- Johnny Hyde to Marilyn Monroe
"You're going to be a great movie star."
"It's hard for a star to get an eating job, a star is only good as a star. You don't fit into anything less. Yes, it's there. I can feel it. I see a
hundred actresses a week. They haven't got what you have. Do you know what I am talking about?"
- Marilyn Monroe on Johnny Hyde
"He not only knew me, he knew Norma Jeane too. He knew all the pain and all the desperate things in me. When he put his arms
around me and said he loved me, I knew it was true. Nobody had ever loved me like that. I wished with all my heart that I could love
him back...it was like being with a whole family and belonging to a full set of relatives."
"Johnny Hyde was more than twice my age, a gentle, kind, brilliant man, and I had never known anyone like him. He had a great
charm and warmth. It was Johnny Hyde who inspired me to read good books and enjoy good music."
"Johnny Hyde gave me more than kindness and love. He was the first man I had ever known who understood me. Most men (and
women) thought I was scheming and two-faced. No matter how truthfully I spoke to them or how honestly I behaved, they always
believed I was trying to fool them."
In Marilyn's early Starlet years, one of the most important people in her life, for both her career and her well being, was none other
than Johnny Hyde...
Hyde was born Ivan Haidabura in 1896 in Europe, the son of a family of Russian acrobat's who brought him to America in 1906.
Johnny Hyde was indeed the man most credited to having discovered Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn herself always acknowledged Johnny
Hyde. If there had been no Johnny Hyde, one can assuredly contend that there never would have been a Marilyn Monroe like we had.
As with many things Marilyn, versions differ as to when Marilyn Monroe and Johnny Hyde met. Some believe it was on New Year's
Eve 1948 at a party hosted by Producer Sam Spiegel, or it's said they met at the Racquet Club in Palm Springs in 1949.
The fifty three year old Hyde had a family of four sons and a wife of long standing, her name was Mozelle Cravens Hyde.
He had also established himself as one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood. Among his clients Hyde had counted Rita
Hayworth, Betty Hutton, Bob Hope, Esther Williams, and Lana Turner. By the time he met Marilyn, he was vice president of the
William Morris Agency, the most powerful agency in Hollywood. He was also seriously ill with a heart condition.
Marilyn Monroe was 22 years old when she first met Hyde. She was in budding good health, hungry, and without a studio.
She was also still in love with Fred Karger.
Marilyn quickly became Johnny Hyde's girl, but to think of their relationship in purely those terms is to slight and demean it. Johnny
Hyde fell completely in love with Marilyn. He became her agent/manager/advisor/confidant/teacher/mentor/lover/friend and
general purpose companion.
Within a few months Hyde left his wife and moved to a beautiful home with Marilyn at 718 North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills.
To fend off prying eyes Marilyn kept a room at the Beverly Carlton Hotel on West Olympic Drive.
Hyde pleaded, repeatedly, for Marilyn to marry him. She declined, as she did love him but was not "in love" with him. Hyde told her
she'd inherit his fortune when he died if they were married. Joseph Schenck reportedly tried too to talk Marilyn into marrying Hyde,
but she still declined.
Johnny Hyde still did everything he could for Marilyn, dedicated himself body and soul to making her the star she became. He bought
out Marilyn's contract from her first agent Harry Lipton. He had to almost literally shove Marilyn's footage and photos down the
husky-voiced throats of every studio executive in Hollywood. And if they did consider Marilyn, they later rejected her as not having
"star quality". Besides, she was, in their eyes, just another blonde, sleeping with just another powerful agent.
Differing versions say that Hyde had seen an advanced screening of the Marx Brother's film Love Happy before they met, and it was
this first sight of her that aroused Hyde's initial interest in her. The other version has Hyde persuading Lester Cowan to add her to the
film. He next arranged for her to audition at Fox for a chorus line part in the musical Western A Ticket To Tomahawk.
Hyde continued to call in favors until his weak heart began to give out. He arranged a screen test for a movie called Cold Shoulder. He
smoothed the path for her into minor roles in Right Cross and Hometown Story.
Finally, in tandem with Metro's Lucille Ryman, Hyde got her the significant break she needed. He arranged for Marilyn to read for
John Huston for a part in The Asphalt Jungle, released in 1950. The film became a breakthrough role for Marilyn, and things got a
little easier for Johnny Hyde. Following The Asphalt Jungle Hyde obtained the heavyweight Joe Mankiewicz picture, All About Eve as
From the success of these two major films Hyde was able to negotiate a new all important seven year option studio contract for
Marilyn at 20th Century-Fox. Though he never lived to enjoy the realization of his prophecy, Johnny Hyde did live long enough to
secure the future of the woman he loved...
When Hyde had the first of the series of heart attacks, Marilyn was not with him. Depending on the source, she was nearby having a
costume fitting for As Young As You Feel, on which, incidentally, she met Arthur Miller for the first time. Or she was on a trip to
Tijuana with Natasha Lytess.
Hyde died on December 18, 1950. Marilyn told Elia Kazan that she had been at the hospital when he died, outside of his room; she
could hear him calling her name, but his family would not let her in.
His last words to secretary Dona Holloway were reportedly, "Be sure Marilyn is treated as one of the family". Holloway did not have
the power to carry out his wishes. After his death the family threw Marilyn out of the home where she had lived with Hyde, and
repossessed all of the jewelry and clothes he had given her. Although Hyde had instructed his lawyers that his wishes were to leave her
a third of his estate, he had not actually revised his will, so Marilyn received nothing.
The family also forbid Marilyn from attending the funeral. Marilyn did however go veiled and dressed in black with Natasha Lytess to
Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills. Versions differ as to what happened here; she either threw herself sobbing on his coffin, or
with more self-possession plucked a single white rose from the spray on the coffin, to preserve for years between the pages of a bible.
After Johnny's death Marilyn was extremely upset. She was overcome by sudden bouts of tears, and for months was withdrawn and
reserved. She reputedly made a suicide attempt at this time, Natasha Lytess, with whom she was staying discovered her in time.
- Mozelle Hyde
"It's happened, and I can't do anything about it."
"I tried to take it for a long time, but in the end, it was impossible. I'm a tolerant person, but there is always a limit. I remember once
Jimmy (her son) was down in the cellar, looking over some old things of his father's and he found Marilyn's nude calendar. He brought
it upstairs, but I was so annoyed over that whole business, I made him get rid of it."
- Sources: The Unabridged Marilyn & The Marilyn Encyclopedia