The Only Complete Story Of Marilyn Monroe’s Honeymoon
Joe DiMaggio made up his mind to marry Marilyn Monroe last Thanksgiving.
He had fallen in Jove with her and she with him two months after they met in June, 1952. But Joe is a shy, emotionally inhibited man and Marilyn has always been a skittish, constrained sort of girl, despite her calendar art and her sexy buildup. Although they loved each other and spent as much time together as their careers would permit, they retreated from discussion of marriage.
Both of them remembered their first marriages with regrets. Joe had been married to Dorothy Arnold and Marilyn to Jim Dougherty. As Joe says, “Each of us wanted to be sure.”
Marilyn’s warm, folksy, unpretentious behavior at the DiMaggio Thanksgiving Day dinner convinced Joe that he must have Marilyn for his wife.
Joe loves kids. When he saw how his twelve-year-old son, Joey Jr., reacted to Marilyn, when he saw her on her hands and knees playing with the children of his brother Mike, the fisherman who died last year in Bodego Bay, his eyes grew moist. He edged over to Marilyn and lovingly passed his arm around her shoulder.
“You’re okay,” he said softly.
Marilyn looked up at Joe and smiled her gratitude. In that moment, the great baseball player knew in his heart that his| days of loneliness were over.
But Joe didn’t ask her to marry him until New Year’s Eve. Marilyn had to fly back to Hollywood. He had to take little Joe back to Black Foxe Military Academy. The time wasn’t propitious and Joe delayed his proposal.
Marilyn returned to San Francisco on Christmas Eve and drove immediately out the now-familiar road to Joe’s three-story ten-room house.on Beach Street. Now it’s her house, too.
She brought a sweater for her sweet heart and gifts for the rest of the DiMaggio family. They are a tremendous clan, our brothers living, four sisters and a dozen children.
She was. very tired. “They kept me at me studio until the very last minute,” she explained to Joe. She told about posing for stills and retakes for River Of No Return. “But now I’m going to take it.”
When Marilyn takes it easy in the DiMaggio household—well, listen to Marie DiMaggio, Joe’s older sister who has kept fuse for him. She is closer to Marilyn the other relatives are—“She doesn’t very late, maybe until nine, occasionally until nine-thirty. But it’s her job to get breakfast, and she always does her job.
“She puts on the coffee, although she usually doesn’t drink any—Marilyn is a tea and milk girl—and then she squeezes the oranges and cooks up the bacon and eggs. She’s really very handy in the kitchen.
“When Joe first started going with her, a few of us in the family wondered what sort of girl she really was. Maybe she was one of these stuffy, conceited stars.
“Not Marilyn. You couldn’t ask for a sweeter sister-in-law. You can go all over this town—Joe’s introduced her to all his friends and all our relatives—and find nobody who will say one unkind word about that girl.
“She’s plain and honest and warm and shy. Just like Joe. They were made for each other. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. They like the same things. They never go out to night clubs. They hang around here watching television, making idle talk.
“Marilyn washes and sets her own hair. She’s always thinking of doing something nice for someone. When she was up there in Canada working on location she bought me a compact and a cashmere stole.
“I knew she was a good girl the first time Joe brought her up. Right away she was helping with the dishes. All she wants to do is to be with Joe. That’s a good sign. And another thing, so much of the stuff that’s been written about her is just bunk. It really gets me mad.
“That stuff about her not wearing any underclothes. I’ve spent a lot of time with Marilyn. We’ve had a few heart-to-heart talks and we’ve also gone shopping. And I can tell you that she wears bras and panties and a girdle and all the things other girls wear.
“We went shopping for her wedding suit in San Francisco. She bought two suits, one at Joseph Magnin’s. I think she paid $149.50 for it. It was none of my business. I mean the price. But it was a lovely suit. Of course, she was recognized and mobbed by all the people in the store. She wouldn’t leave until all the little girls who wanted her autograph got it.
“I’m glad Joe married Marilyn. Best thing in the world for both of them. I’m just sorry I wasn’t at the wedding. I had the flu. But I was one of the few people who knew they were going to do it.
