The Beauties & The Beasts: The Mob in Show Business by Hank Messick

An excerpt from The Beauties & The Beasts: The Mob in Show Business by Hank Messick, a book that examines the relation of the mob and famous people.

THE BEAUTIES & THE BEASTS: THE MOB IN SHOW BUSINESS. By Hank Messick. New York: David McKay Co., Inc., 1973.

About the book: THE BEAUTIES & THE BEASTS explores the interrelationships of organized crime with such show business personalities as Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Fanny Brice, Jill St. John, George Raft, Joe E. Lewis, and Frank Sinatra. Crime reporter Hank Messick probes Jean Harlow's involvement in a murder and its subsequent cover-up; the Mob's high-level contacts with some of the major studios and banks; Bugsy Siegel's attempt to sell Mussolini the secret of the atomic bomb, and organized crime's abortive attempt to use Robert Kennedy's association with Marilyn Monroe, and Marilyn's suicidal tendencies, for blackmail.

From the book: When Humphrey Bogart died of cancer in 1957, Frank Sinatra attempted to take over "Bogie's" image as the leader of Hollywood's middle-aged delinquents. Bogart had done what came naturally, but Sinatra seemed to be playing a part--a part dictated by a need to cultivate an ego that would conceal a basic insecurity. To fight with reporters, consort with gangsters, curry favor with the politically powerful, and throw money around as if it was meaningless--all was part of the pattern. Bogart was an admirer of Franklin Roosevelt, a cynic about Douglas Mac-Arthur, in both cases as a matter of principle. Sinatra supported men in power; their politics were immaterial. His passion was aroused only when his vanity was hurt, and the price of his friendship was "respect."

Although not a member of "the clan," Marilyn Monroe had an enduring friendship with Sinatra which lasted from her early days in films until the time of her death and he was one of the few to whom she confided the then well-kept secret of her romance with Robert Kennedy.

While one can wonder if Kennedy knew that Marilyn and Sinatra were still friends, there can be no doubt that he was completely unaware that she had told Sinatra about their affair. For Kennedy knew in the early summer of 1962 that Sinatra hated his very guts. And he knew also that Sinatra's gangster associates would do anything to destroy him. The Kennedy-ordered investigation even then under way into the true ownership of Las Vegas casinos and the distribution of the "off the top" skim threatened to undermine the entire structure of organized crime.

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