When she died, he was really her only family. DiMaggio was the one who flew from New York to LA, United Airlines holding the flight just for him. He was the one who identified Monroe’s body, who organized a small, private funeral, who designed her simple, elegant headstone.
DiMaggio never returned to her grave, but he remembered the wish she’d expressed so many years ago, when they were first dating: that when she died, she wanted flowers delivered to her grave every week, just like William Powell did for Jean Harlow.
And every week, until his death in 1999, DiMaggio had fresh roses delivered to Monroe’s crypt twice a week. He never remarried, and on his deathbed, his last words were, “‘I’ll finally get to see Marilyn again.” x
Marilyn Monroe, August 1953. After injuring her ankle, she was unable to start filming River of No Return, so John Vachon was able to shoot a number of candids of her, including her then fiancee Joe DiMaggio.