A New Book Reveals
Why Frank Sinatra Believed Marilyn
Monroe Was Murdered
By Liz McNeil, June 02, 2021
Tony Oppedisano's memoir Sinatra and Me: In The Wee
Small Hours is excerpted in this week's PEOPLE.
tried to paint the portrait of a man very few people got to know as well as I did,"
Oppedisano says fondly. "I think he knew someday I'd share
the stories he wanted the world to know."
While the events surrounding
what really happened on August 4, 1962 when the star was found dead from a drug overdose remain a
mystery, Sinatra's close confidant and
former road manager Tony Oppedisano,
whose memoir Sinatra and Me: In The Wee Small
Hours, is excerpted in this week's
PEOPLE, says the singer didn't believe it was an accidental overdose.
"Frank believed she was murdered," he writes,
"and he never got over it."
Marilyn Monroe and Frank
Marilyn Monroe 'spent her
last night with mafia boss Sam Giancana at Frank Sinatra's lodge.
According to Oppedisano, Sinatra and Monroe were close friends but not lovers. While
Sinatra thought she was beautiful and funny, he writes, "Frank
felt she was too troubled, too fragile, for him to sleep with and then walk away."
She did however confide her most intimate secrets
including her affairs with John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy.
Sinatra and Me by tony Oppedisano
When the affairs ended abruptly, he continues, "Marilyn
told Frank she didn't understand why they'd shut her out completely once she stopped having sex with
The weekend before her death, the actress spent time at the famous Cal Neva Lodge, outside of
Lake Tahoe, partially owned by Sinatra.
What the world didn't know, the author reveals, was that she was
there to spend time with her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio who was staying nearby and
that she had decided to make a press announcement the following week that they were getting back
Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy
Credit: Cefcil Stoughton/The Life Picture Collection/Getty
The news of a press conference sparked a rumor that Monroe was going to
share details of her relationships with JFK and RFK. But, Oppedisano writes, "Frank said she'd never have spilled about the Kennedys because she still had
feelings for [Jack.]"
And he says, "Frank believed if the press conference
hadn't been announced, she would have lived a lot longer."
Within days of Monroe's death, he writes, Sinatra's attorney Mickey
Rudin, who also worked with Monroe
, told him that the actress had been killed. It was a rumor also circulating among Mob
Boss Sam Giancana's men, some of whom claimed involvement.
According to the book, Sinatra had several
sources who told him the same story: "She'd been murdered
with a Nembutal suppository and Robert Kennedy or the Mob was involved."
Over five decades later, the truth remains a mystery. "Conspiracy theories abound and I can't lay
them to rest," writes Oppedisano. What he does know, is that Sinatra remained haunted by her death.
She was one of the many friends, including his Rat Pack pals Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, whom he reminisced about in his later years
when they talked, often until dawn, at the singer's beloved Palm Springs compound.
The stories were long held private but now 23 years after
Sinatra's death, Oppedisano hopes by sharing them, he can show the human side of the music icon.
"I tried to paint the portrait of a man very few people got
to know as well as I did," he says fondly. "I
think he knew someday I'd share the stories he wanted the world to know."