“They told me a couple of days before, and of course all the arrangements were made from here. And Marilyn was so happy. ‘Marie,’ she said, ‘Joe and I have decided to get married.’ I kissed her, and tears of happiness came into my eyes, and I said, ‘I’m so glad, Marilyn. I’m so honestly and truly glad.’ ”
Joe actually proposed to Marilyn on New Year’s Eve.
Earlier that evening he and Marilyn had been at DiMaggio’s, the famous restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf run by two of Joe’s brothers, Tom and Dom, and Joe’s closest friend, Reno Barsocchini. They had gabbed with the boys and then Joe had said, “Let’s go back to the house.”
They got into Joe’s 1952 Fleetwood Cadillac and drove home. They climbed the flight of stairs to the living room and sat on the rose-colored sofa before the bay window.
Joe turned on the television set. Then, he came and sat down beside Marilyn. The TV program showed various New Year’s celebrations. Presently, Joe turned it off.
“It’s 1954,” he announced.
Marilyn looked at him expectantly. “Here’s a kiss for the New Year,” he said. Then “How about getting married real soon?”
Marilyn’s answer was a long embrace. When she decided to speak, Marilyn said, “Whenever and wherever you say, Joe.”
She made no demands, set no requirements. She knew Joe would want a simple ceremony—quiet and tasteful. Joe, of course, tried to keep the whole thing private. He did a masterful job.
“We planned to get married first,” he explained, “and tell all our friends afterward. But Marilyn had promised the studio she would notify them of her marriage. A half hour before the ceremony she did. In that half hour, the studio had time to notify most of the world.
“We were amazed when we walked into the City Hall and saw that mob of people.”
Marilyn’s failure to report to her studio on January 4 for the start of Pink Tights caused many movie-goers to suspect that Marilyn and Joe were planning to be married. Some columnists said that they were already married. Marilyn’s agent, however, said that the only two reasons Marilyn didn’t report for work were money and script approval. She wanted her contract re-negotiated and she wanted to read the script of Pink Tights. The real reason was that Marilyn needed time in which to get married, time to shop for a trousseau, time for preparation.
From January 7 to January 14, she and Joe were working out the details of the ceremony. In those seven days, all sorts of ridiculous rumors about them spread.
One wire service reported that “Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio accompanied by Rock Hudson arrived in New Orleans last night. They were met by a chauffeur and limousine and scurried away five minutes after alighting.”
Joe and Marilyn read this item in San Francisco and smiled.
A day later, there was a story from Las Vegas. “George Solotaire, old friend of baseball star Joe DiMaggio, arrived at El Rancho Vegas from New York this morning. It is believed that Solotaire is setting the wedding arrangements for Joe and Marilyn Monroe. He spent the day conferring with owner Belden Katelman.”
A few hours after this item appeared, most of the hotel managers in Las Vegas tried to get DiMaggio on the phone. Abe Schiller, who helps run The Flamingo, called Reno Barsocchini.
“Now, look,” Schiller said, “we have word that Joe and Marilyn plan to get married in Las Vegas. You know what the Sands did for Rita Hayworth and Dick Haymes. Well, we’re willing to take care of everything for your two kids if they’ll get married here in The Flamingo.”
“I don’t think they plan to get married in Las Vegas,” Barsocchini answered. “I don’t know anything about it at all.”
Schiller, however, stuck to his guns. “I know they plan to drive to Las Vegas,” he asserted. “Tell them we’ll charter a plane. No one will know.”
A few hours later, Schiller was back on the phone. “We think those two are on the way to Las Vegas. In fact, we know it.”
“I don’t think so,” said Reno Barsocchini. “Joe is here in the restaurant right now, eating.”
“Oh,” Abe Schiller said. “Oh!”
At the time, Joe was lunching with an old friend, Judge Charles Peery, of the San Francisco Municipal Court. Joe had called the judge a day before and had invited him to “have a bite with me down at the restaurant. I’d like your advice.”
Joe, always direct and simple, told Peery, “Marilyn and I would like to get married. Very quiet. What’s the best way?”
Judge Peery suggested that they take their blood tests and keep it very quiet. He advised Joe not to apply for a license. “We’ll have the marriage license typed in my chambers,” he said. “Then none of the reporters will find out.” He also suggested that the ceremony be held between noon and two P.M. “when there’s a lunch period and a court intermission.”
“When do you plan to do it?” Judge Peery asked.
