Continuing the We Didn't Start the Fire roll call . . .
Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye
Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye
Today: Joe Di Maggio
Joseph Paul "Joe" DiMaggio (1914 – 1999), nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper", was an American Major League Baseball centre fielder who played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is also known for his 9 month marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Following their divorce he remained in contact and had planned to ask her to remarry him but she was found dead. He had a half-dozen red roses delivered three times a week to her crypt for 20 years. He refused to talk about her publicly or otherwise exploit their relationship and never married again. When he died in 1999, his last words were "I'll finally get to see Marilyn."
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Wu wu wu
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Jolting Joe has left and gone away
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey
- Paul Simon, Mrs Robinson
References in the last verse to Joe DiMaggio are perhaps the most discussed. Paul Simon, a fan of Mickey Mantle, was asked during an intermission on The Dick Cavett Show why Mantle was not mentioned in the song instead of DiMaggio. Simon replied, "It's about syllables, Dick. It's about how many beats there are." Paul Simon met Joe DiMaggio accidentally in a New York restaurant, and the two immediately discussed the song. DiMaggio said "What I don't understand, is why you ask where I've gone. I just did a Mr. Coffee commercial, I'm a spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank and I haven't gone anywhere!" Simon replied "that I didn't mean the lines literally, that I thought of him as an American hero and that genuine heroes were in short supply. He accepted the explanation and thanked me. We shook hands and said good night." In a New York Times op-ed in March 1999, shortly after DiMaggio's death, Simon discussed this meeting and explained that the line was meant as a sincere tribute to DiMaggio's unpretentious heroic stature, in a time when popular culture magnifies and distorts how we perceive our heroes. He further reflected: "In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about private sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence." Simon subsequently performed "Mrs. Robinson" at Yankee Stadium in DiMaggio's honor the month after his death.
Monroe and DiMaggio when they were married in January 1954