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Hollywood Romances: Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio

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Claim to Fame: They were the American dream: the blonde bombshell and the baseball legend, national icons who united for nine months of fascinating matrimony in 1954. Even after the divorce, they remained close friends and steadfastly refused to go public about the marriage. (Class act DiMaggio reportedly turned down $50,000 for a 15-minute interview about Monroe.)

Why They Matter: They met on a blind date at an Italian restaurant in 1952 (she kept him waiting two hours), and although she knew nothing about baseball and he was indifferent to moviemaking, the attraction was instant. (Joe reportedly compared her to “a good double-play combination.”) But after their wedding at San Francisco City Hall, the union quickly became a strikeout. DiMaggio wanted his wife to be a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. Monroe (“the Stradivarius of sex,” according to Norman Mailer) was as likely to do that as enroll in astrophysics school. The last straw reportedly was Marilyn’s billowing-skirt-over-the-grate shot in The Seven Year Itch.

Postscript: Monroe married and divorced playwright Arthur Miller, dallied with a series of famous lovers and died in 1962. DiMaggio never remarried and died in 1999.

Love Note: For 20 years after Marilyn’s death, Joe sent roses to her grave three times a week.

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