“Tomorrow, Joe said.
Joe shook his head. “Gee! I didn’t know tomorrow was the thirteenth. How about Thursday, the fourteenth?”
“All right,” the judge said. “In my chambers at one P.M.”
They shook hands. Joe told his brother Tom and Reno Barsocchini.
“Reno,” he said, “I want you as my best man. And Tom, will you be a witness? Tell Lee.” Lee is Tom’s wife.
In the meantime, Marilyn called Patty Barsocchini. She knew Patty and liked her. When Joe had been godfather to Patty’s little girl, Rena, Marilyn had attended the christening. After it was over, she had said to Patty, “If I ever get married I’d like you to be matron of honor.” She reminded Patty of that conversation. Patty was overjoyed. The details of time were worked out.
Tom and Lee DiMaggio with Mr. and Mrs. Barsocchini were to meet at Joe’s house at twelve-forty-five Thursday.
These two couples would leave the house first. Marilyn and Joe would follow in their Cadillac. The whole wedding party would slip into City Hall by the basement entrance. None of them would be seen. Top secret.
Joe and Marilyn almost got away with it. But Marilyn is a young woman of honor. She had promised the studio that she would announce her marriage.
At twelve-thirty she called the studio from San Francisco. “Joe and I are going to be married in some courtroom in a few minutes.” Then she hung up.
When Joe and Marilyn arrived outside Judge Peery’s chambers, reporters, photographers, newsreel men, and movie fans were waiting. There were about 440 uninvited guests.
Tall and erect, wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and blue polka dot tie, Joe didn’t seem to be ruffled.
Marilyn, in her dark broadcloth suit with ermine collar, laughed as someone told her that she and Joe would have to wait until an official came with the marriage license. During that wait, the photographers and reporters went to work.
“Do you two expect to raise a family?”
“We expect to have at least one child. I guarantee that,” Joe said, grinning.
Marilyn giggled. “I’d like to have six.” She blinked her false eyelashes.
The photographers asked them to move closer together. “Kiss her, Joe. Kiss her.”
Joe kissed her and the bulbs flashed.
“Are you going to give up your career for marriage?” Marilyn was asked.
“What difference does it make?” she answered. “The studio has suspended me.”
“When did you and Joe meet?”
“Two years ago on a blind date.”
“Okay, fellows,” interrupted Joe. “I don’t want to rush you. But we’ve really got to get on with the ceremony.”
Judge Peery came out. “Everyone out,” he said goodnaturedly. “Everyone out. Just the principals.”
The judge’s chambers were cleared and the door to the sanctum sanctorum closed. One reporter jumped on a desk and looked over the transom.
He called back, “They’re not getting married. They’re all in there drinking martinis.” The wedding party was waiting for the man with the marriage license.
Presently David Dunn, the county clerk, fought his way through the crowd and into the chambers clutching half a dozen marriage license blanks. Only there was no typewriter. Out he came again. The cry went up for a typewriter. One was found and the marriage license filled in. It shows Marilyn’s age as twenty-five, Joe’s as thirty-nine.
Marilyn signed the license first. Then Joe signed it.
Judge Peery called, “Quiet,” just as they do in movies when an important scene is to begin. As the silence settled, the judge began the single ring ceremony omitting the word “obey.” Marilyn smiled all through the ceremony which lasted exactly two minutes and twenty seconds. Joe was serious. After the marital pronouncement, he took Marilyn in his arms and kissed her. The room was stuffy and the judge turned to open the windows.
As he did, the door was thrown open. Photographers swarmed in. Joe kissed Marilyn again for their benefit. Tiring of the fuss, he clutched her hand and said, “Okay, let’s go.”
Joe’s brother Tom and Lefty O’Doul, the baseball manager who had given Joe his start, formed a flying wedge and began to move down the corridor. Marilyn and Joe followed behind. Scores of persons tried to beat them downstairs.
“This is a fine thing, Marilyn,” someone called, “dodging your loyal fans.”
Marilyn waved with one hand, the one that clutched her bridal bouquet of three white orchids, but hung on to her husband’s coat tails with the other. Unfortunately, Joe went the wrong way and headed for the Real Estate Department.
