th and 29th and has spoken up about Marilyn’s fragile state prior to her death.
Greco explained that Monroe had been treated badly by her lovers, brothers John F and Robert Kennedy, and had been invited by Sinatra to come out to Tahoe to unwind and recuperate from her heartbreak.
“When she arrived that Saturday, you'd never believe that she had a care in the world. I was sitting with Frank [Sinatra], Peter Lawford and a bunch of other people, outside Frank's bungalow, when a limousine pulls up and this gorgeous woman in dark glasses steps out.”
“She's dressed all in green - everything green: coat, skirt and scarf. Before I realized who it was, I thought, ‘My God, what a beautiful woman. No taste in clothes, but what a beautiful woman!’ I knew that she'd been to my concerts and shows. She was a regular at the Crescendo club in Hollywood where I often played.”
“We'd said hello a few times, but were never properly introduced. When Frank introduced us, I said. ‘You won't remember me, but I was the piano player when you auditioned for the Benny Goodman band in 1948.’ She got emotional at that and hugged me. She had such warmth - and I was moved. Somebody took some wonderful shots of that moment, of us hugging.”
Greco also recalled how things changed drastically from that afternoon to the evening when Marilyn showed up at the resort’s club and was clearly having a rough time with drugs and alcohol to try and numb her emotional pain.
“It was a wonderful time, a magical weekend. It is so hard to describe now but it was maybe the best time of my life. Then suddenly the room went silent and very still. It was surreal. As if somebody had turned the sound off. I looked at Frank. I could immediately tell he was furious. His eyes were like blue ice cubes. He was looking at the doorway where Marilyn was stood, swaying ever so slightly.'
“She was still in the same green outfit she'd worn all day. But the woman I'd met that afternoon - smart , funny, intelligent, fragile - had gone. Now she looked drunk and, well, defiant. She was clearly angry and I think I heard her say, ‘Who the f*** are they all staring at?"'
“It was clear Sinatra was worried. She was in a state where she could have said anything. Sinatra motioned to his bodyguard - Coochie - to get her out of there. Coochie, a big guy, escorted her out. Actually, he picked her up and carried her out. It wasn't the star we were used to seeing.'
Later in the night, Greco went to check on Marilyn. “She was on my mind. I was worried about her. I went outside to find out whether she was okay. I knew that she had taken accidental overdoses in the past. I found her by the pool. There was nobody around. It was late and the pool was deserted.
"Maybe it was the moon but she had a ghostly pallor. It still didn't occur to me that she might be a woman not long for this world. She was distressed, out of it, but that was all. Maybe her friends were used to seeing her like that but it worried me. Anyway, we talked.”
“I walked her back to her bungalow in the complex reserved for the guests of Frank and Giancana where we all stayed. I thought that the next morning I could put her with Pat Lawford [the Kennedys' sister], who was her companion, and make sure she got back to L.A. safely. But the next day when I called, she had already left. That was the last time I saw her."
Greco also noted that it could have been Frank Sinatra who expelled Marilyn from the resort so quickly. “That's a possible scenario. After she had created that problem, he certainly wanted her out of there. He could be quite firm with her.”
Though he couldn’t confirm any specifics after Marilyn left the Cal-Neva, Buddy Greco seemed suspicious about the correlation between that fateful weekend and Monroe’s death just five days later.