While Marilyn had seen Jack Kennedy only at intervals since their first meeting in 1954, by early 1962 she was trying to be with him as often as possible. They saw each other whenever Jack was in California, and on at least two occasions during the spring of 1962, Marilyn made a special trip to New York to be with Kennedy.
The first was a black-tie dinner party in the President’s honor given by Fifi Fell, a socialite, in her Park Avenue penthouse. Among the two dozen guests were a number of presidential aides, Ambassador Earl Smith, Peter, Milt Ebbins, and Marilyn. Around seven o’clock, Ebbins and Dave Powers were dispatched to pick Marilyn up at her apartment and bring her to the party. “We got there at about seven- thirty — dinner was at eight — and she wasn’t ready,” Ebbins recalled. “Powers didn’t want to wait for her, so he told me to stay and went back to the party, then sent the limousine back for us.”
As Ebbins sat and waited, he noticed that everything in the apartment was white — the rugs, the ceilings, the walls, the furniture, even a piano. At eight o’clock, Marilyn’s maid told Ebbins that her hairstylist, Kenneth, was finishing up Marilyn’s hair. “She should be out very soon.” At eight-fifteen, the phone rang, and Ebbins picked it up. It was Peter. “Where is she? The President’s here. Everybody’s waiting!”
“She’s not ready yet. I’m sitting here waiting for her.” “C’mon,” Peter shouted. “Dinner’s practically ready!”
At eight-thirty, the maid announced to Ebbins that Marilyn was done with Kenneth and should be out in just a few minutes. By nine o’clock, there was still no Marilyn. Peter called again. “You son of a bitch!” he screamed. Ebbins could hear Dave Powers in the background, threatening him with physical violence.
By nine-thirty, Ebbins couldn’t take it anymore. He opened Marilyn’s door and walked into her bedroom. He saw her sitting at her vanity table, naked, staring at herself in the mirror. “Marilyn, for crissakes,” he said. “Come on! The President’s waiting, everybody’s waiting.”
Marilyn looked at him dreamily. “Oh,” she said finally. “Will you help me on with my
“So I’m watching this giant international movie superstar standing there stark
naked in her high heels,” Ebbins recalled. “She puts a scarf over her hair so it won’t get
mussed and pulls this beaded dress over her head. This dress was so tight it took me
ten minutes to pull it down over her ass! She says, ‘Take it easy. Don’t tear the beads.’
I’m on my knees inching this dress down over her ass and my face is right at her
crotch. But I’m not thinking of anything but getting her to that goddamn party.”
Finally, at ten o’clock, Monroe was ready. Ebbins was astounded. “Whew, did she look sensational — like a princess. I said to her, ‘Jesus Christ, you sure are pretty.’ She just said, ‘Thank you.’”
Marilyn put a red wig over her hair, slipped on dark glasses, and rode in the limousine with Milt to Park Avenue. When they arrived, over fifty photographers were milling around the lobby of the building, hoping to capture some of the celebrities attending the party upstairs as they left. Not one of them recognized Marilyn. When she got off the elevator three Secret Service men watched her slip off the wig, take off the glasses and become Marilyn Monroe again.
As she and Ebbins entered the apartment, Jack Kennedy had his back to them. He turned around, smiled at Marilyn, and said, “Hi!” She sashayed up to him and he took her arm. “Come on,” he said to her. “I want you to meet some people.” As they walked away, Marilyn looked back at Milt Ebbins and winked.
For a few seconds, Ebbins thought he was in the clear. Then someone grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled him into a bedroom. It was Peter, red with fury. “You son of a bitch!” he hissed, and raised his fist, measuring Milt for a punch. Dave Powers grabbed Ebbins by the collar and tore open his shirt at the neck.
Ebbins managed to calm the two men down, and it was then that he learned that there had been no dinner. “Everybody just ate hors d’oeuvres and drank and got blind drunk and happy as larks,” he recalled being told. “Nobody cared about dinner after a while. They told me the chef tried to jump out the window. Here he had cooked a fabulous dinner for the President of the United States and nobody ate it!”