Marilyn’s Hollywood: Dinner at Chasen’s

Marilyn dined at Chasen’s Restaurant, Hollywood, on June 26, 1953, after her foot and handprints were immortalised in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Her companions were Joe DiMaggio, Sidney Skolsky, Jane Russell, and Jane’s husband, soccer star Bob Waterfield.

Marilyn’s booth at Chasen’s

Marilyn had first visited Chasen’s with agent Johnny Hyde. The restaurant closed in 1995, and was the subject of a documentary, Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen’s.

Chasen’s is featured as a classic Hollywood location in today’s Los Angeles Times.

Joe DiMaggio and Son

Long after her divorce from Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe remained close to her stepson, Joe Jr, speaking to him on the telephone hours before she died.

Sadly Joe Jr had a difficult life and could never escape his father’s shadow although Joe Sr tried to support him as best he could. Joe Jr died, ravaged by years of alcohol abuse, just six months after ‘the Great DiMaggio’.

“Joe’s happiest days may have been those that he spent with Marilyn Monroe. One early fall day, just as we all had returned from our summer vacations, Joe told of his stepmother Marilyn making his breakfast and serving it to him.

Usually, when teenagers recount their vacation adventures, gross exaggeration is the rule. But we knew Joe’s story about Monroe was true. How envious we were!”

Joe Guzzardi, Baseball Past and Present

I have often thought that if Marilyn had lived longer, she might have been able to help Joe Jr. His father was a distant, reserved man, as Marilyn knew all too well. Joe Jr’s mother was DiMaggio’s first wife, former showgirl Dorothy Arnold.

Marilyn, who came from a broken home herself, never tried to replace Dorothy but was sensitive to her stepson’s emotional needs. Next to DiMaggio, Joe Jr was perhaps more hurt by Marilyn’s untimely death than anyone else.

The Goddess and Her ‘Demon Lover’

In a guest post for the Yale University Press blog, Jerome Charyn – author of Joe DiMaggio:The Long Vigil – shares his perspective on the Marilyn-Joe romance.

“But he was the only man who never really exploited her. He wasn’t really trying to ride on her fame.  Every other man she was with used her fame to further themselves.

I call him in my book, the Demon Lover, because once Marilyn dies, he remains utterly devoted and faithful to her.”

Marilyn in the Blogosphere

‘Norma Jeane’ is the latest offering from Marilyn Wines. The photo on the label, of a young Marilyn, was taken by John Engstead in 1947. He said later, ‘Her pretty face was all that impressed me and I still wonder what transformed this sweet young thing into the superstar and sex symbol of a generation.’

This week marks the 12th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio’s death. He graces the cover of this month’s Sports Illustrated, and is the subject of several new books. ‘Today’s true baseball “heroes” are few and far between,’ writes Liz Smith, ‘and I don’t think they’d cut the mustard with this man who made the game a craze 70 seasons ago.’

Over at Watertown Patch, MA, Dennis Noonan remembers some childhood pets with glamorous names who met an untimely end:

‘Growing up, we always had cats in the family. Most cats were free, mixed breed and outdoor in those days. On Robbins Road in 1954,  someone gave us a pair of kittens from the same litter – a female and a male. Mom named them “Marilyn” and “Joe” after the famous celebrity couple of the day – Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. The celebrity marriage lasted less than a year;  the cats didn’t last much longer either. Joe got hit by a car, and a year later Marilyn caught some evil disease called cat typhus and had to be put down.’

On her Work in Progress book blog, Dani Torres reports that there is currently a display at her local library with the theme, ‘Are You as Well Read as Marilyn Monroe?’

A trailer for The Smurfs movie reveals a reference to Marilyn’s famous ‘skirt-blowing’ subway scene from The Seven Year Itch. ‘Nothing like a cool breeze through my enchanted forest,’ says Gutsy (Scottish) Smurf who’s letting a vent blow cold air up his kilt.

‘Palaces of Montezuma’, the latest single from Grinderman II (Nick Cave’s side-project), contains a curious reference to Marilyn Monroe and JFK.

