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Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio on the Rocks

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio on the Rocks

LiveAuctionTalk.com:   by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Julien's Auctions.

Joe DiMaggio's intention for new wife Marilyn Monroe was to wean her away from a movie career so she could stay home and make babies. 

“Joe misunderstood Monroe. Like, here’s this young, beautiful woman on the verge of becoming one of the most successful and famous actresses in the world, and she’s going to give it all up to make lasagna for Joe and spend her days changing diapers?”
— Robert Solotaire, family friend

He came out of the "old world" school where having one of the most beautiful women in the world on your arm meant everything.  Marilyn was the ultimate prize.  Joe was the same. 

He was devoted to his bride but don't expect meaningful dialogue here.  Joe was the archetypical male sitting around the apartment all night drinking, smoking, watching TV, hardly talking to the statuesque blonde, unappreciative of her cooking.  He beat her more than once and was super critical of the slightest flash of bare bosom in public.    

When they met in 1952 Joe was 35 and ending his historic New York Yankee career. Marilyn was 27 and just starting to garner international recognition.  She didn't know anything about ballplayers when she met him.  She knew him for weeks before discovering he was one of the greatest baseball players of his generation. 

The super jock and troubled sex symbol both craved being the center of attention.  If she upstaged him in public, he stopped talking to her and slept in another bedroom.  They fought and made up and fought and made up.  From the outset it was clear Joe's glory days were in the past and Marilyn's were just on the horizon.  He fell a lot harder for her than she did for him.        

"Joe misunderstood Monroe,” ­family friend Robert Solotaire said.  “Like, here’s this young, beautiful woman on the verge of becoming one of the most successful and famous actresses in the world, and she’s going to give it all up to make lasagna for Joe and spend her days changing diapers?”

It never happened. 

It was a marriage made in fantasy and in 1954 after nine months Marilyn filed for divorce citing "mental cruelty." 

Despite the short-lived union their life-long friendship lasted.  He was the daddy she never had, the guy who never, ever abandoned her.  Joe for his part managed to snag the most desirable woman in the world, at least for awhile.  He never gave up his dream of getting her back.  When Marilyn died Joe was the only family she really had, the first of the bereaved at her funeral.    

"I was surprised to be so crazy about Joe," Marilyn said regarding their first meeting.  "I expected a flashy New York sports type, and instead I met this reserved guy who didn't make a pass at me right away...He treated me like something special."

On Dec. 6, the lost archive of Marilyn Monroe went on the block at Julien's Auction.  The collection consisted ofMarilyn's most personal letters, photos and keepsakes.  Included was a heartbreaking letter from Joe handwritten just after the actress announced their divorce at a press conference.  He asked her to please, please, reconsider.  The letter sold for $78,125.

Here are current values for other items sold from the archive.

Marilyn Monroe

Vintage Photo; Monroe and DiMaggio; black-and-white; cut in half directly between couple; taken on their Japan honeymoon; 4 1/4 inches by 3 1/8 inches;  $1,280.

Vintage Publicity Photo; black-and-white; used to publicize film; "How to Marry a Millionaire;" 9 1/2 inches by 8 inches;  $1,562.  

Vintage photo; Monroe taken by Manfred Kreiner in Chicago while promoting "Some Like It Hot;" 1959; 13 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches;  $2,240.   

Compact; Monroe's; silver-tone chrome plated metal with chain; mirror on one side; circa 1920s; 3 3/4 inches by 2 inches;  $48,000. 


Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her LiveAuctionTalk.com website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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