Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrity FBI Files

Marilyn Monroe
After the death of Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe in 1963, the FBI launched an investigation into numerous alternative theories about her overdose on sleeping pills. The probe focused on speculation that the sex symbol killed herself after a married man with whom she was having an affair broke off their relationship. The probe also sought to disprove rumors that the "right-wing" agents of the FBI and CIA or the Mafia had an interest in Monroe's death as a means of embarrassing Robert F. Kennedy, who was also reputed to be having an affair with her.

Michael Jackson
The FBI investigation of singer Michael Joseph Jackson stemmed from two California police investigations into allegations of child molestation. The first arose in 1993, requesting that the FBI investigate questions regarding "possible federal violation against Jackson concerning transportation of a minor across state lines for immoral purposes (Mann Act)." The FBI decided not to pursue the possible violations of the Mann act and instead acted in a supportive role to police investigators. The Los Angeles District Attorney decided not to pursue charges, and Jackson settled out of court with his accusers.
In early 2004, the FBI provided computer analysis for a second investigation into allegations of child molestation by Jackson, for which he was tried and acquitted.
The FBI also considered a request by local law enforcement to provide security at Jackson's trial because the "proceedings could represent a soft target for terrorism due to the worldwide media coverage the case is receiving," one FBI document said. 

Frank Sinatra
In addition to the numerous artistic honors bestowed upon crooner Frank Sinatra throughout his life, Ol' Blue Eyes also earned the dubious distinction of garnering the most voluminous FBI file ever compiled on an entertainer. But the bulk of the allegations contained within nearly 1300 pages of reports regarding his alleged Mafia ties never made it to a grand jury. Sinatra's name was included alongside the names of members from the Gambino, Lucco and Carillo crime families, who were accused of extorting a New York stockbroker who sold them $100,000 worth of stocks.

John Wayne
John Wayne was never investigated by the FBI, but a relatively short file reveals numerous extortion threats made against him, along with miscellaneous material pertaining to the anti-communist efforts Wayne was involved in during his time in Hollywood.

Beach Boys
The Beach Boys' affinity for psychedelic drugs and battles with depression have been widely reported, but a large chunk of the FBI's files on the clean-cut band of brothers includes threats on their lives and those of their loved ones.

Albert Einstein
The FBI's investigation of the famous physicist stemmed largely from his affiliation with the Communist Party. Einstein was a member, sponsor, or affiliated with thirty-four communist groups between 1937 and 1954. He also served as honorary chairman for three communist organizations.

Lucille Ball
A 142-page report was culled on comedian Lucille Ball after she gave testimony at the 1953 House Select Committee on Un-American Activities hearings indicating that she registered to vote as a Communist in 1936 at the behest of her grandfather. Ball's husband on-air and in real life, Desi Arnaz, apparently became the subject of J. Edgar Hoover's ire after he began production on the TV series "The Untouchables," which sought to portray stories from FBI files.

Andy Warhol
FBI files on pop icon Andy Warhol chiefly concerned his production company, Andy Warhol Films, Incorporated, and the making of the film, "Lonesome Cowboys." During the film shoot at Rancho Linda Vista Guest Ranch in Oracle, Arizona, a number of complaints alleged that obscene activities were portrayed in the film, and the agency came in to investigate suspicions of interstate transportation of obscene matter. During the film's editing phase, Warhol was shot and nearly killed by Valerie Solanas.

Jackie Gleason
Three memos on the star of "The Honeymooners" detail the FBI's efforts in locating Gleason's absentee father, Herbert, who abandoned his family in 1925, when Jackie was only 8 years old. The memos also express interest in making Gleason a special agent contact because of the gratitude he showed toward the bureau for its assistance.

John Lennon
The FBI assembled about 300 pages of files on John Lennon in 1971-72, allegedly as part of President Nixon's effort to deport Lennon to silence him as a critic of the war in Vietnam. The released files indicate that agents began monitoring the former Beatle because they believed he might try to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention (at which Nixon was nominated for a second term as president).

Charlie Chaplin
The FBI's files on Chaplin relate largely to his politics, and an investigation into paternity claims from a protégé of Chaplin, actress Joan Barry. The FBI became involved when Chaplin was accused of violating the so-called "White Slave Traffic Act," which barred taking people across state lines for illicit sexual purposes, because of his travels with Barry. The investigations took place between 1943 and 1945, when the charges were dropped.

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