Friday, October 13, 2006

New Book: "Marilyn, Joe & Me" by June DiMaggio -- Is it Fact or Fiction?

(There's a new book that just came out called "Marilyn, Joe & Me" by June DiMaggio, Joe DiMaggio's niece. It supposdly reveals a bunch of new things about Joe and Marilyn's relationship and about how she died. Now, several people are coming forward and saying the book is a fraud and that many of the things in it never happened. This is an article I found online by a writer named Mark Bellinhaus)

Let’s begin with the most outrageous character – June DiMaggio. Who is she? The last name itself creates interest and memories of the sweet past, the Yankee Clipper, Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson," and even Madonna includes the name in her “Vogue” ode to fame. But now I want to change that famous lyric to "Where have you come from, June DiMaggio?"
No one had ever heard of her, so it was extremely hard to find out anything, even with expensive investigations. But now she is willingly joining the media circus, without explaining where she was hiding while her legendary uncle Joe was alive. CBS is planning a 48 Hours special on Marilyn Monroe for this month, supposedly with June DiMaggio, and we look forward to the funny but absurd little stories she seems to have dreamed up and written down in her fictional memoir Marilyn, Joe and Me!, her "what if?" journal.
I watched her last November during the press opening for Marilyn Monroe: the Exhibit at the Queen Mary, and it was a weird, unreal experience—like a theatre performance gone bad. When talking about Marilyn, she shouted and stuttered, then regained her pace and followed (it seemed to me) her rehearsed lines.
Let’s begin with her one excusable untruth, her age. She claims to be 77, but for any former actress and dancer, knocking five years off is forgivable. But not so when it comes to twisting facts and fabricating fictions about the biggest and best-loved movie star of the 20th century. June says she was best of friends with Marilyn Monroe, and that her mother, Lee, wife of Tom DiMaggio (one of Joe's eight siblings), was Marilyn’s closest friend, and even knew who murdered her — Lee was chatting with her on the phone when the killer walked into Marilyn’s bedroom. Lee never told, because “she wanted her children to live.”
During June DiMaggio’s interviews, her co-writer Mary Jane Popp, actress, infomercial and radio host (, always stood close by her side and sometimes gave the answers for her, because she sounded very coached and prepared. June repeated herself with what seemed like anger in her voice, camouflaged as a "sweet old lady with the trademark bangs". In some ways she reminded me of a marionette being dragged from one stage to the next, with her explosive news on Marilyn Monroe. She gave interviews even in the hallways, always making sure that the viewers would believe (and buy her book), her statements still sounding in my ear: "THAT IS THE TRUTH!” and “YOU CAN READ ABOUT ALL THIS IN MY BOOK!" But you can feel when someone is hiding something, and now I can prove it.
CBS recently referred to June as "the last DiMaggio," but that’s not so, Joe's brother Dom DiMaggio is still with us. When I called him at his home in Florida, Dom confirmed to me that "June DiMaggio is not the biological daughter of my brother Tom." So June is related, but only through her mother Lee. She is a step-DiMaggio only.
In my research, I find no evidence at all that Monroe was even friendly with Lee or June DiMaggio. The San Francisco newspaper story on Marilyn and Joe’s wedding has Lee and Tom on the guest list, but June is not mentioned. The names of Lee and June do not appear in four of Monroe's personal address and phone books -- these items sold at auctions in recent years for astronomical amounts. Because of my friendship with most of the known Monroe collectors, I could ask the new owners to look into those personal and intimate Monroe artifacts; it was not surprising to find that June DiMaggio and her mother Lee are not listed in any of them . . . while Joe DiMaggio and his son Joe Jr. are present in all of them.
In the infamous December Playboy interview, June DiMaggio claims to have attended the funeral of Marilyn Monroe ("as I was riding along with my uncle Joe in a limousine..."). There are numerous photos disproving this statement.
We also have a witness who can testify to June’s absence. Funeral director Allan Abbott, 68, was a pallbearer for Marilyn’s funeral. At Joe DiMaggio’s request, he also stood at the door checking off the names on the brief guest list, handing programs to each person on the list. He told me he’d never heard the name June DiMaggio in his life. Ernest Cunningham’s book The Ultimate Marilyn identifies the small group of invited guests but June is still missing.
Allan Abbott was 24 at the time Monroe was buried, but his memory is still fresh. This man’s statement was the true reason I continued in my investigations. My deepest appreciation goes out to him, a great man who had the honor of carrying Marilyn Monroe’s casket to her crypt, where we can visit her now, pay tribute, and weep.
June is the latest in a long line of Marilyn frauds, men and women coming out of nowhere, claiming to be Marilyn Monroe's son or daughter (or husband or lover, whatever). There’s a man claiming to be the illegitimate son of Marilyn and JFK, insisting that the three of them had lived openly in Marilyn’s Brentwood home. There was Robert Slatzer, who passed away last year, who claimed (with nothing to document it) that he had been married to Marilyn.

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