While Kreiner went on to pursue a thriving career, Monroe would be plagued with tragedy.
In the last few years of her life, Monroe suffered several setbacks. After “Some Like it Hot,” her last two films – 1960’s “Let’s Make Love” and 1961’s “The Misfits” – were box office disappointments, The New York Times reported. And after completion of “The Misfits,” which was written by Miller, the couple filed for divorced just one week before the film’s opening.
History.com also shared that by 1961, Monroe was under the constant care of a psychiatrist and “lived as a virtual recluse” in her Brentwood, Los Angeles, home. In 1962, Monroe was found dead at age 36 from a barbiturate overdose.
Sally said Kreiner was heartbroken by the news.
“He said it was too bad something like this happened to her,” said Sally. “Even at that time, there were a lot of rumors and questions. He certainly didn’t have an answer for it. And I don’t know if anyone ever really did get an answer for what happened to her and why… She became such a celebrity overnight. And that just became so much bigger than her.”
“But despite everything that was said about her, she did had a certain quality, a remarkable quality,” continued Sally. “You just see her and you wish you could have known her. She’s ethereal, but earthy too. And she possessed a certain charm, an American charm. You think of all the celebrities in Hollywood today, how many of them have exactly what she had. I don’t think people can ever really totally figure out her magic. She’s still mystical.”
While Sally didn’t get to meet Monroe, she did get a glance at another famous subject of her husband’s — the infamous cult leader Charles Manson. After the horrifying murders that rocked California in 1969 by the Manson family, including that of pregnant movie star Sharon Tate, Kreiner was sent to Los Angeles to cover the story.
“He wanted me to come out and help him, which I did because I knew he was going to be gone for so long,” recalled Sally. “I went to one of the trials. I saw Manson come in and he just looks the way he does in newspapers and magazines. The only striking thing about him was his eyes. They were piercing, very magnetic. It made him very scary. That was the only time I ever saw him in person.”
“[My husband] had more fun photographing Marilyn, that’s for sure,” she joked.
Kreiner, who came to Winter Haven, Fla., from New York in 1984, passed away in 2005 at age 78 from heart failure.
Sally said she hopes her husband images will not only keep his legacy alive but also show a new side to a woman who continues to be one of the most famous in the world.
“What you see is what my husband saw in her,” she said. “He really didn’t see her as a sex symbol. He saw her as a lovely person with a great smile.”