Love And Learn—Marilyn Monroe
Nobody, but nobody from Hollywood makes such a stir in the world as this girl Monroe. If people aren’t whistling, they’re talking about her. And most of that talk is questions. What’s she really like? What’s with her and Joe? Is she going to get married?
It’s far from easy to answer. Although Marilyn is one of the most highly publicized personalities in Hollywood, she keeps her private life more secret than anyone in that dizzy town. Although every red-blooded male over the age of six would love to date her—very few get a chance. Joe DiMaggio wouldn’t like it. Neither would Marilyn. There’s been a lot of discussion about how and where Marilyn has lived in the past. But she’s not giving out the whereabouts of her newest apartment.
As a matter of fact, Miss Monroe’s living quarters have been the object of much newspaper copy, and over-the-highball gossip ever since Joe DiMaggio came to sunny California. The moving-van chasers have started a lot of rumors based solely on where Marilyn’s suitcase is parked at the moment. Here’s the true situation.
Marilyn took a lease on a house in the outpost section overlooking Hollywood Boulevard last September. When Joe came out, she was delighted to have a spot for him to sink into an arm-chair, a stove of her own to heat up a bubbling pot of spaghetti. He’s a real home-loving guy, and she loves him for it. It was such a perfect spot that he wanted to share his comfort and his girl with relatives and friends. He invited them all over. They came, and loved it, too. So much so that the gatherings became a nightly affair. Marilyn is, without any argument, the hostess with the mostest, but she was working on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the time, and long social sessions with Joe’s close friends and relatives, whom she loves as much as he does, just didn’t mix with six o’clock calls. So, like the generous, sensible girl she is, she moved out of the house to the Beverly Hills Hotel, and turned the place over to Joe. Of course she continued to be the central attraction at every party, but when she felt a yawn coming on, she trotted down the street to bed without breaking up the party.
The arrangement worked perfectly. It probably would still be going on if Joe had not decided to visit his family in San Francisco for a while. He saw no point in maintaining the house, so he gave it up. In the meantime Marilyn had found that she liked being free of the responsibilities of house-holding, and instead of moving in again, rented a large apartment after finishing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Those were the simple facts that worked into the first big story of the end of the blonde and the ball-player. The house was empty; Joe was in San Francisco; Marilyn had even moved from the hotel.
Many people would believe that all this change of scene was a waste of time, and ‘that they just ought to pool their lives and residences and be done with it. But Marilyn and Joe are strictly not in the marry-in-haste set. They believe in being slow but sure about such lifetime things as matrimony.
Some of their biggest headaches so far have arisen from the ashes of Joe’s former marriage. Some time, ago Joe’s ex-wife, Dorothy Arnold, took him into court asking him to increase the sum allotted to the support of their child. The judge denied Mrs. DiMaggio’s request in no uncertain terms. He even lauded Joe as a fine sportsman and a good father in open court. But such an experience before a judge’s bench, even with the most favorable outcome, is chilling to a bridal atmosphere.
Although both Marilyn and Joe considered the denial of the appeal, and the high praise a step closer to marriage, neither wanted to risk such a step under the cloud of court action.
Another major problem concerns Joe’s beloved son, Joe, Jr. The boy and his father are extremely close, although the youngster is in complete custody of his mother. Such is the custom of the California divorce law. Joe is deeply attached to his son, and has made every effort to be with him when the boy isn’t at Black Fox Military Academy, where he is a boarding student. The law has granted Joe “reasonable visitations,” as it does all fathers. Unhappily these precious moments have often proved embarrassing to Joe DiMaggio and his son. And to Marilyn Monroe, too.
For instance, last year Joe’s former wife publically objected to Joe Junior going swimming at the Bel-Air hotel with his father and Marilyn. As a result, when Joe had his boy with him on weekend visits this spring, they spent the entire time alone, without Marilyn present. Gossipmongers, seeing the ex-Yankee treating his son to supper at the beach, and keeping it strictly stag, buzzed around town spreading a rash of rumors that Joe and Marilyn had split.
