Marilyn was a big supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Ella Fitzgerald was one of Marilyn’s idols and a major inspiration. The Mocambo nightclub in West Hollywood, the most popular dance spot at the time, refused to let Ella perform there because she was black. Outraged, Marilyn told the owners that if they would let Ella perform, she would be there in the front row every time Ella was onstage. She did, and the two became friends.
“It was a sad moment for her after everyone got on the bus. No one was supposed to go near the bus, but he reached out his hand. I saw this before she came over. She grabbed his hand and pulled him closer to her.” - Cpl. Michael S. Cifuentes