The Fixer: Moguls, Mobsters, Movie Stars, and Marilyn

Grand Central. Apr. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781538751428. $34. BIOG
Young (coauthor of You’re Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films, and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot) and former communications/PR executive Westphal unearth the story of super-sleuth Fred Otash (1922–92), a private detective who gained the reputation of being a fixer for Hollywood celebrities during the 1950s and ’60s. The book begins with Otash’s time in the U.S. Marines and his 10-year stint with the LAPD, when he nearly arrested Liberace and verbally sparred with mobster Mickey Cohen. When Otash resigned from the police force in 1955, he established Otash Investigation, which contributed research for the scandal-mongering Confidential magazine, helped Frank Sinatra beat a perjury rap, provided security to Judy Garland, and investigated the murder of Lana Turner’s abusive mobster boyfriend. Most notably, Young and Westphal detail Otash’s longtime association with Marilyn Monroe, whose house he wiretapped during the time of her alleged affairs with John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. This segment of the book has the most revelations, though there’s plenty of new info throughout. The book concludes with the cover-up story of Monroe’s affairs with the Kennedys that was told on ABC’s 20/20.
VERDICT A fast-paced, fascinating tell-all that’s a previously untold account of the seamy side of Hollywood, politics, and mob activity.
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