Monroe and DiMaggio Ties That Bind

Monroe and DiMaggio Ties That Bind  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Hunt Auctions.

Marilyn Monroe was two hours late for her first date with baseball legend Joe DiMaggio.   He waited patiently at an Italian restaurant on Sunset Strip in March of 1952. 

He wanted me to be the beautiful ex-actress, just as he was the great former ballplayer.
— Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn was hesitant that night expecting to meet a loud, sporty jock.  What she encountered was a modest gentleman in a gray suit and tie.  Had she not known he was a baseball player, the actress would have guessed Joe was a steel magnate or congressman.

“I’m glad to meet you,” he said and then sat silent for the rest of the evening.  After dinner the couple drove around and then spent their first night together.

Words were seemingly less important to the couple than looks, physical attraction and a certain intuition each had about the other.

Though coming from different worlds, the sultry actress and the baseball icon had a lot in common.  They were both self-made icons--rising up through the ranks on their own merits.  Neither had a golden spoon in their mouth on the way up.      

They both dropped out of high school and had health issues.  Both were shy and wary of strangers and being taken advantage of by others. 

Marilyn said Joe was great in the romance department but really didn’t know what to do afterwards.

They married on short notice at San Francisco City Hall on Jan. 14, 1954.  Adjusting to married life was hard for both of them.  Marilyn hoped to have two or maybe as many six children, but never got pregnant by Joe.

Joe’s legendary career ended just as Marilyn’s peaked and he didn’t appreciate being upstaged by his wife.  They were in very different places in life.

He wanted a wife, not an actress.  It wasn’t long before Marilyn realized she couldn’t have both a career and a private life with Joe. 

“He wanted me to be the beautiful ex-actress, just as he was the great former ballplayer,” she said.  He didn’t like the way she dressed.  He didn’t like the dumb blonde roles she played.  He didn’t like actors kissing her.  He thought she worked too much.  The list went on and on.

Marilyn also had a way of goading Joe when she drank too much champagne.    

It wasn’t long before they realized there were too many differences between them to make the marriage work.  The couple divorced in October 1954, nine months after their marriage.

After the divorce Joe remained a strong, protective figure in Marilyn’s life and she turned to him when she was in trouble up until the time of her death.  

Suicide was the official cause of her death but conspiracy theories abound.

Joe was the person who claimed Marilyn’s remains.  He held a small funeral for the woman he never stopped loving on Aug. 8, 1962.  Marilyn was buried in Los Angeles' Westwood Memorial Park in the Corridor of Memories.

On Nov. 13, Hunt Auctions featured a Marilyn Monroe autographed photo to Joe DiMaggio in its Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Auction.  The sepia tone, 8 inch by 10 inch photo of a reclining Marilyn sold for $63,250.  Across the front was the inscription “I love you Joe, Marilyn.”


Autographed Photo; by Charles Conlon; Joe in uniform swinging bat; 1 out of 56; black-and-white;  22 ½ inches by 28 ½ inches;  $431.   

Autographed Photo; by Burke; Joe in uniform swinging bat; sepia toned; circa 1930s; 4 inches by 6 inches;  $575.

Autographed Carlo Beninati Serigraph; showcasing Joe’s career; printer’s proof; PPS/25; 23 inches by 35 inches framed;  $863.   

Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her 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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