Marilyn Monroe's Lost Love Letters to Be Auctioned
It's no secret Joe DiMaggio loved Marilyn Monroe. The baseball great cried at her funeral and for 20 years had flowers placed at her crypt several times a week.
The public displays were unusual for the famously stoic and private DiMaggio. Now, his heartbreak over the breakup of their marriage will get a rare public airing when "Marilyn Monroe's Lost Archives" goes up for bid at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills next month.
"I love you and want to be with you," DiMaggio said in one pained letter to Monroe from the collection, written when she announced she was filing for divorce after a matter of months in 1954. "There is nothing I would like better than to restore your confidence in me."
The 300 items also include love letters from Monroe's third and final husband, playwright Arthur Miller. There's also a handwritten letter from Monroe to Miller in which the woman who was arguably Hollywood's greatest sex symbol muses about her many insecurities.
DiMaggio wrote in his letter that he learned Monroe was leaving him when he saw her make the announcement on television.
"My heart split even wider seeing you cry in front of all these people," he wrote in the letter addressed to "Mrs. Joe DiMaggio" and mailed special delivery.
Other letters in the collection come from such friends as Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Jane Russell, the latter imploring Monroe in 10 neatly handwritten pages to give her marriage to DiMaggio another chance.
"It really gives you the chills when you read some of the stuff and see the intimacy and the personal nature of it," said auction curator Martin Nolan, who spent nine months organizing and cataloging the collection.
Auction owner Darren Julien estimates the pieces could fetch $1 million or more, noting a watercolor Monroe painted and planned to give to President John Kennedy went for $80,000 at an estate auction nine years ago. Monroe's "collectability" has skyrocketed in recent years, driven in part by deep-pocketed Asian and European collectors with a fondness for American pop-culture artifacts, he said.
The fact that the centerpiece of this collection is not just celebrity tchotchkes but deeply personal artifacts is also expected to fuel interest.