By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
How I came to star opposite Marilyn Monroe in her last film. Well, sort of.
Marilyn died August 5, 1962 and was interred August 8 at Westwood Memorial Park. It’s a very, very high-priced piece of real estate, eternal home to some formerly powerful people. I, along with five or six other policemen, was assigned crowd control. No one knew how many people were expected but we assumed a quiet, respectful group.
My post was on a lawn approximately 75-80 yards from the crypt. My share of the crowd was separated from me by a low wall. They were mostly tourists and watched very intently but, as expected, respectfully.
A middle-aged woman identified herself as part of a group from Des Moines and asked me if I could point out anyone important for her to film with her home movie camera. A large sun shade had been set up at the crypt due to the August heat and the area was in shade. Joe DiMaggio was easy, as was his son in military uniform, but as to the balance of the mourners, I had not a clue. (I found out later services were by invite only and restricted to 25-30 people.)
At this point, Ms. Des Moines asked me a question I could not pass up.
She: I understand Marilyn’s first husband was a Los Angeles police officer. Do you know if he is here?”
Now, the devil took hold of my being and I had no control over what happened next.
I put on the saddest face I could muster, bit my lip, dabbed at my eyes and with a big sigh turned away from her. I heard a murmur from the crowd and looked back to see several of them filming me.
Now I never, ever, said who I was but just let her think whatever she wanted to. And run with it.
I can only imagine I am the star of someone’s home movie in Iowa. And with apologies to Bogart and Casablanca: “We will always have Des Moines.”