LAKE TAHOE (CBS) — Marilyn Monroe was America’s sex symbol and one of the most iconic stars in the industry. But 50 years after her death, there are still conspiracy theories about how and where she died.
Some people believe she didn’t die in Los Angeles, but instead, at the Cal Neva Resort at Lake Tahoe.
“Something about Marilyn was unique and special, there was an inner drive of some sort that pushed her more than anyone else,” said Greg Schreiner, President and Founder of “Marilyn Remembered” Fan Club.
Schreiner’s home is a shrine. He is one of the world’s foremost collectors of Marilyn memorabilia.
“Here we have Marilyn’s costume from ‘Let’s Make Love,’” Schreiner said, describing one of the pieces from his collection.
While his collection celebrates Marilyn’s life, it’s the manner in which she died that continues to fascinate and intrigue.
“One of the most famous stars in Hollywood history is dead at 36. Marilyn Monroe was found dead in bed,” reported by news agencies on August 5th, 1962.
Reports said she died in her home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. But most theorists don’t believe the story officials laid out.
“There was definitely a vast cover-up as it relates to Marilyn Monroe’s death,” said Jay Margolis, author of a new book titled “Marilyn Monroe: A Case For Murder.”
“And this was where the rich and elite used to come and this was their private playground,” said Hans Weig, tour guide at the Cal Neva Resort.
Weig leads tours of the Cal Neva Resort and Casino on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, regaling tourists with tales of the glory years.
From 1960 to 1963, this was the place the Rat Pack called their home away from home.
Straddling the border of Nevada and California, it offered a taste of Sin City, with comforts of home. An owner was none other than Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.
“Cabin #4 is where Dean Martin, Bobby Kennedy, Sammy Davis Junior, JFK, anyone who was a close personal friend of Frank would stay in cabin #4. Marilyn Monroe used to stay in cabin #3. It was known as the girl’s cabin,” said Weig.
One of the last photos ever taken of Monroe was at the Cal Neva, Frank Sinatra behind her and entertainer Buddy Greco smiling on cloud 9.
Greco confirmed with CBS by phone what had happened.
“I was sitting with Frank, outside Frank’s bungalow when a limousine pulls up and this gorgeous woman in dark glasses steps out. You’d never believe that she had a care in the world,” Greco said.
But that carefree weekend would be her last.
Most historians agree Marilyn Monroe endured a terrible ordeal during her stay here, just days before her death.
“She was molested by two mobsters, Skinny Damato and Johnny Roselli,” said Margolis.
“She had stayed here for only two days, she decided to leave abruptly and she had overdosed that day as well,” said Weig.
The Cal Neva’s seclusion, owned by a celebrity to protect celebrities, hid it all.
“These are the original tunnels that were built in the 20s and the only thing that survived in 1937,” said Weig about a fire that destroyed the resort.
The tunnels were used to run liquor up from the lake and hide comings and goings of gangsters, celebrities, and politicians.
Mysterious copper mesh still lines the walls, likely meant to foil wiretaps.
“To shield your conversation if anyone wanted to record what you were saying, like federal agents.” said Weig.
But why do some say Marilyn did not overdose in her home, but rather at the Cal Neva? The source is George Masters, Marilyn’s hairdresser and the audio tapes he made in 1998.
In those tapes, Masters said Marilyn was not in Southern California on August 4th, but at Lake Tahoe, at the Cal Neva. Masters said he knew this because he was with her.
“She reportedly flew back…a lot of people think maybe she didn’t take a plane, maybe she was driven down to Brentwood, California and if she was conscious or not, nobody knows… so if Marilyn Monroe did die here, she died in the heart shaped bed that used to be here,” said Weig.
Monroe researcher and author Jay Margolis scoffs at George Masters’ claim and at the idea that the mob was behind her death.
“The evidence in my book shows there was no mafia involvement, there was no FBI or CIA trying to do her in. They may have been listening in,” said Margolis.
But we do know what police found when they were called to her home on August 5th. A naked, disheveled Marilyn, in bed, clothes on the floor, a dresser the only other real furniture in the room.
That dresser is a part of Schreiner’s collection.
“This is the dresser that was there the night she died. So if it could talk it could tell us exactly what happened that night in her bedroom,” said Schreiner.
Author Jay Margolis believes Monroe’s psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, murdered her at the request of Bobby Kennedy, via a mostly undetectable enema.
The reason? He says not only was Monroe having an affair with the Kennedy brothers but also Greenson.
And he believes Greenson was tricked by Bobby Kennedy into thinking Monroe was going to reveal her affairs with all of them.
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