It is only the Hollywood cynics who take such surface rumors to heart, who believe that they verify the predictions that they are drifting apart. Those close to them believe that. such rumors have strengthened their determination to marry; that they are closer together than ever.
Marilyn herself has been heard to state, “We are in love and we will probably be married soon.”
At this writing Joe has not slipped a ring on her finger, but all Hollywood expects him to become the most envied man in the world before too much time goes by. If he does, and if he has his way, Marilyn would quit pictures and live in San Francisco.
Who could blame this home-loving guy, who has retired from the spotlight himself, and wishes to live quietly despite being baseball’s greatest living figure. There’s a difference between stepping out of the center of the stage voluntarily, and being pushed away from it. From the moment Joe DiMaggio takes his vows, as all Hollywood knows, he will become known as Marilyn Monroe’s husband.
Marrying Marilyn Monroe, though, is only the beginning of the battle. There is living with her, being consort to the most exciting movie star of our time. This will not be easy at all. In the first place the demands on Marilyn Monroe’s time are many and terribly important. For the next five years or so she will be making one picture after another, almost as rapidly as they can be turned out. She will have to be on call at all hours, inconvenient hours like for dinner and Sundays for publicity, making still photos and giving interviews to help sell the pictures. It won’t be her husband who will tell her what to wear and who to be nice to, either. The studio people will do that.
Living with Marilyn Monroe will be like living in a goldfish bowl for sure. There can be no part of her life that will be completely private, and free of the demands made by the film salesmen. As a single girl she has had her apartment photographed a good many times, but, as a married woman, and homemaker, the requests for “home” stories and layouts will increase tremendously. And in the “home” stories there will be a need for Joe—and he won’t care for that. One Hollywood man, married to a big star, once groaned upon entering his house for dinner and spotting a photographer in the living room: “I’m so tired of having my pine taken every night!” It can be a trial.
And how will the fans take to Marilyn Monroe’s husband? It is generally conceded that most of Marilyn’s fans care for the physical side of her, and will continue to do so if she is married or not. They must, then, bear a little resentment toward the man she lives with—and will just tag him as a guy who is very lucky and who should keep his place. Joe DiMaggio will find this attitude a bit trying, too. He is not only a celebrity in his own right, but a rugged he-man. As a matter of fact, it is a pretty well-known secret around Hollywood that Joe is all for having Marilyn quit entirely. He has little sympathy with the movie-makers who need her in their business.
The problems confronting Marilyn Monroe’s husband will fall atop Joe DiMaggio shortly after he returns from his honeymoon. Joe is not the apartment-dwelling type. He is a big man, with the outdoors in his blood, and he’ll need room to move around in. A house is the only thing, and if there is any acreage (which there must be) there will have to be a swimming pool. Swimming pools attract guests like honey attracts bears. That means lots of people, many with legitimate things to talk about, to be sure, will be around the shack a good deal. Privacy goes out the window—and Joe DiMaggio likes privacy as much as he likes to breathe.
And there will be the expense. A star, once asked if it was expensive to keep his pool filled with water, said: “It isn’t the water that’s costly, it’s the gin.” If a guest is sitting around the edge of your pool on a hot day, hell generally ask for a tall, cool one, if you-don’t suggest it first. Many stars spend as much as five hundred dollars a month for grog and potato chips to keep the loungers happy. Joe DiMaggio is a thrifty man, who, although he has done mighty well in sports, has never been used to the scale of living Hollywood is accustomed to. He is going to resent both the guests and the expense after he marries Marilyn Monroe and has to begin living like a movie star’s husband.
Then there is going to be the matter of control. If, say, Joe would like to take a drive down to Coronado some week-end and Marilyn wants to go but says she can’t because the studio told her to stand by, Joe is more than likely to blow his cork and tell his wife to tell the studio to drop dead. Who, he will ask himself, is the boss around here anyway?
Well, the studio is the boss. That is for sure. Joe won’t like that.
