Daily Mail

The ultimate sex symbol for men. But did Marilyn only love women?

Fifty years after her death, an author who met Monroe as a teenager asks a tantalisin­g question . . .


wonderful mother and it would have saved her life if only she could have had children.’

Another female star Marilyn pursued and propositio­ned was Judy Garland, who married three gay men among her five husbands.

‘One night at a party, Marilyn followed me from room to room,’ said Garland. “I don’t want to get too far away from you,” she said.’

Shortly before Marilyn signed with Columbia Pictures in 1948, she met Natasha Lytess, a failed actress who was a drama coach at the studio.

‘I want to recreate you,’ she told Marilyn. ‘I shall mould you into the great actress I suspect you can be. But to do so, you must submit to me. Do you understand?’

Natasha’s dominant intentions were clear. In 1950, Marilyn moved into her apartment while she was being escorted by a new father-figure, the venerable Hollywood agent Johnny Hyde. When Hyde died from a heart attack in December 1950, Natasha rescued Marilyn from a suicide attempt with a drug overdose.

Marilyn told her close friend, actor Ted Jordan, that she and Natasha were sleeping together. ‘Why not?’ she said. ‘Sex is something you do with people you like. What could be wrong with a natural act?’

Natasha told Marilyn: ‘ You’re wonderful. I love you.’

Marilyn said of Natasha: ‘She was a great teacher, but she got really jealous about the men I saw. She thought she was my husband!’

NATASHA detested the baseball player Joe DiMaggio, whom Marilyn started to date in 1952 and later married. He always referred to Lytess unflatteri­ngly as ‘Morticia’.

‘If it were up to me,’ he said, ‘Morticia would take a long walk off a short pier. Maybe I could get through to Marilyn if I didn’t have this broad to deal with. This broad is gonna ruin her, I’m telling you.’

In the transcript­s of her taped sessions with Dr Ralph Greenson, Marilyn also admits to a full-blown lesbian encounter with the rampantly bisexual Joan Crawford.

‘Oh yes, Crawford,’ she says. ‘ We went to Joan’s bedroom. Crawford had a gigantic orgasm and shrieked like a maniac. Credit Natasha with that. She could teach more than acting. Next time I saw Crawford, she wanted another round … after I turned her down, she became spiteful.’

Crawford was succeeded in Marilyn’s lesbian adventures by two other veteran Hollywood stars, Barbara Stanwyck and Marlene Dietrich.

After Marilyn’s divorce from Joe DiMaggio in 1954, DiMaggio confided to the New York newspaper columnist Walter Winchell that the real cause of the breakdown of the marriage was Marilyn’s preference for her own sex.

Her final break with Natasha Lytess was brutal. Marilyn moved to New York and began studying at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg and his wife, Paula, with whom Monroe establishe­d yet another strongly homoerotic relationsh­ip. Natasha was simply dumped. Dropped from the payroll at 20th Century Fox, she tried to contact Marilyn, who refused to take her calls.

She once arrived unannounce­d where Marilyn was staying, only to find the agent, Lew Wasserman, barring the door and telling her: ‘Your engagement with the studio is none of Miss Monroe’s concern.’ As Natasha left, she saw Marilyn staring down at her from a window with a blank expression. They never saw each other again.

Before her death from cancer in 1964, Natasha said of Marilyn: ‘The truth is, my life and feelings were very much in her hands. I was the older one, the teacher, but she knew the depth of my attachment to her, and she exploited those feelings as only a beautiful younger person can. She said she was the needy one. Alas, it was the reverse.’

Following Marilyn’s marriage to playwright Arthur Miller in 1956, Paula Strasberg accompanie­d them to London as Marilyn’s acting coach, and assumed an even more dominant role in her life than Natasha had done.

This relationsh­ip also had strong lesbian undertones. The British movie star Jean Kent, who appeared with Marilyn in The Prince And The Showgirl, says: ‘Marilyn would not make a single move or take a single step without Paula’s approval. Someone heard Paula telling her that she was the most popular person on earth, more popular even than Jesus!’

Five years later, having returned to the U.S., Marilyn was to have another liaison with a woman — this time one of the biggest stars in the world.

On June 7, 1961, at Frank Sinatra’s cabaret opening at the Sands, Las Vegas, she had a one- off sexual encounter with her rival as the Queen of Hollywood, Elizabeth Taylor, who was six years her junior.

‘Her touch was electric,’ wrote Taylor of Marilyn in her diary. ‘I wanted to see how far the bitch would go. But she had to do all the work.’

Marilyn’s marriage to Arthur Miller had proved as unsatisfyi­ng sexually as those to Dougherty and DiMaggio, and they divorced in January 1961. After that, she became something of a loner.

Though much has been written about Marilyn’s relations with the Kennedys, and she remained both before and after her death perhaps the ultimate sex symbol for men, Dr Ralph Greenson affirmed that Monroe ‘was not sexually involved with either Kennedy brother or with any other man at the end of her life.’

Was it because, amid the emotional wreckage of so much of her life, she had found her greatest happiness with women?

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