Marilyn Monroe’s short, tragic life is the stuff of American lore. Even people who’ve never seen a Monroe film know she struggled with being a famous blonde sex symbol and had ill-fated romances with some of the most well-known men of the mid-20th century, including Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller and, allegedly, President John Kennedy.
Monroe’s 1962 death of a reported barbiturate overdose at age 36 also is the topic of literary inquiries and conspiracy theories, including the wild idea that she was killed because she threatened to go public about her secret affair with JFK’s younger and equally politically ambitious brother, Robert F. Kennedy.
It turns out that Monroe’s public affair with another famous man — well, sort-of famous — is the subject of a long-simmering but much-debated rumor that’s back in the news this week.
It is that she got pregnant by French film star Yves Montand while she was married to playwright Miller, her second husband.
Three extremely rare photos of Monroe, taken by her close friend Frieda Hall in 1960, are being put up for sale with the claim they show the actress when she was pregnant with Montand’s baby.
To put it in 2019 terms, the photos show the “Some Like It Hot” actress with a noticeable baby bump, the Moments in Time memorabilia company alleges. The photos are being sold for $95,000.
A pregnant & happy Marilyn Monroe. She would be an incredible mother. pic.twitter.com/21QzydQQwa
— kamilla (@wickedvwitch) February 15, 2017
Before Hull died in 2014, she allegedly claimed to a neighbor and friend that Monroe confided in her that she had become pregnant during her affair with Montand, the memorabilia company says. Hull supposedly said she snapped what she dubbed the “pregnant slides” when Monroe, then 34, visited her in New York City in 1960.
That’s the same year that Monroe’s romantic comedy with Montand, “Let’s Make Love,” was released. She played a sexy actress, and he played a billionaire. Montand, also a singer who was better known for his French film roles, died in 1991.
If Monroe was carrying Montand’s baby in 1960, the timing would be inconvenient because of her troubled marriage to the “Death of a Salesman” playwright, according to the memorabilia company.
Monroe had idolized Miller as one of America’s great intellectual thinkers when she married him in 1956. But while filming “The Prince and the Showgirl” with Laurence Olivier, the actress came across notes Miller had made about her, possibly for a new play, biographers say. In these notes, Miler expressed disappointment in the marriage and said he sometimes found her to be embarrassing.
But Monroe also was disappointed that Miller took work in Hollywood, which she thought was beneath his talent, biographers say. But she was especially put out when he did a lackluster rewrite for the script of “Let’s Make Love.”
The film ended up receiving mixed reviews, including for Monroe, whom New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called “untidy” and lacking “in her old Monroe dynamism.”
But the film managed to be a modest box-office success, after Twentieth Century Fox’s PR department played up Monroe and Montand’s affair, which had been covered feverishly in the gossip magazines, according to Turner Classic Movies.
Miller apparently knew about the affair and didn’t object, though Turner Classic Movies said the dalliance was “was another nail in the coffin” of the already shaky marriage.
Still, a pregnancy with Montand could still be a issue, if only because out-of-wedlock births were much frowned in the early 1960s. Monroe also had very much wanted to have a baby with Miller, but it’s well-documented that she she suffered two marriages and an ectopic pregnancy.
It’s alleged that Monroe also lost Montand’s baby, according to the memorabilia company. Hull’s friend and neighbor, Tony Michaels, said she told him the pregnancy ended, though he added it was never made clear whether Monroe lost the baby by way of a miscarriage or abortion.
Fans dispute the idea that Monroe became pregnant with Montand’s baby.
A blog post on the Marilyn Monroe Collection site, which boasts ownership of the largest trove of the actress’ personal property, said “there is no evidence whatsoever” that she became pregnant as a result of her affair with Montand.
“Had Marilyn Monroe been pregnant in 1960 fans would know,” the blog post said.
One reason to doubt the pregnancy claim is that Monroe was very concerned about her public image, so she never would have allowed photos to be taken of her pregnant with the baby of someone who was not her husband, the post says.
Moreover, another friend of Hull’s, who initially inherited the photos and the rest of her estate, was was never told the photos showed Monroe pregnant by Montand’s baby.
Finally, Monroe happened to be carrying some extra weight from 1958 to 1960, before slimming down again in 1961, the year before she died.