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Fred Otash might not be a household name these days, but in the 1950s and 1960s, he was the go-to guy for Hollywood celebrities when they needed dirt uncovered, a scandal buried or an ex spied on. Over the course of about ten years from 1955 to 1965, he worked for some of the era’s most powerful magazines, interacted with some of the most famous people on Earth, provided inspiration for the movie Chinatown and committed an untold number of crimes. Now, some of his files have come to light, and not surprisingly, they’ve got more than a few stories to share.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, arguably the craziest two stories inside his extensive network of files involve Rock Hudson and Marilyn Monroe. Otash was reportedly hired by Hudson’s wife Phyllis to look into her husband’s homosexuality. Over the course of his duties, he allegedly recorded conversations between the couple, including one he transcribed that featured Phyllis asking Rock why he didn’t last longer sexually when they were together and whether he lasted longer when he was with boys. Apparently, he did and was willing to admit it.
As for Monroe, Otash’s notes indicate he was outside of JFK’s brother in law Peter Lawford’s beach house in Malibu the night the famed actress died. He allegedly overheard arguments about Monroe’s promiscuous nature, and Kennedy wound up storming off. If true, that’s a hell of a story, but when it comes to private detectives, especially ones as flamboyant as Otash, everything always needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
Moving forward, Otash’s legacy, or at least a version of his legacy, will be chronicled in a new television program. Here’s to hoping it lives up to his crazy life.