Francine Gifford Deir: Marilyn’s Niece Breaks Silence

Francine Gifford Deir and her grandfather, Charles Stanley Gifford (Marilyn’s father)

News of the upcoming documentary, Marilyn, Her Final Secret, is spreading fast. In addition to yesterday’s Daily Mail feature, the recent Paris Match interview with Francine Gifford Deir – granddaughter of Charles Stanley Gifford, now confirmed as Marilyn’s niece – can be read here (in French), or on the Paris Beacon-News website (in English.)

“Tell us about your grandfather…
He was a big man, tall, married three times. Born in 1898, he was passionate about photography, horses, played polo. The son of a carpenter, he had no education and had started out as a handler in a Hollywood studio. He delivered the films to the lab, on a motorbike. He had also befriended Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy) who gave him his old clothes. In 1925, he met Gladys, Marilyn’s mother. He was still married to Lillian, my grandmother. Their affair was, I think, one of the detonators of their divorce.

Did you see him often?
Two weeks each summer. He had set up a farm, the Red Rock Dairy, in Hemet, a town between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. He pasteurized the milk, then sold it in his store or to ice cream makers. The business was doing well. He put a lot of passion into it. He was proud of the advertisements he produced himself, adored his cows, his bulls, gave each calf the first name of one of his grandchildren… With my parents, my brother and my sister, we had four days to cross America, from Virginia to California, in our Ford station wagon, without air conditioning, to get to his house. The rest of the year, we wrote to each other.

Did you know the rumour that he was Marilyn’s father?
Yes, because Marilyn talked about it to everyone. That’s what Gladys, her mother, had told her. I had discovered it in the 1960s, on the cover of Esquire magazine. They had managed to get a picture of my grandfather. My father, who was in it, was furious.”

Charles Gifford Jr., father of Francine Gifford Deir (and Marilyn’s half-brother)

Furthermore, the search for Marilyn’s secret father has also made a cover story for Germany’s Retro magazine (April 2022 issue.)