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UK – Ireland – Irish Independent – Mafia men murdered Marilyn

Title:               UK – Ireland – Irish Independent – Mafia men murdered Marilyn

Newspaper    UK – Ireland – Irish Independent

Date:               February 22, 1992

They called it Camelot. Those 1,000 days when President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, together with is brother Bobby, the powerful Attorney General of the United States, presided over a series of glittering social and cultural events in the White House.

Who will ever forget Marilyn Monroe’s sultry rendition of Happy Birthday to the President?

But unlike King Arthur’s mythical castle, Jack Kennedy’s Camelot was built on mired and shaky foundations, for he owed his very Presidency to the machinations of the Mafia and many of his and Bobby’s intimates, people like Frank Sinatra, Angie Dickinson and Marilyn herself, had strong Mob connections.

It has now emerged that Marilyn’s death in August, 1962, from an overdose of sleeping tablets combined with alcohol, may have been a successful Mafia murder bid undertaken in an effort to implicate Bobby Kennedy in it and thus bring down the Presidency in a welter of scandal.

In the immediate post-World War II era, Sam “Mooney” Giancana became on of the most powerful and notorious leaders of the Mafia. Like many mobsters, he was attracted to the glamor of Hollywood, and he took an interest in the aspiring starlet Marilyn Monroe. He introduced her to the 70 year-old, powerful producer Joe Schenck and Marilyn, no stranger to the casting couch route to the top in Hollywood, slept with him.

Schenck passed Marilyn on into the bed of another Giancana intimate, producer Harry Cohn, and by 1956 Monroe had made her breakthrough to stardom with the success of Niagara, the first film in which she had a substantial part.

Giancana kept tabs on her. He know by 1960 she was having a torrid affair with President Kennedy and in 1962 he became aware that Bobby Kennedy was also showing a romantic interest in her. This information was brought to him by a IA operative called Bernie Spindel, who was also a mob informant. Spindel had bugged Marilyn’s telephone and had recordings of many indiscreet calls the rapidly unraveling Monroe had made to friends admitting that she was falling in love with the handsome Attorney General.

Sam “Mooney” Giancana, who was assassinated by mobsters in 1975, confided in his brother Chuck several months before his death that his knowledge of Monroe’s involvement with both Kennedy brothers gave him the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – to remove Monroe, who knew too much about the CIA/Mafia link-up, and to bring down the Kennedys, who were ignoring the debts they owed the Mob.


By the summer of 1962 Marilyn Monroe was in a terrible psychological state. Her film career was on the rocks due to her heavy drinking and barbiturate abuse, and she was deeply upset by what see perceived as her humiliation at the hands of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. She made a series of wild and embarrassing telephone calls to Bobby and he determined to go to California to try to calm her down.

Through his mob-connected CIA informants, Sam “Mooney” Giancana learned that Bobby Kennedy planned to be in California on the weekend of August 4. According to his brother Chuck, Sam sent four Mafia killers, including ‘Needles’ Gianola and ‘Mugsy’ Tortorella, to stake out her house, using electronic surveillance gear set up by Bernie Spindel.

Bobby Kennedy arrived at Marilyn’s house late on Saturday night accompanied by another man. As Chuck Giancana relates, Marilyn and Bobby had an angry confrontation and the distressed film star eventually became hysterical. Bobby then instructed the other man, who appeared to have been a physician to “calm her down” and it seemed that she was given an injection of chloral hydrate. Bobby Kennedy and his companion then left.

If it is true, what happened next is appalling. The four killers waited for an hour to allow the sedative administered to Marilyn to take effect and then, after pulling on rubber surgical gloves, they broke into her house. The found Marilyn nude in her bedroom and, although she is said to have put up a struggle, they had little difficulty in holding her down on her bed.

One of them then taped her mouth shut and a Nembutal suppository was inserted in her anus. Still holding her motionless, they waited for the fast-acting drug to take effect. When she was deeply unconscious they removed the tape, cleaned her mouth so no trace of adhesive would be left, arranged her body naturally on the bed and left.

Mafia killings are not noted for their subtlety, and while the use of the lethal suppository seems like a clever murder method dreamed up by a writer of detective fiction, it was, in fact, a brilliantly clever murder weapon. Had the murderers attempted to administer a lethal dose of sedative to Marilyn orally, forcing them down her throat, heavy bruising which would have aroused police suspicions immediately could easily have resulted, as could vomiting, which would have reduced the drugs efficacy.

Administered internally, the lethal dose was very quickly absorbed by Marilyn’s system, there was no needle mark to arouse suspicion and, had she been discovered before her death, there was nothing in her stomach that could be pumped out to save her life.

Giancana hoped that the furore over Marilyn’s apparent suicide would result in the Kennedy brothers involvement with her becoming public knowledge precipitating a scandal that would force them to resign. In fact, Bobby Kennedy reacted more quickly and positively then he expected and the Attorney General dispatched his brother-in-law Peter Lawford, the Hollywood actor, to Marilyn’s house before the authorities arrived and he removed any evidence linking Monroe to the Kennedys.

Marilyn’s involvement with them did not become public until years after both brothers had been assassinated.

