Marilyn’s Father: Documentary to Explore Family Secret

After the recent CNN docuseries, Reframed: Marilyn Monroe, and ahead of the April 27 release of a feature-length Netflix documentary, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe, yet another Monroe-themed documentary will debut in June – and as Variety reports, the filmmakers claim to have positively  identified Marilyn’s biological father and interviewed his surviving relatives.

While never formally proven, most biographers believe Norma Jeane’s father was C. Stanley Gifford, a work colleague of her mother Gladys. When she fell pregnant and their affair ended, Gladys named her estranged second husband Edward Mortensen as the father to avoid the stigma of illegitimacy, although they had already parted when Norma Jeane was conceived.

Furthermore, for most of her childhood she was known as Norma Jeane Baker, after Gladys’ first husband. However, Marilyn always believed Gifford was her real father, and was devastated when he rebuffed her attempts to make contact.

Label News has just wrapped the production of Marilyn, Her Final Secret, an investigative documentary shedding light on the identity of Marilyn Monroe’s biological father whom she never met.

Directed by Francois Pomès, the documentary is based on an exclusive DNA research conducted by Ludovic Orlando, an expert in molecular archaeology working in Southern France. Orlando used a hair sample from Monroe which was provided by John Reznikoff, a renowned auctioneer and authenticator, as well a saliva sample from the great-grandchild of Monroe’s suspected father, Charles Stanley Gifford.

The documentary weaves archive footage and interviews chronicling Monroe’s desperate efforts to find her father and connect with him, as well as the scientific journey to come up with DNA evidence.

‘The hair that we used from Monroe was collected by the person who embalmed her body the day she died and we were able to draw up 22% of her genetic profile from that thanks to a DNA fragment found in the keratin,’ said Pomès, who is also producing the documentary for Label News.

The director-producer said he ‘spent years and sleepless nights’ to deliver this one-hour documentary and reveal once and for all who Monroe’s father was, as well as break a ‘family secret.’ ‘The thing that I touched me the most was seeing the reaction of Gifford’s family who were overwhelmed by this irrefutable evidence,’ Pomès said.

Marilyn, Her Final Secret will premiere in June on French channel Toute l’Histoire. It has been sold by Mediawan Rights to RTBF (Belgium), RTS (Switzerland), SBS (Australia), Canal Plus/Iti Neovision (Poland), RTVE (Espagne), HRT (Croatie), Channel 8 (Israël), Welt (Germany), Radio Canada – RDI (Canada) and Air France.

Mediawan Rights, the commercial arm of the media group, is selling both the French and English-language versions.

Label News is developing a documentary sequel exploring other aspects revealed by Monroe’s DNA research.”

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