Teen-age Jeanne Carmen left rural Arkansas for New York City with dreams of becoming a star. She worked as a burlesque dancer and posed for pin-up pictures in the 1950s. She was also an expert trick-shot golfer. Jeanne and her manager would tour country clubs and hustle unsuspecting members, betting on whether or not this demure girl could make a difficult shot. Of course, she could.
In her early 20s, she met Chicago mobster Johnny Rosselli, who took her to Las Vegas. The couple continued to scam folks on the golf course of the Desert Inn. Rosselli introduced the budding starlet to Frank Sinatra, who whisked her off to Hollywood. She was cast in a succession of B-movies, in which she played brassy blondes or, using her natural dark hair, sultry Spanish women. She also appeared in a late-era Three Stooges short, playing Joe Besser‘s girlfriend. While in Hollywood, Jeanne began a lifelong friendship with actress Marilyn Monroe, often telling tales of how the two bombshells bonded, sharing stories over late-night glasses of champagne and illegal drugs.
After Monroe’s death, organized crime boss Sam Giancana — Johnny Rosselli’s superior — warned Jeanne that her life may be in danger. Panicked, Jeanne fled to Scottsdale, Arizona, where she laid low and out of the spotlight. She married, had children (and grandchildren) and never spoke of her Hollywood life again… save for a cameo in a low-budget horror film in 2005. It was her first role in over 40 years.
In 2007, Jeanne passed away at the age of 77. Just days after her death, Marilyn Monroe biographers Ernest Cunningham and Mark Bellinghaus reported that their research revealed that Jeanne’s friendship with the celebrated sex symbol was completely fabricated. They went on to say that Jeanne and Marilyn never even met.