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Joe DiMaggio and the Mysterious End of Marilyn Monroe

Tijana Radeska
Marilyn and Joe
Marilyn and Joe

Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe had a stormy relationship that resulted in a marriage which lasted for a whole nine months. They both had completely different personalities which caused their love story to turn into a bad dream.

Although they were both in love with each other, DiMaggio’s passion turned into obsession and jealousy. However, by the end of Marilyn’s life, DiMaggio was one of her closest friends.

Publicity photo of Marilyn Monroe. (1953)

Publicity photo of Marilyn Monroe. (1953)

Back in 1952, Marilyn Monroe was the most glamorous blonde bombshell on the silver screen, and Joe DiMaggio was the most famous and beloved baseball player in the world.

But Marilyn’s beauty was irresistible, and DiMaggio asked her agent to set a blind date for the two. According to Anthony Summers the author of Goddess: The Secret Lives Of Marilyn Monroe.

Monroe was rather unenthusiastic to this proposition, saying: “I don’t care to meet him. I don’t like men in loud clothes, with checkered suits and big muscles and pink ties. I get nervous.”

Monroe and DiMaggio when they were married in January 1954

Monroe and DiMaggio when they were married in January 1954

Her agent was insistent and filled her in on DiMaggio’s impressive style and image, so Marilyn agreed to a first date. Somehow, she changed her opinion about the baseball star and on 14 January 1954 they got married at San Francisco City Hall.

But things went wrong from the beginning. First of all, they both had very different interests and lifestyles. While Marilyn was curious about intellectual pursuits, experiencing new things, and on a constant mission to improve herself, Joe wasn’t interested in culture, going out, or meeting people. While she enjoyed taking classes, consuming art and culture, he would sit at home, drink, smoke, and wait for his wife.

DiMaggio kisses his bat in 1941, the year he hit safely in 56 consecutive games.

DiMaggio kisses his bat in 1941, the year he hit safely in 56 consecutive games.

Second, DiMaggio was obsessively jealous of Marilyn and the image she represented. He even tried to control her career. According to Barbara Leaming, Marilyn’s biographer, DiMaggio restricted the films where she would be required to perform half-dressed.

For example, Joe was on the set of The Seven Year Itch. He was observed getting angrier and angrier, and unlike the rest of the world, he disliked the famous scene where Marilyn’s skirt blew up. This caused a very unpleasant incident between the couple.

Posing for photographers while filming the subway grate scene for The Seven Year Itch in September 1954.

Posing for photographers while filming the subway grate scene for The Seven Year Itch in September 1954.

A month later, they divorced on the grounds of mental cruelty, filed by Marilyn. After the divorce, DiMaggio went into therapy, quit drinking, and expanded his interests beyond baseball.

Although the media linked him to many famous women, DiMaggio denied any involvement with them. People Magazine reveals that DiMaggio was always secretly hoping that he and Marilyn would eventually get back together. And he wasn’t far from the truth. After her unsuccessful marriage to Arthur Miller in 1961, Marilyn started seeking Joe’s attention again.

Monroe and Arthur Miller at their wedding on June 29, 1956.

Monroe and Arthur Miller at their wedding on June 29, 1956.

Even though his pride seemingly held him back from rekindling their romance, DiMaggio continued to care for Marilyn. He even ruined his friendship with Frank Sinatra after the singer introduced Marilyn to the Kennedy family in 1962. And yet, DiMaggio secured her release from Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic after which she joined him in Florida where Joe was a batting coach for the Yankees.

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They became very close friends, but DiMaggio never let go of the idea of them reuniting as a couple. Allegedly, he was planning to ask Marilyn to remarry him. Unfortunately, he and her fans were devastated on 5 August 1962 when Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home in Los Angeles.

New York Daily Mirror front page article, August 6, 1962

New York Daily Mirror front page article, August 6, 1962

According to the toxicology report and investigation, the cause of her demise was acute barbituate poisoning. The media wrote that the star had taken her own life. But DiMaggio never believed in such stories. Like many others, he also believed that she was murdered.

For a long time, he refused to talk about Marilyn in public, while his son said that he spoke with her on the phone on the night of her death and that she sounded well.

Monroe’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park in Westwood Village

Monroe’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park in Westwood Village

It was DiMaggio who claimed her body and who arranged the funeral at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, barring Hollywood’s elite. He also placed a 20-year order of a half-dozen roses to be placed on Monroe’s grave three times a week.

In a biography published in 2017, Dinner with DiMaggio: Memories of an American Hero by the brothers Rock and John Positano. According to Dr. Rock Positano who was a close friend of the baseball star, DiMaggio always said that he knew who killed Marilyn.

First page to the New York Mirror, August, 9, 1962.

First page to the New York Mirror, August, 9, 1962.

According to the book, he said: ”I always knew who killed her, but I didn’t want to start a revolution in this country. She told me someone would do her in, but I kept quiet.”

“The whole lot of Kennedys were lady-killers,” DiMaggio said to Positano, according to the book, “and they always got away with it. They’ll be getting away with it a hundred years from now.”

Read another story from us: Marilyn Monroe: the Bookworm who Fantasized about Sleeping with Albert Einstein

Whether his suspicions were true or false, we will never know. But what we do know is that beyond the jealousy and obsession, Joe DiMaggio truly loved and respected Marilyn Monroe until the end of his life.