The flying wedge thereupon reversed itself and fought back through the crowd once again. This time Joe and Marilyn reached the elevator. They were about to disembark at the first floor, but Joe saw another tremendous crowd waiting and said, “Let’s keep going to the basement.”
There was still another crowd in the basement, but the newlyweds fought through to Larkin Street where Marilyn jumped into Joe’s baby-blue Cadillac.
As they left, Marilyn smiled and shook her head. “And this,” she remarked, “was supposed to be a quiet wedding.”
Upstairs, Judge Peery was also shaking his head. “I forgot to kiss the bride,” he muttered. “Gosh! I’m sorry.”
The DiMaggios spent their wedding night in the Clifton Motel in Paso Robles. Their wedding supper, just for the two of them, was served at the Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel.
Both Marilyn and Joe are heavy eaters. They ordered thick steaks. In a few minutes other diners recognized them and the manager diplomatically moved them to a secluded corner, providing them with privacy and candlelight.
Supper over, Marilyn told Ned Lutz, the coffee shop manager, that she and Joe were driving south to Los Angeles, that she had to report to her studio for work.
Joe and Marilyn started down the highway and doubled back and took a room at the Clifton Motel. When Manager Ernest Sharp saw their name on his register he congratulated them on their marriage. Joe exacted from Sharp the promise that he wouldn’t notify newsmen.
Sharp promised. Not until the DiMaggios had left the next day did he reveal their whereabouts. He released his secret to radio station KPRL. By then Mr. and Mrs. DiMaggio were far away.
Actually, the honeymooners continued south. They came through Los Angeles but decided not to stop at Marilyn’s apartment or the Hotel Knickerbocker just off Vine Street in Hollywood, where Joe hung his hat in his bachelor days.
This was lucky for them, because dozens of reporters and photographers were camped out waiting to interview them. In fact, the publicity men from the studio spent the entire weekend in shifts patrolling Marilyn’s apartment house, and every half hour or so phoned Harry Brand, publicity director of Twentieth Century-Fox, with the same sad report—“No sign of life.”
Meanwhile, reports began to emanate from various parts of the country from Joe’s and Marilyn’s friends saying that the couple had gone fishing off Ensanada in Mexico, that they had secretly flown to Hawaii, that they were hidden in a cabin in the High Sierras. Reporters scoured the countryside in the greatest manhunt Hollywood has ever known.
The plain truth was that while they had dropped from sight, they were in a mountain retreat less than a hundred miles from Hollywood enjoying a rapturous honeymoon on the Idyllwild estate of Marilyn’s lawyer, Lloyd Wright.
After leaving Paso Robles they drove to Palm Springs, then traversed the winding icy road which leads up the San Jacinto mountains overlooking Palm Springs.
While some reporters looked for them there, Joe and Marilyn were secretly laughing up their sleeves only a stone’s throw away—but some several thousand feet up in “a poor man’s paradise” which few movie stars have ever seen.
It had snowed the week before and the road was covered with ice, but Marilyn and Joe made it and no one recognized them en route to Idyllwild, or even in the tiny resort town, except Harry Gibbons, caretaker of the Wright estate, who had been notified that they were coming. Gibbons, however, would tell no one, and even today if you ask him about his famous honeymooners he clams up and refuses to confirm or deny.
Oddly enough, the most publicized of all actresses has given her sister stars a great lesson in how to disappear and behave sedately on a honeymoon.
When MODERN SCREEN finally was first to break down her secret, Marilyn confessed, “That’s-right. Joe and I spent our honeymoon there, and it was heavenly. We had absolute privacy and no one disturbed us. How did you find out, anyway? We kept it a big secret for more than a week and never suspected anyone would find out, including Joe’s family.”
The fact is that a publicity man living in Idyllwild was driving by the Wright estate late one morning, and saw a tall, well-built, family-looking type man sitting next to a snowbound swimming pool with a beautiful blonde taking a sunbath. The publicity man didn’t recognize the nearly undraped lovely, but did recognize Joe because he was a baseball fan. He told nobody but his wife who is a MODERN SCREEN reader—and the secret was out!
Romping in the snow and taking rides down into the desert at night, completely undisturbed by studio, family or friends, these two had a honeymoon of which Marilyn says, like any other bride, “It’s something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”
When he read the news of the DiMaggio wedding, Hollywood business agent David March smiled and felt “good and warmed and fulfilled.” It was he who first brought the lovers together.
