Among the slew of books purporting to solve the ‘mystery’ of Marilyn’s untimely death, only a few are worth the paper they were written on. David M. Marshall’s The DD Group is one, and Donald R. McGovern’s Murder Orthodoxies another. Gary Vitacco-Robles, a psychotherapist, will publish his own interpretation in 2022.
The remainder, unfortunately, tend to propagate wild conspiracy theories involving the Kennedys, the Mafia etc. This week, a new title that leaves little to the imagination – Bombshell: The Night Bobby Kennedy Killed Marilyn Monroe – hits bookstores. It has been featured in UK tabloids The Sun and the Daily Mail, and you can read the blurb below. If nothing else, Bombshell is a bargain, having already been discounted in UK book chain The Works days ahead of its official release date.
“‘Bobby called. He’s coming to California. He wants to see me.’
Drawing on secret police files, Marilyn Monroe’s private diary and never before published first-hand testimony, this book proves that Robert Kennedy was directly responsible for her death. It details the legendary star’s tumultuous personal involvement with him and his brother, President John Kennedy, and how they plotted to silence her.
The new evidence and revelatory statements are provided by Mike Rothmiller who, as a detective of the Organized Crime Intelligence Division (OCID) of the LAPD, had direct personal access to hundreds of restricted LAPD files on exactly what happened at Marilyn Monroe’s Californian home on August 5, 1962.
With his training and investigator’s knowledge, Rothmiller used that confidential information to get to the heart of the matter, to the people who were there the night Marilyn died – two of whom played major roles in the cover-up – and the wider conspiracy to protect the Kennedys whatever the collateral damage.
There will be those with doubts, but to them, the lawman – who directed international intelligence operations targeting organized crime – says the printed, forensic and oral evidence are totally convincing. He insists: ‘If I presented my evidence in any court of law, I’d get a conviction.’”
Curious to know more about Rothmiller, I consulted McGovern’s Murder Orthodoxies. If you’re considering purchasing Bombshell, either for its sensational content, or the low price and eye-catching cover (featuring a classic 1953 portrait by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt), I suggest you read McGovern’s thoughts on the author first.
“Prior to the publication of Donald Wolfe’s The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe [aka The Assassination of Marilyn Monroe], his 1998 exposé about Marilyn’s murder, only four persons actually claimed to have seen Marilyn’s diary and read the words she committed in longhand to its pages: Robert Slatzer, Jeanne Carmen, Ted Jordan, and Samir Muqaddin [aka Lionel Grandison], a clerk in the county coroner’s office. Wolfe added a fifth name: Michael Rothmiller, a Los Angeles police detective.
Donald Wolfe, according to his source notes, interviewed Michael Rothmiller in 1998. Rothmiller, a Los Angeles Police Department detective, was a member of the Organised Crime Intelligence Division (OCID), otherwise known locally and colourfully as LAPD’s infamous Gangster Squad. In 1978, Rothmiller worked in the OCID file room which housed confidential data including the police department’s files regarding Marilyn and the LAPD’s investigation into her death. Those files, according to Rothmiller, contained not Marilyn’s original Red Book of Secrets but a copy thereof. Neither Rothmiller nor Wolfe offered any statements regarding the copy’s type or when the copy was made. In 1982, making copies of documents, and particularly books, was not as easy and convenient as it is today or as it was in 1998.
Rothmiller told Wolfe that Marilyn’s diary was more like a journal; and most of her entries memorialised her conversations with the middle Kennedy brothers. There were other entries, though, ranging in topics from Frank Sinatra and the MOB to Cuba and the Soviet Union. Rothmiller recalled that Marilyn’s moniker for Fidel Castro was Fidel C. Apparently Rothmiller did not reveal any more than the preceding brief account; so for more information on the diary’s contents, Wolfe relied on Slatzer, certainly a questionable tactic. Samir Muqaddin’s memoir, however [Memoirs of a Deputy Coroner, 2012], offered a much more detailed view …
It is definitely difficult, if not impossible, to conclude that Marilyn’s Red Book of Secrets actually existed based on Michael Rothmiller’s testimony. By 1998, the year Wolfe supposedly interviewed the LAPD detective, two decades had elapsed since he allegedly saw the copy of Marilyn’s diary. Why did he wait so long to reveal that this copy existed, to tell the world what he allegedly observed? Where was he in 1982 during the LAPD’s threshold investigation? Neither Robert Slatzer nor Jeanne Carmen nor Samir Muqaddin nor the 1982 LADA Summary Report regarding that investigation mentioned Michael Rothmiller. But then, the mythology surrounding Marilyn’s diary, as it relates to her death, is so ingrained in her story and so well known by most of humanity, it is entirely remarkable that more persons have not appeared with odd stories similar to Rothmiller’s.
The assertion that the little red diary existed in a storage room filled with secret files fits neatly into the conspiracist’s mindset and their conspiracy puzzle: for them, the diary has become the missing piece which will bring into focus the complete picture of Marilyn’s odd, mysterious and, for the conspiracists, unexplained death. Still, Rothmiller’s testimony remains [uncorroborated] and unverifiable. Wolfe apparently expected his readers to accept Rothmiller’s testament on faith, a quantum leap that I, for one, cannot make…
Many biographers and many conspiracists have delineated over the years a Marilyn Monroe that did not exist. She was neither a helpless victim nor a silly pubescent girl of fantasy swooning over or gripped by the passion of an infatuation. When we compare the actual writings of Marilyn Monroe [collected in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters, 2010] with the writings certain individuals have alleged were Marilyn’s, a large chasm between what those individuals have alleged were Marilyn’s and what we now know is real becomes painfully apparent … It is their word against history: no diary of the type described by Slatzer, Carmen, Jordan, Rothmiller and Muqaddin has, in forty-four years, been found.
Besides and in fact, not one person in Marilyn’s inner circle ever mentioned seeing a diary of the type described by our witnesses, not Pat Newcomb nor Susan Strasberg nor Ralph Roberts nor Joe DiMaggio nor Arthur Miller, not even Eunice Murray, who allegedly possessed it briefly, ever mentioned a little red diary.”
Pages from alleged transcript of Marilyn’s missing diary by Michael Rothmiller (not in Monroe’s own handwriting)