Okay. Well, one of the most beautiful songs on the CD is “Palaces of Montezuma”…
Jim Sclavunos: It’s amazing how much this song is coming up.
Nick Cave: Every second journalist talks about that song.

…But then there are these lines about JFK and Marilyn Monroe: “The spinal cord of JFK/Wrapped in Marilyn Monroe’s negligee/I give to you.” That’s a really vivid and disturbing image to deposit two thirds of the way through this lovely track.
JS: It’s a variation on the classic, “I’ll give you the moon and the stars,” kind of thing. Only this one’s full of very odd curiosities and phantasmagorical, fetishistic things, like a spinal cord and a negligee. But it is a classic type of love song.
NC: I quite like the unsuspecting lyric, or line. You’re sitting listening to a song and it’s going along and suddenly there’s that, “F—, did he just say that?” kind of thing. I guess that’s just become one of the things I kind of do. It suddenly changes the trajectory of the lyric.

Entertainment Weekly

You can read those lyrics in full here

Marilyn’s Sweet Valentine

Flowers were placed on Marilyn’s grave for St Valentine’s Day, by Carla Orlandi on behalf of the Immortal Marilyn fan club. Thanks to donations from fans, another $241 was raised for Animal Haven.

Over at MM Source, Tiffany recounts the story of how Joe DiMaggio once carved his initials, and Marilyn’s, onto the bar at Chicago’s Drake Hotel.

Artwork by ‘The Marilynette Lounge’ on Tumblr

And while on the subject of Marilyn and Joe, here’s a snippet from a 1966 article by Gay Talese, published in his collection of sports essays, The Silent Season of a Hero:

“There are some baseball trophies and plaques in the small room off DiMaggio’s bedroom, and on his dresser are photographs of Marilyn Monroe, and in the living room downstairs is a small painting of her that DiMaggio likes very much; it reveals only her face and shoulders and she is wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat, and there is a soft, sweet smile on her lips, an innocent curiosity about her that is the way he saw her and the way he wanted her to be seen by others – a simple girl, ‘a warm, big-hearted girl,’ he once described her, ‘that everybody took advantage of.'”

Re-Branding Joe DiMaggio

Following the recent licensing deal for Marilyn, it seems that her former husband, Joe DiMaggio, is also about to be ‘rebranded’. Morris Engelberg, DiMaggio’s longtime friend and attorney, became his trustee when the American sporting icon died in 1999.

In partnership with Moda Licensing and Dominant Players, Engelberg’s newly formed company, Joe DiMaggio LLC, will ‘energise, promote and license the DiMaggio brand’, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, a record that remains unbroken. ‘Joe’s last words to me were to protect his name and do the right thing,’ Engelberg says. ‘This new team will present the Joe DiMaggio brand to the public with the same class and style he epitomized on and off the field.’

In 2003, Engelberg published a personal memoir, Joe DiMaggio: Setting the Record Straight. Last year, Engelberg attempted unsuccessfully to prevent Yale University Press from using a photo of Joe with Marilyn on the cover of a forthcoming biography by author Jerome Charyn, Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil.

Gus Zernial 1923-2011

Gus Zernial, the left-fielder and right-hand batter who played in baseball’s Major League during the 1950s, has died aged 87. Along with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, Zernial hit the most home runs during the decade.

Zernial is also known to MM fans because of the publicity photo he posed for with a young Marilyn in March 1951, while he was with the Chicago White Sox at spring training camp in Pasadena. (He is standing next to her in the picture above.)

‘I was really attracted to her beauty, but more than that,’ Zernial told author Michelle Morgan, as quoted in her 2007 book, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. ‘She was attractive both inside and out – a beautiful person to talk to, and I also believe she had a lot more to offer than the way she was shown by Hollywood.’

The stunt was organised by press agent David March. After the pictures were published, none other than Joe DiMaggio asked, ‘Who’s the blonde?’

