Marilyn Monroe’s rebirth came on August 5, 1962, when her housekeeper’s emergency call to paramedics saved her life. Her semi-coherent rant in the ambulance, “It’s all Jack’s fault, I love Jack,” was leaked to the press by an ambulance attendant and led to widespread speculation that President John F. Kennedy and Monroe were having an affair. Kennedy’s public denial, “I did not have sex with that woman.” was refuted by Monroe from her hospital bed, who provided damning evidence in the form of rather explicit love letters. The Republicans overwhelmingly won the house elections the following year, leading new House leader, Gerald Ford to file an article of impeachment against the President, forcing Kennedy to cancel a scheduled trip to Dallas and appear in his own defence before the Senate on November 22, 1963. Though his testimony was considered dubious, he was acquitted by the Senate committee, controlled by a Democrat majority.
Kennedy and was able to repair his popularity with the voters in time for the 1964 election, defeating Barry Goldwater by the slimmest of margins. His marriage, however, did not survive. Jacqueline Bouvier moved to California at the urging of family friend and future husband, Frank Sinatra. Kennedy’s first order of 1965, was an immediate pullout of American forces from Saigon and their relocation to Guantanamo.
With Kennedy’s popularity riding high, public animosity towards Monroe was at a peak. She suspended her acting career until 1968, when she was persuaded to come out of retirement by a friend, Truman Capote, to play the character of ‘Sook’ in his TV drama, ‘A Christmas Memory.’ The medium of television intrigued her, and she had often wondered what it would be like to appear in everyone’s living room. At first, the public was shocked at her appearance — she had dark, greying hair and burgeoning190 pound figure — but she was unfazed.
“Sometimes it happens when one stops eating pills,” she told Life magazine, “and starts eating food, you know real food. I discovered that I like food. There are so many pictures of me as young and skinny, so why should you care what I look like now? I don’t.”
Monroe was nominated and won an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in 1969 for her role. Her passion reignited, she took home the Best Actress Oscar in 1971, for her role as Gudrun Brangwen in Women in Love.
Monroe continued to act in both television and film, taking on roles as mothers and aunts. When Katherine Hepburn was forced to pull out of On Golden Pond due to scheduling conflicts in 1981, Monroe stepped in, heavily made up to look 20 years older, for what was to be her final movie. The following year, she won her second best actress academy award for her role. Monroe retired from acting that year. She had set her mind to helping people with depression and addiction. In 1983, she founded the Norma Jean Baker Clinic in Pasadena, where Jacqueline Sinatra, former wife of President Kennedy was its first patient, treated for addiction to sleeping pills.
In 2004, Monroe, now 78, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by President John Kennedy Jr, at the Mary Pickford Center for the Performing Arts. Reticent to attend, Monroe was finally convinced by her friend of 20 years, Jacqui S, to accept the honour.
Today, Marilyn lives quietly with her three dogs in the same non-descript Brentwood home that she has owned since the late 50s.