Today marks 60 years since Marilyn Monroe was found dead in 1962. Her life has since been celebrated and poured over in the decades since. She was just 36 years old when she died, and her career in Hollywood had seen her become one of the most significant “sex symbols” of the Fifties and early-Sixties, contributing to the era’s “sexual revolution”.
Known typically for her “blonde bombshell” characters, Monroe became much more than that on screen, and was soon the world’s biggest billing actress for a decade.
She remains such an important figure in film history that in 1999 the American Film Institute rated her the sixth greatest female screen star of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
But mystery has always surrounded her death, despite an official investigation into the circumstances by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office ruling it as probable suicide as a result of a barbiturate overdose.
The world mourned the death of the Golden Globe winner, with headlines of her demise printed across the globe.
Those who knew the Californian-born starlet, including some of Hollywood’s biggest names, spoke out to recall their memories of the icon.
Among those who detailed their disbelief was crooner Frank Sinatra.
The 2018 book Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon reviews the alleged “open relationship” between Monroe and Sinatra, with its author Charles Casillo claiming the musician had fallen for her.
He wrote: “Like many men, Frank Sinatra fell under her spell. He treated her like he had never treated any other woman.
“He was very protective of her.”
Oppedisano recalled how Monroe had planned to outline how her relationship with US President John F Kennedy had developed, and that Sinatra was convinced this led to her death.
He said: “Frank believed if the press conference hadn’t been announced, she would have lived a lot longer.
“Frank believed she was murdered, and he never got over it.”
In 2021, Oppedisano spoke to Fox News about Sinatra’s relationship with Monroe, claiming the star had “a special place in his heart for Marilyn”.
He continued: “He felt she was a fragile girl who had been exploited by a lot of people.
“That’s part of the reason why he said, ‘Even though as pretty as she was, as attracted as I was to her, I just couldn’t bring myself to go there physically.’
“That’s something she even tried to pursue with him.
“But he said, ‘I just couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I didn’t want to be another older guy who appeared to take advantage of her and then leave her flat. I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to do that.’”
Following her death, Sinatra was banned from attending Monroe’s funeral by her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio, and other members of her family.
In the days leading up to her passing, Monroe carried out a series of interviews with publications such as Life, Cosmopolitan and Vogue, describing how she was through with fame.
In a Life interview published two days before her death, she said: “Fame is fickle.
“I now live in my work and in a few relationships with the few people I can really count on.
“Fame will go by, and so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle.
“So, at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.”