“In view of what’s happened,” March says, “I’ll never forget the sequence of events. It was June, 1952. I was leaning against the bar at the Villa Nova on Sunset Boulevard. Joe happened to walk in. ‘What’s cooking?’ he asked.
“ ‘Nothing much,’ I answered. ‘I’m trying to drum up a little business, trying to get Marilyn Monroe as a client.’
“Well, Joe was kind of taken back by that. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘Do you really know Marilyn Monroe? I sure would love to have a date with her.’
“ ‘I’ll try and fix it,’ I said. ‘But I’m not guaranteeing.’ Then I phoned Marilyn and said, ‘How’d you like to meet a really nice guy?’
“This wasn’t one of her good days. I guess she was moody and depressed and she came back with, ‘Are there any?’ ”
“ ‘This guy’s name is Joe DiMaggio,’ I told her. ‘He’s a gentleman, Marilyn, in every sense of the word. I think you’ll like each other.’ She agreed to give it a try.
“On the afternoon of the date, however, she changed her mind, tried to track me down all over. No luck. That night she walked into the Villa Nova. I was sitting there with my date, Peggy Rabe, and with Joe. She was wearing a low-cut dress and she looked the berries. I could see that Joe was flipping his lid.
“He was really impressed and I think she was, too. They hit it off right from the start. They were just getting warmed up, conversationally, when Mickey Rooney came over.
“Well, Mickey starts talking to Joe about baseball. This was one time when Joe didn’t have his mind on baseball, but Mickey keeps yacking away, yack, yack, yack, and finally Marilyn, who didn’t know a squeeze play from third base, gets tired of it all and says she has an early morning call and has to go home.
“You know what Joe did? He jumped up. ‘Dave,’ he said, ‘take care of everything.’ And then he turned to Marilyn. ‘Would you mind driving me to my hotel?’ he said. She just smiled and they left.
“A day or so later when I asked her what she thought of Joe, she said, ‘He seems to be a real nice guy. But maybe he doesn’t like me.’
“ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked.
“ ‘Well,’ Marilyn said, ‘he asked me if I’d drive him to the airport today and I said yes and I waited all afternoon but he hasn’t called.’
“ ‘Don’t worry,’ I told her. ‘He’ll call. He’s real gone on you.’ ”
A few hours later Joe called from San Francisco, and from that day on Marilyn Monroe has had a steady boyfriend.
The courtship was slow, steady, and even paced. DiMaggio is neither fast nor slick. He got to know Marilyn gradually. He refused to take her to premiéres and big Hollywood parties—Sidney Skolsky escorted Marilyn to those—but the young actress didn’t mind. She came to understand his shy nature.
Marilyn knew Joe was in love with her when he began to take her with him to San Francisco to see his family. The first time, she went fishing with Joe and Tom.
“We just trolled,” Tom recalls, “and caught our limit of salmon. Marilyn was tops. Never a peep or a complaint out of her. When I came home that night, my wife Lee said, ‘What do you think of Joe’s girlfriend?’ And I said, ‘Funny thing. She’s just like Joe. She’s quiet and plain and shy and I like her very much.’ ”
The entire DiMaggio clan feels like that about Marilyn. Now that she’s in the family, Marilyn says, “It’s hard for me to believe that I have so many friends, so many relatives in the world. When I was very little, I had no one. Now I have so many fine people to love.”
The DiMaggios will divide their time between San Francisco and Hollywood.
In San Francisco, Joe owns a large white house overlooking the bay. It is jammed with his baseball trophies. His sister Marie has been taking care of it ever since his mother died three years ago. She will probably continue to live there.
In Hollywood, Marilyn rents a small, tastefully furnished apartment on Doheny Drive. Joe describes it as “cozy.”
One of Joe’s brothers says that he thinks it will be too small very quickly. “Especially,” he adds, “if Joe is half the guy our old man was. Pop had nine kids, all big, healthy, and strong.” Whenever Marilyn is reminded of this, she breaks into a broad grin.
“I said when we were married that I’d like to have six kids. I know that’s not as good as Mamma DiMaggio. But would you call it bad?”
—BY ALICE HOFFMAN
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE APRIL 1954