It must be admitted that this is not the ease with all movie stars. Many top-flight actresses can live a pretty normal life—normal for Hollywood, that is—because they are only required to show up for work at specified hours, do their bit and go on home until tomorrow. But that is not so with Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn is an exciting star, one as hot as frying butter, and in order for the studio she works for to take full advantage of her phenomenal popularity there must be a constant flow of publicity. Making movies is only part of Marilyn’s work—no more than 50 percent at this time.
On a day off spent at home, if Joe DiMaggio isn’t driven crazy by the cars driving by to see Marilyn’s home or by the fans standing in front of the driveway for a look at their idol, he will be by the telephone calls. It will make him long for the quiet of a summer day in left field in the Yankee Stadium.
Joe DiMaggio may not be a completely anti-social man but he is quite eccentric about keeping out of the public eye. In all the time he has been courting Marilyn in Hollywood, he has not once attended a party with her, nor has he appeared at a night club or a famous restaurant. If there are more than three people in a gathering Marilyn is slated to attend, she goes alone—and Joe sits home and stews until she can break away. It is an odd sight, indeed, to see Marilyn enter a room full of celebrities with their famous escorts, all alone. And it gives rise to much speculation as to whether or not she even has a boyfriend. However, proof that she definitely has is evidenced by the fact that she always leaves alone.
Joe DiMaggio, it seems, is determined not to make any new friends in Hollywood. His cronies now are not even the sports writers who were his shadows for so many years, but his relatives, his cousins and pals he went to school with in San Francisco. And none of them seem to give a hoot for the Hollywood crowd. Marilyn may not be too crazy about them, but she spends most of her time in their company, in deference to Joe.
Another rough spot in the marriage of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe is going to be the personal appearances she is going to have to make. Marilyn’s first real experience in the movies was as a traveling saleslady. The picture was Love Happy in which she appeared on the screen for a total of 60 seconds. But the producers wisely decided that she was just what the film needed to sell to exhibitors, so she was taken on a cross-country tour for about two months, calling on the theater owners and news folks throughout the country. The result was that many theaters billed the movie as starring Marilyn Monroe, huge pictures were exhibited in front of the show houses showing Marilyn in a characteristic pose, and the marquees blared: “Love Happy,starring Marilyn Monroe.”
20th Century-Fox is wise to the fact that Marilyn out in the field is a good bet to increase the take on a movie, so she will, married or not, be required to travel a large part of the time she is not before the cameras. This DiMaggio will not like, for he is the kind of man who thinks that his wife should be in the kitchen preparing something for a man’s appetite. Marilyn, on the other hand, feels she owes it to the studio to get out and do all she can to increase the grosses—and as long as she is a movie star she is likely to do so. It is not likely that Joe will be happy with this arrangement.
One of the most unpalatable chores the husband of a movie star to put up with is acting as his wife’s escort at gala events such as premieres, publicity parties, etc. At these events he must dress in either a tuxedo or tails and walk up a long fan-lined path in the glare of bright lights. Now if the scene was a ball park the spectators would fall out of the stands cheering DiMaggio. But in Hollywood it’s the movie star they came to see and the most oft-quoted expression even Joe DiMaggio is bound to hear is, “Who’s he?” Movie fans are generally of one loyalty and don’t give a hang about celebrities in other lines of work. As a matter of fact, Jack Dempsey, who has attended many of these affairs, has seldom ever had his name listed among those present—and has never, to our knowledge, been asked to speak into the broadcast mikes at these events.
It is our guess that Joe will one night halt half way up the walk and go home alone. That is, of course, if they ever get him to go to one in the first place.
A bitter pill for a movie star’s husband to swallow is the “interference” of outsiders in his wife’s (and his) affairs. In the movie business this is necessary. There are highly trained facets of a movie star’s life that only specialists can handle. Take for instance the signing of contracts and approval of pictures. There is a good deal more to this than just the naming of a figure and an acceptance. Most movie contracts, for stars anyway, are made up of 40 or 50 typewritten pages. There are that many details. It requires endless hours of conferences and the consultation of many experts in law and finances before such a contract can be settled. A husband can only sit on the sidelines and listen during these times. And after the master contract is drawn there are discussions before each picture, to make sure the principles of the contract are lived up to. Joe will have to remain on the sidelines during these negotiations, because legally it is his wife who must agree to the deals, not he.
