Marilyn was open, happy like flower
Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, September 22, 1962 [View Scan Version]
By Joe Hyams

Article Submitted by: Stacy Eubank

Immediately following Marilyn Monroe’s death I kept trying to find Ralph Roberts, who was reported variously to be her chauffeur, bodyguard and – or masseur. In addition to all those things he is a well-known actor and was a close friend of Marilyn’s and probably one of the last people to see her alive. It was never reported that Ralph Roberts had given Miss Monroe a massage on the morning before her death.

I saw him during the critical period only once: at Marilyn’s funeral where he was one of the few invited guests but that was hardly time for talk.

Last week, Ralph Roberts was in Hollywood for a role in Arthur Godfrey’s television spectacular, CBS-TV City. The urgency had passed, but I went over for a visit with him to ask about Marilyn. Mr. Roberts, who is a big brute of a man with a surprisingly gentle voice and a kind, open face, said that since Miss Monroe’s death, he has been unable to sleep at night.

"I play some of Marilyn’s favorite records like Janice Mars’ ‘I Don’t Think I’ll End it All Today,’" he said. "I remember the first time Marilyn heard Janice sing that song. She said ‘It’s true. There are so many good things in life.’

"And I remember how Marilyn hated light and loved the dark. I used to massage her at her house. I gave her a massage that last day in the morning from 9 to 10:15. She was in wonderful shape and not tense. But if it was nighttime and I massaged her, she insisted on having the lights off. She couldn’t sleep with the lights on and she loved to have a massage to relax her, and then sometimes she’d fall asleep on my table.

"What I remember best about Marilyn were things like being in San Francisco with her riding cable cars back and forth. Nobody recognized her. One time she said to me, ‘You know, Ralph, I know what "Streetcar Named Desire" is now. It’s the whole past, the whole future and the whole present combined – uphill and downhill.’

"Back in the days when Marilyn first decided she wanted to be an acress rather than a star, she got a book, "The Thinking Body," by Mabel Ellsworth Todd. From it Marilyn got the basic exercise called "the pelvic girdle" and she developed the walk that made her famous. She always carried a copy of that book with her."