10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Brought to you by guest reviewer JoAnne
Let me first tell you that I love biographies. It doesn’t matter if they’re movie stars or war veterans; politicians or animals. I read them like I read any other book, but with a catch: in a novel, you expect to connect to the characters somehow, to try and like them or at least be willing to spend a few hours of your time with them (or however long it takes to read the book). With biographies, you expect to learn about the person; their likes and dislikes, their manner, their thoughts, ideas, and how they lived their lives. Well, I did learn how Ms. Monroe and Mr. DiMaggio lived their lives. But it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.
The keyword here from the blurb is “scandals”. The way Mr. Heymann portrays Ms. Monroe is as follows: A nymphomanic who liked to walk around in the nude high on drugs and would sleep with anything that wore pants. (Mr. DiMaggio doesn’t fare any better; we are told – but very few examples are given – that he would sleep with any woman who came near him). In fact, according to this “biography” that’s all they did – sleep with each other and anyone else who crossed their paths. From the way Mr. Heyman describes it, I am sure their marriage didn’t survive not because their personalities were so different, but the fact that they couldn’t stay faithful to each other.
Nearly everything the author tells us I already knew: Marilyn’s childhood, teenage years, first marriage, the heavy drug use, the Kennedy years, etc. The only new stuff was the numerous – nay,constant affairs she was having. It reads as if she were having so many affairs, she wasn’t tired from the work she was doing while in Hollywood; all her energy was sapped from having to sleep with so many people. She slept not only her way through Hollywood, she slept with people right through all her marriages, and it didn’t matter who it was. The author excuses it by stating that:
‘Marilyn looked as sex as the only thing she had to give to men, so she gave it.’
What is said of Joe is a little about his first marriage, how badly he treated his wife and about his horrendous temper and jealousy of any man who looked at Marilyn. He is portrayed as a man with a terrible temper who disliked the limelight and could not understand Marilyn’s desire for a career and to be photographed constantly. Joe’s son from his first marriage, Joe DiMaggio, Jr. also figures heavily in this book, as Marilyn’s relationship with him never wavered, even after she divorced his father. It was a stability in his life that he longed for and appreciated.
I will not spoil the book for others by stating exactly what drove the relationship between Joe and Marilyn. Suffice it to say that they both loved each other until the day they respectively died. I was, however, disappointed to find that this was not truly the love story between Joe and Marilyn; what it was, at least to me, was more about Marilyn’s career and how badly she wanted it, and things about her life (which might prove interesting to others who aren’t aware of the details).
Unless you’re a baseball fan, you will probably find new and interesting information on Joe Dimaggio, the Yankee Clipper. For myself, I already knew. I grew up in a household with a brother who can recite every baseball stat from every year, so I know what a great player he was. (My brother is a flight attendant and was once on an airplane with Harmon Killebrew, an ex-Minnesota Twin player, and when he started quoting stats, Harmon’s son told him, “you know more about my dad’s stats than he does!” So you see, baseball I know, just by osmosis…)
I was saddened to read of the terrible relationship between Joe and his son Joe, Jr. I have to wonder if this was just the way Joe was as a person, or if it was because his own relationship with his father wasn’t that great. Although he supposedly was extremely close to his family growing up, it doesn’t seem that having a close relationship as such wouldn’t carry over into his own son, however much he wanted him to be a ballplayer. (After all, Joe himself didn’t do what his own father wanted him to do, and that was work on the fishing boat).
There are photos, but only one of Joe and Marilyn together, so if you’re expecting more, you won’t see it here. That could be due to Joe’s dislike of the press, however. At the last as I see it (and this is just my opinion), is that practically every other page has something about Marilyn’s sexploits on it, and they read like a tabloid. Unfortunately, it was not for me.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
At the time I wrote this review, this book had an average review of 4 1/2 stars here at Amazon.
This book is riddled with lies about JFK, RFK, Marilyn, Jackie, and just about every significant person allegedly written about in this or any of the author's celebrity biographies. An article by Newsweek's Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston in the September 5, 2014 issue of Newsweek Magazine claims numerous fabrications in this book. What's far more significant is that pretty much all of this very successful author's biographies are complete B.S. According to the article,"for 30 years...major publishers gave Heymann big advances, and respected media outlets--the New Yorker, The New York Times, People, Vanity Fair, USA Today and NPR--praised and promoted his books. I (Johnston) had exposed his first celebrity bio as a fraud on the front page of the Los Angeles Times back in 1983, and knew his methods hadn't changed over the years.