History is not always kind to heroes. Being the first President of direct Irish Catholic background, John F. Kennedy became something of a fold hero in Irish eyes, but evidence has accumulated since his death that not only was he a compulsive womanizer but also that his narrow victory over Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election was achieved through Mafia influence and money.

To be far to Jack Kennedy, it was his father Joseph Kennedy, the former US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, who instigated the Mafia link. Joseph Kennedy amassed the foundations of his vast fortune during the Prohibition years when he was deeply involved in bootlegging liquor, and forged enduring bonds with the Mob underworld which controlled the illegal drink business.

As his political ambitions for his sons grew, Kennedy Senior tried to distance himself from his former associates but the Mafia don’t let go that easily. They wanted favors repaid, and when Kennedy refused, the boss of New York mob, Frank Costello, took out a contract on him.

The old man was thoroughly frightened and flew to Chicago to meet with Sam “Mooney” Giancana. In return for Giancana’s help in getting the contract lifted, his brother Chuck says that old man Kennedy promised that if Senator John F. Kennedy achieved his ambition for him and become President, he would never refuse a favor to Giancana for saving his father’s life.

Giancana saw marvelous opportunity to actually have someone inside the White House. Not only did he get the contract on Joseph Kennedy lifted, but he also contributed substantial funds to the Kennedy election war chest; had evidence of an early and embarrassing marriage of John F’s removed from the records in California; and in 1960, used Mob muscle to swing the crucial Illinois vote to the Kennedy camp which won him the Presidency.

The Mafia operates under strict code – you do something for someone, then you can expect that favor to be repaid in spades, or else. Giancana naturally expected that when John F. Kennedy assumed office a blind eye would be turned to his criminal activities involving drugs and gambling. Instead, Kennedy and his newly-appointed Attorney General, his younger brother Bobby, began turning the screws on the Mafia, hounding them mercilessly through increased FBI activities.

Soo sure wre they of their vulnerability that Bobby actually referred in public to Sam ‘Mooney’ Giancana as “a guinea greaseball, dago scum”, and Jack carried on an affair with Giancana’s mistress, Judith Campbell Exner, who carried money and messages between the two men.

Before his death, chuck Giancana says that his brother confided in him that he was so angry at John F. Kennedy’s actions that when he was approached by high-ranking officers in the CIA he readily agreed to help them in a plot to assassinate the President.

Chuck recalls that his brother told him, in explicit detail, exactly how the killing was achieved and how the cover-up of the conspiracy was conducted. “The it in Dallas was just like any other operation we’ve worked don in the past… we’d overthrown other government in other countries plenty of times before. This time we just did it in our own backyard.” He says his brother told him.

The Sam Giancana version of the events in Dallas on November 22, 1963, are almost beyond belief. He claimed, says his brother, that just days before Kennedy flew to Texas he met with a number of top CIA men some politicians and a number of Texas oilmen and the decision to eliminate Kennedy was made. Lyndon Johnson, he said, was aware of what was going to happen.

The CIA put up Lee Harvey Oswald, who Giancana claims, was a low-grade CIA asset, as a patsy while Giancana volunteered three of his own professional Chicago hit-men, Richard Cain, Chuckie Nicoletti and Milwaukee Phil, to do the actual killing. It was Cain, Giancana said, who fired the shot form the window on the sixth floor of the Book Depository and not Oswald.

Elaborate plans had been make to kill Oswald after the assassination to prevent him from revealing the conspiracy. Two Dallas policemen, Roscoe White and JD Tippet”, had been recruited by the CIA to shoot Oswald “in self-defence,” but Tippet hesitated at the last moment, allowing Oswald to escape. White, Giancana said, actually shot Tippet.

Oswald’s capture by police who were not in on the conspiracy was, Giancana claimed, the “only real screw-up in the whole goddamned deal.” But the conspirators reacted quickly and called in Giancana’s man in Dallas, Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who failed from Giancana’s hometown Chicago. Ruby was already involved in the conspiracy and had been Oswald’s contact men in Dallas.

According to Sam Giancana, Jack Ruby had made himself a popular and well-known man to the people who matter to mobsters, he police and local politicians. He was on first-name terms with many of them and his familiarity with them allowed him access to the police station both in the aftermath of the arrest of Oswald but more importantly, at the crucial transfer period the next day.

Roby was under no illusions as to what his task was – to eliminate Oswald – but such is the strict discipline of the Outfit that he would have risked the electric chair rather than go against orders. Mobsters who did suffer far more terrifying and painful deaths.

Chuck Giancana says that his brother told him that “Oswald knew the story when he saw Jack comin’ at him. He knew he’d been made the patsy and that Jack was going to take him out. But it was too late for him to do anything about it.”

The rest of the investigation didn’t worry the conspirators, Giancana says. “For once, we didn’t even have to worry about J. Edgar Hoover… he hated the Kennedys as much as anybody and he wasn’t about to help Booby find his brother’s killers. He covered up anything his Boy Scouts found. And if somebody found out too much, the CIA took care of the problem.

  • Double Cross: The Story of the Man Who Controlled America, by Sam and Chuck Giancana with Bettina Giancana. Macdonald £16.99.