How to Create a Marilyn Myth

Apr. 29 2008, Published 1:37 p.m. ET

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FODDER FOR FAKERS Monroe Let's say you wanted to lure a scoop-horny, gullible media into promoting your upcoming documentary on Marilyn Monroe. But you didn't want anyone suing you later. Here's how:

Seed your hoax with a kernel of truth. Mine the recently unsealed FBI files (part 2, pages 68-70) you ran across in your research for your Marilyn-murder-conspiracy theory piece. You'll find mention of a 15-minute, 8- or 16-millimeter "'French-type' movie which depicted Marilyn Monroe, deceased actress, in unnatural acts with an unknown male." Around that nugget, craft a myth about a confidential FBI informant who blabbed about the alleged BJ reel. Say he made a copy for himself then left it to his son (also anonymous) when he died. Say you found the son with the help of an 80-year-old retired FBI agent and your lawyer (both anonymous). Say you brokered a deal between the son and a wealthy (anonymous) businessman who promised to lock up the film forever. If asked how you, the only named person to have seen the reel, are sure it's Marilyn, explain that the woman in the film was blonde and had a mole in the right place. Say some other anonymous FBI agents saw it and confirmed it. Say she was "radiant ... She was known for being radiant." (Watch the interviewer eat that one up.)

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