An example: In one of his celebrity bios Heymann names a Los Angeles doctor and claims the doctor prescribed unsuitable meds to the celebrity. The doctor came forward to dispute it. As it turns out, the doctor was 14 at the time the alleged unethical medical practice by him was committed.
The article is extensive. I'm not going to copy and paste the entire thing. If you're one who highly praised this or any of Heymann's books as genuine or filled with fact based upon extensive research, I think you owe it to yourself to read the article. If you do read the article and wrote a positive review here at Amazon or anywhere else for that matter, I think you owe it to your fellow readers, as well as to your personal credibility that you amend your review accordingly. If you're considering buying any of Heymann's biographies, only do so if you have a real love for fiction. This review of mine is not intended to make those who praised this book look like fools. Thousands, perhaps even millions of intelligent people were fooled by this author. Rather, I suggest you be angered at not only this author, who is now deceased but his very alive and well publishers, who continue to take "us" (I elect not to say "you") all for fools and have been laughing at us on a daily basis, all the way to the bank. For 30 years, I, in hindsight see with astonishment and then bemusement as major publishers gave Heymann big advances, and respected media outlets--The New Yorker, The New York Times, People, Vanity Fair, USA Today and NPR--praised and promoted his books. His first celebrity bio was exposed as a fraud on the front page of the Los Angeles Times back in 1983. Until his death a couple years ago, his methods never changed.
I didn't buy or read this book. I fortunately learned all this stuff before buying. I too would have easily been fooled. Now that I think about it, this "review" is not a review but rather a disclosure. Please don't critique me for not having spent my money on this book yet still wrote, under the review category, this statement. If you do, I'll critique you for not having bought and read the Newsweek Magazine I allude to. :-) I know of no other appropriate forum at Amazon's website to pen this.
I love good biographies and the biography written about Heymann in Newsweek is one of the best I've read in my nearly 60 years on this planet. If you love "justice" you'll be disgusted to learn about the millions of dollars this author was paid by the likes of Simon & Schuster and Random House. You'll be equally disgusted about the publishing houses that knew, or refused to hear the truth about Heymann. There is no integrity in the publishing business; at least not with the behemoth houses we continue to support. There is only a fierce drive for profit without any respect for their customers.
The lesson: I learned from this. Going forward, before I purchase a biography, I'm going to do my own investigations of the author. It is hoped, if it's another like Heymann, the controversial facts about him or her will be known at the time.
Don't take my word for it. Read the article. Google David Cay Johnston. Then, Google "David Heymann biographer". The L.A. Times article you'll find, among many others, will delight all who enjoy truthful biographies.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2014
I haven't read this book but my father is quoted several times since he knew Joe, my grandfather lived with him. I do know that my father never talked to the author and the quotes attributed to him are not from him. They are fabricated so I would question any other material presented.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2014
Reading JOE AND MARILYN, the latest volume about the on-again/off-again relationship between the Hall of Fame Yankee and the Hollywood icon, I was reminded what the Jewish sage Hillel said when challenged to explain the entirety of the Torah while standing on one foot. “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another,” he replied. “This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary.”
The late C. David Heymann’s final book falls along this concept. DiMaggio loved Monroe (in his fashion); Monroe loved DiMaggio (in hers). The rest is commentary. And a lot of it.
Heymann offers bits and pieces from dozens of other sources. In one uncited reference, he includes a passage about one of Monroe’s nurses meeting DiMaggio: ‘“I immediately recognized [him],’ she said. ‘He was a tall, handsome, imposing figure in a double-breasted dark blue suit, French cuffed-shirt, hand-painted tie, spit-polished shoes, and a designer overcoat on his arm.”’ The book is full of similarly detailed accounts of what people wore, the hotels in which they stayed, the meals they ate, the alcohol they drank, etc. --- apparently more interested in appearances than substance. None of the references are specifically cited. I suppose providing footnotes would have added more pages than the publisher was willing to accommodate.
Celebrity biographies and memoirs have become much more explicit in recent years, a reflection of prurient times. A generation ago, authors never would have included anatomical descriptions and euphemisms for genitalia. Monroe is described, charitably, as a woman who enjoyed the company of men. Whether that was a psychological issue --- she was basically unacknowledged by her biological father --- or because she’d become inured of sexual activity, having surrendered to the casting couch on numerous occasions, is a matter for psychologists to answer. DiMaggio, meanwhile, was of a community of macho men who believed they could do what they liked outside the confines of marriage. There are plenty of descriptions about their prowess in the bedroom to be characterized as “voyeuristic.”