However, Joe may be able to help Marilyn along this line indirectly. At present, Joe’s lawyer handles Marilyn Monroe’s business affairs. He may be a pretty busy man in the near future, asa matter of fact. Few would believe it, but, Marilyn is discontented with the current arrangement at her studio, and has told friends that she is beginning to think maybe she’d better quit. Her feelings were understandably hurt, because even though she is about the biggest box-office draw in Hollywood, her salary of $750 per week was less than that cashed by many unknowns. It is estimated, for instance, that Monroe received about $10,000 for work in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes while the same studio paid Jane Russell $200,000 for the same picture.
Assuming Marilyn is properly pacified, then there are the interviewers, the gossip columnists and the photographers. They are vital in a movie star’s life. Joe will sit by and listen to Marilyn explain that she likes to sleep raw so that, as she put it once, “I can feel blonde all over.” And he’ll boil maybe. And everytime she goes anywhere without him the phones will begin ringing the next morning asking if there has been a quarrel. Marilyn is now conditioned to gossip columnists and can handle these things. But can Joe? He has a simmering Italian temper, and it might be difficult for him.
And the photographers. This breed has never been particularly interested in husbands. They might ask Joe if he’d mind stepping aside so they can get a shot of Marilyn with some male actor she has been working with. Or they’ll ask him to straighten his tie and stand beside “Miss Monroe.” Man, the third or fourth time that happens will be a time to remember.
No matter how happy her friends will be to see Marilyn Monroe marry the man she is quite obviously in love with, the fans and the studio will not accept the union with great joy. The fans actually prefer Marilyn single and, in dreams at least, available if a miracle should happen. The studio knows this and realizes that marriage might cut down on her boxoffice potential. There will be, then, some resentment—and it will more than likely be seen.
The fans will not accept Joe wholeheartedly and, because he is a sensitive man, he will not like that. The studio will be wary of his “influence” on his wife, and if she becomes obstreperous, may make Joe the heavy, even if he is innocent. This could lead to bad feelings.
The main problem in the marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, however, will be the separations. And there will have to be separations. Marilyn’s work will naturally be in Hollywood, and Joe’s, for many months a year, will be in New York. Although he is retired from playing baseball, Joe has quite a career ahead of him as a sports announcer. Those who have seen him on TV, broadcasting after the ball games—and this writer is one of them—will tell you that Joe is a natural in this line. He is without a doubt the best of the players turned commentator. He receives $1,250 per week for his services, so Joe will have to spend the ball season away from his wife, unless, which seems unlikely, she can arrange her schedule to be with him.
Every time they live apart they will be the victims of the wagging tongues that will link one or the other of them with some one else. They could, we suppose, make sure they never stand too close to anyone of the opposite sex in public, but that will be very, very hard. And, apart from each other, they will either have to live in shells or suffer the discomforts heaped on them by the speculators who make a living keeping ahead of the news of Hollywood. Even without this hazard there is a strain when a married couple lives apart.
A short time ago Marilyn Monroe was eating a lonely dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, in the main dining room. As she sat eating Joe DiMaggio walked into the lobby of the hotel and went to the elevator—and apparently upstairs to wait for his girl. A waiter saw him pass and commented to a fellow employee on the fact that Joe didn’t come into the dining room to join her.
“I guess,” he said, “they don’t like to be seen together in public. That’s a funny arrangement. I understood they were going to get married.”
“It ain’t so funny,” said his friend. “If those two get married it will be like Frank Merriwell marrying Nellie Bly. It just don’t seem right.”
And it “don’t,” as the man said. But maybe love is stronger than precedent. Maybe, in all the hours Marilyn and Joe have spent together they have figured out a formula. We, for one, hope they have—and that it works.
—BY STEVE CRONIN
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE MAY 1953