- In 1964, the FBI sent then-Attorney General Robert “Bobby” Kennedy information about a forthcoming book purporting to reveal his affair with Marilyn Monroe.
- The author, who often dabbled in “extremely questionable” allegations, according to the Bureau, published the 70-page book for $2 a copy.
- This unexpected bit of history comes from the release of 2,800 previously classified JFK files.
In the summer of 1964, the FBI spent two weeks investigating a tip from author Frank Capell that he was publishing a 70-page book outlining Bobby Kennedy’s alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe, accusing him and the Kennedy clan of being responsible for her death.
This unexpected bit of history comes from the release of over 2,800 previously classified documents about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963. President Donald Trump allowed the release of the so-called JFK files on Thursday.
It has long been rumored that Bobby Kennedy — who was married to Ethel Kennedy — had an affair with Monroe after JFK “passed her off to his brother,” as People puts it.
“Did the trouble begin when Marilyn realized that her VIP had no intention of getting a divorce and marrying her?” Capell wrote in the “The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe,” labeling Bobby Kennedy “VIP.” He added, “Since Marilyn could destroy him either by talking or with written evidence, did he decide to take drastic action?”
Capell went on to accuse Kennedy of using “the Communist Conspiracy which is an expert in the scientific elimination of its enemies” to murder Monroe.
In official memos, the FBI calls the rumored affair and allegation that Kennedy was with Monroe when she died “utterly false.” Kennedy was the attorney general at the time, and thus oversaw the Bureau, raising questions about why FBI agents might have been looking into potentially salacious material about their boss.
Monroe died on August 5, 1962 at her home in Los Angeles. The coroner concluded it was “probably suicide” from a barbiturate overdose.
“The above allegation concerning the Attorney General has been previously circulated and has been branded as false as the Attorney General was actually in San Francisco with his wife at the time Marilyn Monroe committed suicide,” an FBI agent from New York wrote.
The New York office was instructed to “follow this matter very closely,” and send two copies of Capell’s book to FBI headquarters once they were published so Kennedy could be “kept advised.”
On July 15, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent Kennedy a copy of the book, writing that Capell “claims that you had a close relationship with Miss Monroe.”
In March 1976, Sen. Frank Church requested “all FBI materials pertaining to communications between FBI Director Hoover and Attorney General Robert Kennedy with respect to the publication of a book about Marilyn Monroe by Frank Capell,” suggesting he may have known such communications existed. In April, the FBI complied.
That’s the last document in the entry named “Marilyn Monroe” in the JFK files.
Church conducted a far-reaching investigation into US intelligence agencies after Watergate. The Monroe files he requested fell under the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, and were released to the public on October 26, 2017.