The story goes that in early 1952, when DiMaggio was visiting Los Angeles, March arranged a date with Marilyn. And the rest, as they say, is history…

Honeymooners in Paso Robles

“As the story goes, after a quick wedding in San Francisco, the newlyweds made a dash down the coast to Paso Robles, where they spent their first night as husband and wife at the Clifton Motel, now the Clifton Apartments, still located at 125 Spring St. in downtown Paso Robles.

The pair also enjoyed a quiet dinner at the nearby Hot Springs Hotel, then situated at the corner of 13th and Spring streets. The building burned down in the 1960’s and a small realty building now occupies the location.

The Paso Robles Press announced the juicy news with gusto. The Jan. 15, 1954 edition front page headline stated in bold typeface, “Marilyn and Joe Honeymoon Here.” After their excursion through Paso, the couple hopped into a dark blue Cadillac and motored to a mountain lodge near Palm Springs, where they spent two secluded weeks together.”

Paso Robles Press

More information available from Paso Robles Historical Society

Remembering Ryne Duren, 1929-2011

Ryne Duren, former pitcher for the New York Yankees, died on January 6 aged 81. In memory of this great American sportsman, Cecilia Tan has shared a 2003 interview with Mr Duren on her ‘Why I Like Baseball’ blog, where he fondly recalled meeting Marilyn Monroe at team practice with his friend, Joe DiMaggio.

“Highlight of my career was meeting Marilyn Monroe.

CT: Not on the golf course…?

No, she came to spring training with Joe. There she is, sitting outside the clubhouse on the bench, I walk up the first day and it’s Marilyn Monroe. And I don’t know why but I guess it’s just me, I sat down and made small talk with Marilyn Monroe. Joe and I always had a good relationship. We always talked, especially in later life when after she had died and everybody knew I had gotten on top of the problem and was running a hospital and I had been quoted in the papers a lot, a lot of people had done stories on me, Joe wanted to spend some time talking with me and we did about the mixtures of different drugs and alcohol and so forth. I don’t care what anybody else says, she died from Valium mixed with alcohol. I truly believe that.

CT: But people always want to make a conspiracy theory out of it when it’s an American icon who dies.

Oh yeah.

CT: So tell me some more about Joe DiMaggio. A lot of the guys don’t really say much about him.

Well, everybody sees him differently. I went down to the batting cage one day, and he had been down there helping guys hit. We were in St. Petersburg at the old Miller Huggins Field, way down in the corner we had a batting cage with a pitching machine. So I went down there and Joe was down there just kind of hanging around, and the last honest batter came out and got through, so now I say, hey Joe, can you help me some? And he kind of laughed and said why? You can’t hit. You’ve got to have good eyesight and coordination. So I said aw, c’mon Joe, at least help me with my stance or something. And he says Ryne, it’s a waste of time! Please, why would you want me to do that. So I said, you know, Joe, if I could at least look good striking out, that’d be a help, right? And it just cracked him up. But he did finally tell me how to stand and swing and so forth. So now, I’m down there hitting balls and he went back to the bench. So evidently he was proud of the fact that he had me with a pretty good looking swing, so they’re sitting up in the dugout and he’s playing a game with someone down there. He’d make a little bet with you and so on. So he says, who is that guy hitting down there? He looks pretty good. They can’t see my number from there. Joe then says, well, that looks like Ryne Duren to me. And they laughed at him. No, I think it really is. So then they made a little bet, and sure enough I finally turned around to pick up the balls and it’s me. So he did make me look good anyway, and he always got a kick out of that.”

Zolotow’s Marilyn: Life With the Greenes

With business partner Milton Greene, 1955

These latest extracts from Zolotow’s 1960 biography, first published in the Los Angeles Daily Mirror, recounts Marilyn’s split from husband Joe DiMaggio, and her decision to leave Hollywood; her business partnership with photographer Milton Greene and her personal relationship with his wife, Amy (Marilyn stayed at their Connecticut home in the winter of 1954-55, before moving to New York.)