Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe

Long before they starred together in “River of No Return,” and even before they ever met, Marilyn Monroe was making sandwiches for Robert Mitchum.

It seems odd to even picture Marilyn Monroe fixing meals in a kitchen, but why was she making sandwiches for someone who she had never met?

Before World War II, and long before Robert Mitchum became a Hollywood icon, he was a struggling actor (and expectant father) who took a job at the Lockheed Aircraft plant in Burbank, CA. He was partnered with another machine operator, Jim Dougherty.

Jim’s girlfriend (and soon-to-be wife) used to throw an extra sandwich or two in Jim’s lunchbox for his hungry working buddy, Robert Mitchum. She was Norma Jean Baker, who became one of the most recognized and internationally famous Hollywood icons, Marilyn Monroe.

Los Angeles was a much smaller place in those days, and considering the intricate web of ties that led to me entering Robert Mitchum into the Family Forest (no one gets into the Family Forest unless they are related by birth, marriage, or occasionally adoption, to someone who is already in the Family Forest), I shouldn’t have been too surprised by this seemingly very coincidental early connection between these two famous icons.

I had previously looked through Lee Server’s “Robert Mitchum: ‘Baby, I Don’t Care’” for family ties to enable me to add him, but was unable to find any. Then a Kevin Bacon six-degrees-of-separation chain of family ties grew from Steve McQueen to allow me to enter Robert Mitchum and his family.

According to recorded history, Steve McQueen is descended from royally-descended Captain Roger Mallory of VA (also a Tom Hanks and Sissy Spacek ancestor), who was already in the Family Forest lineage-linked to his royal ancestors. One of Steve McQueen’s wives was Ali MacGraw. She was also married to Robert Evans who was also married to Catherine Oxenberg.

Catherine Oxenberg, who has been in the Family Forest lineage-linked to her royal ancestors for years, is now married to Casper Van Dien (the 20th Tarzan, and now their two daughters, appearing in Lifetime’s new “I Married A Princess” television show, are now lineage-linked to Tarzan creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs). Casper Van Dien’s earlier wife was Carrie Mitchum, granddaughter of Robert Mitchum, whose two great-grandchildren are also appearing in Lifetime’s new show “I Married A Princess.”

So now on Monday nights on Lifetime, you can see Marilyn Monroe’s first husband Jim Dougherty’s working buddy Robert Mitchum’s great-grandchildren on TV. You can also use the next Family Forest to visually explore maps of generation-by-generation family ties connecting them to each other, and to so many others.

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