In 1954, that included 'blonde' bombshell Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio.
Although already at the end of his baseball playing, DiMaggio was described as a tall, handsome hero of the country's national pastime.
I'm a fair guy, but there is no way in hell that DiMaggio is handsome. He was one hell of a ballplayer, and I assume Marilyn was as well. Yes… I made that joke.
DiMaggio still holds a baseball record that I doubt will ever be broken - hitting safely in 56 straight games. The closest was Pete Rose hitting in 44 consecutive games back in 1978. Pete was a lot of things, but if he couldn't do it, I don't think there's a ball player playing today who can. It's as close to untouchable a sports record there is.
So... Marilyn and Joe.
Back in 1952, DiMaggio asked an acquaintance to arrange for him to get a dinner date with Marilyn, who was, at that time, an up-and-coming actress.
As bad as Hollywood actors and actresses have it today, so too did Joe and Marilyn, with the media following their every step.
DiMaggio had always been a pretty private guy… hardly ever spoke in interviews… I guess he was shy, or perhaps because he was a high school drop-out and thus may not have felt as smart as others - whatever...
Anyhow, Joe DiMaggio was 37, retired from playing baseball, a chain-smoker, a drinker, and according to his first wife—bit movie actress Dorothy Arnold—he would sleep around. Jeez, Joe…
Marilyn still hadn't hit her peak of hotness and was just 25…
During that first dinner, Joe hardly spoke… which intrigued young Marilyn, because men simply did not ignore her.
They spent that first night together.
While they dated, Joe wanted Marilyn to basically give everything up to be his wife.
Dress less sexy. Stop being an actress. Start making me spaghetti - and don't skimp on the fricking meatballs!
Oh… Joe… you had, in your mitt, the woman who would become a global icon!
And Marilyn… she wanted a father-figure, seeing as how her dad had abandoned her family when she was younger. Yes, every man wanted her body, but could they also be that dad she craved?
Well… Joe wanting her to stop doing everything she was doing - that was like being a father… except he didn't really encourage her in her pursuits… which is a 21st century view of mine (and others), and hardly a popular view in 1950s America.
But still… a father figure with whom she could have pretty good sex with (according to her)… why not marry Joe?
Ground rules for marriage:
- Joe gave the okay for future films;
- Marilyn had to stop playing the dumb blonde;
- Marilyn could never be 'half-dressed' - Joe, you jealous bastard!
Also key was that Marilyn wasn’t to outshine him. When she did, he’d sleep in another bedroom and go days without speaking to her.
They were married on January 14, 1954 in San Francisco.
For a honeymoon, the two decided to go to Japan…
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper sponsored Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's honeymoon through Japan.
She was so popular, her plane was swarmed with fans… people would come to the hotel, and wouldn't lave until she came out to say hello to them.
While all would agree that it was a nice honeymoon trip, things weren't all the rosy.
At one point in Hiroshima, when staying at a Japanese hotel, Japanese-American Tsuneo "Cappy" Harada (a former US Army officer in Japan during the occupation - he spent his life promoting ties between Japan and the U.S. via baseball), he spotted Marilyn outside of the hotel garden, crying. By the way - the photo above shows all three individuals mentioned....
The implication here, is that Joe had smacked her around a bit... oh... Joe... you ass...
Right there in Japan, on their honeymoon, it was the beginning of the end for these two.
Marilyn began drinking, taking pills and even having an affair with her voice coach, Hal Schaefer. Joe found out, and tried to entice him to come over so he could beat him up.
Here's a story. I read it somewhere, but I can't say it's true or not.
Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio were friends - perhaps because they were both famous Italian-Americans, perhaps because they both had hot wive (Frank was married to Ava Gardner), or perhaps because both allegedly had Mafia connections.
One night, those two got a bunch of thugs together and drove over to Marilyn's apartment hoping to catch her in 'the act' with her voice coach.
How they got it wrong, but allegedly, they broke into the wrong apartment and scared the crap out of some woman… and while the cops and media were kept out, Frank had to buy her silence. Allegedly.
In October of 1954 - nine months after getting married - Marilyn filed for divorce citing mental cruelty.
Joe… it hit him hard. From then on, for the rest of his life, he only dated women who looked like Marilyn.
Allegedly, Joe spent $10,000 on a life-sized sex doll that looked exactly like Marilyn - which seems like a lot of money for the 1950s or 60s. So who knows if that is true.
And yet… like a moth drawn to a flame, Marilyn would still see and sleep with Joe… even though she was seeing other men… because, believe it or not, she still trusted him. She just couldn't take the abuse he dealt out.
Now… here's the thing… was Marilyn really being abused by Joe? In 1961 she was institutionalized - forcibly - for paranoid schizophrenia. Joe was the only one who tried to help her, and got her released.
Yes… by the way… Joe did go in for anger management therapy in an effort to win her back. And yet, now satiating herself with booze, drugs, mental illness, and two Kennedy brothers, she still thought she and Joe could have a life together without marriage, while Joe thought they could have a life together with marriage.
Marilyn died of a drug overdose on August 5, 1962… a suicide.
Until the day he died in 1999, Joe had a florist deliver fresh roses to her crypt every single week.
I know… I know… not much of a Japan story, but it was there, along with baseball, a sexy starlet, violence and a fugged up romance. What else are you reading today that has all that?
Andrew "Voice Coach" Joseph