A book due for release in the US next month promises to shed new light on the mystery and intrigue surrounding the death of Marilyn Monroe. But the book itself has become the centre of mystery and intrigue, with doubts raised about whether the author really was a close friend of the Hollywood starlet and the niece of Maryiln’s one-time husband Joe DiMaggio, as she’s been claiming. If she is who she claims to be and what she says is true, her account adds further weight to the theory that Marilyn was murdered. If she’s not, and the book is a hoax, it’s an amazing con that’s already made fools out of a number of US media outlets.
June DiMaggio says she is the daughter of Tom and Lee DiMaggio, the brother and sister in law of baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, who was married to Marilyn Monroe for nine turbulent months in 1954. More than that, she also claims she and her mother were Marilyn’s close friends for 11 years.
In her book Marilyn, Joe and Me, she claims that her mother Lee was on the telephone to Marilyn at the moment she was murdered. “She (Marilyn) called my mother. And, evidently, while she was on the phone, she screamed, and she screamed out the name or the names – I`m not sure – of who was in the room and dropped the phone. And my mother knew she was murdered,” June DiMaggio said in an interview on CNN. “My mother would never tell anyone what she heard, because she wanted us to live.”
June DiMaggio also claims that police were alerted to Marilyn’s death on the same night she died – August 4, 1962 – and not at earlier the following morning when the starlet’s housekeeper found her body. She says police visited her house about 11pm that night, trying to find Joe DiMaggio to tell him about Marilyn’s death.
According to the book, Mob hitmen from New York flew to California to kill Marilyn and retrieve a journal she had been keeping. It will add fuel to the theory that Marilyn was murdered at the request of the White House, eager to avoid a scandal over her affair with John F Kennedy.
But there seems to be as much mystery surrounding June DiMaggio and her claims as there is surrounding Monroe’s supposed suicide.
Leading the debunkers is Mark Bellinghaus, who has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Monroe memorabilia in the world. In a detailed rebuttal to June DiMaggio’s claims he says:
o Four address books belonging to Marilyn Monroe and now in the hands of collectors do not contain the names of either June or Lee Di Maggio, despite the claim they were her close friends.
o June claims to have been at the wedding of Joe DiMaggio and Monroe in San Francisco in January 1954, but her name doesn’t appear on any lists of guests published at the time.
o June claims to have attended Marilyn’s funeral, roofing contractors monroe la riding in a car with her uncle Joe DiMaggio. But photographs taken on the day do not show her. Nor was her name of the exclusive guest list for the funeral.
o June says she cooked an anchovy pizza for Marilyn on the day she died and that the starlet ate it. But the autopsy report shows her stomach was empty and she had not eaten that day.
o June claims she visited Monroe’s house the following day to collect her pizza pan, letting herself in with a set of keys Marilyn had given her. But the house had been declared a crime scene by then and had been sealed by police.
o June DiMaggio claims to have been a close friend of Monroe for years prior to her death, but her name is not mentioned in any of the dozens of books written about the starlet by friends and biographers.
o June DiMaggio may have been Tom DiMaggio’s step daughter, not was not his natural daughter. The only surviving DiMaggio brother, Dom, says he doesn’t know who she is.
Of course Mark Bellinghaus has his own axed to grind with June DiMaggio. DiMaggio has a rival collection of Marilyn memorabilia, which she makes money from showing. Bellinghaus claims many of the items in the DiMaggio collection are fakes.
“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),” Bellinghaus says.
Either way, the controversy surrounding “Marilyn, Joe and Me” seems destined to make it a best seller.