The Yankee Clipper was more than a decade older than Monroe when they met. His playing career had recently ended while her acting career was in full glow. He tried to convince her that the Hollywood machine was taking advantage of her. She, on the other hand, understood the game; skimpy clothes, breathy line delivery and suggestive dialogue helped make her a star, although she was constantly trying to reinvent herself as a “serious actress.” The cycle would go something like this: Monroe would wear something DiMaggio thought inappropriate or be out with a male friend. An Othello-like DiMaggio would object, most often with words but sometimes physically. They would briefly separate and reconcile, with promises to behave better. It rarely worked for long, and they were divorced before reaching their first anniversary, the poster couple for those who deeply loved each other but couldn’t stay together.
Monroe’s saga accounts for the bulk of the book. She is primarily portrayed as a victim: of the Hollywood system, of her mental health issues, of her baser urges. She was inquisitive, intelligent, warm, loving to Joe DiMaggio Jr. (the affection of his own father being sorely lacking). She was a gifted but difficult actor with horrible work habits, often arriving on set late, impaired and unprepared, yet she complained of not being taken seriously because of her looks.
Monroe carried on affairs with many men, including, to name just a few, John F. Kennedy and his brother, Bobby; actors Yves Montand and Marlon Brando; and playwright Arthur Miller, whom she would later marry and divorce. All eventually ended in disappointment; the reality of being with “MM” could never match the fantasy.
Monroe’s downward spiral is the accident from which you can’t look away. Her erratic behavior was eventually diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia, and the increasing dependence on drugs foreshadowed her doom, almost rivalling the hullabaloo surrounding the death of Michael Jackson. Frankly, if all the reports were true --- multiple prescriptions for various barbiturates, sleeping pills, and sedatives proffered by various doctors with questionable ethics --- one wonders how she could function at all.
Heymann --- who died in 2012 --- wrote bestselling biographies on Robert Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, among others. He earned a bit of notoriety in 1983 after his book about heiress Barbara Hutton was withdrawn by the publisher because of factual errors. In his New York Times obituary, Margalit Fox wrote, “Though some critics admired Mr. Heymann’s biographies for their comprehensiveness, others were far more caustic. Their concerns included his use of single rather than multiple sources in reconstructing historical events, and his reliance on hearsay accounts by people not directly involved in incidents he was describing.”
Suffice it to say, this tendency seems to carry over in JOE AND MARILYN. A number of characters insinuated and inflated themselves into her story, claiming if only they had done this or that, they might have been able to prevent her suicide (if that was, indeed, how Monroe died; conspiracy theories about murder abound).
In the beginning chapters, DiMaggio is described as petty, mean and inconsistent. But later, and contrary to more contemporary bios, Heymann refers to him as a kinder, gentler soul, heartbroken to realize he did not enjoy her favors exclusively, which led to the verbal and occasionally physical abuse. Despite these conflicts, DiMaggio was always there for Monroe in her most desperate moments, which is what makes this love story so compelling, even 50 years after her death.
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I must begin by saying that this book has been on the "Coming Soon" list for two years or more. The wait for its release was, I am sure, due to the death of the writer, C. David Heymann in 2012. However, I do feel "Legends In Love" brings to light many little discussed facts and sources that we have yet to hear from on the great Monroe. Especially moving and "fresh" were the words from Joe DeMaggion, Jr., the son of "Joltin'Joe", to which Marilyn, was, per most sources, likely the last person to have a conversation wait. Jr's insight into the loving, caring and non-manipulative side of Monroe and the mistreatment MM suffered not only at the hands of the men in her life, but also of those she trusted most with her career and image were eye-opening, and 50 yrs after her death, shed much on the whole "Mystery" of the Legend that is Marilyn. I liked this book immensely and closed it, with new thoughts on the Screen Goddess and the "real woman" who lived in her skin...and they were two very different people, for sure!! Good read...very thought provoking...held my interest!! It's sad we shall never hear from biographer Heymann again...RIP, Sir...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2014
"Joe and Marilyn" delves into the torrid, turbulent, and short-lived love affair between Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. The couple married in January 1954 and divorced a mere nine months later. The divorce was sparked by revealing photos of Marilyn’s subway dress during the filming of "The Seven Year Itch." Even though Joe and Marilyn’s marriage was brief, they remained lifelong friends, especially after Marilyn and Arthur Miller’s divorce. Not only does "Joe and Marilyn" give readers a glimpse into the lives of these noted celebrities, it also lets them explore their psyches.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The writer takes the reader through the life of Joe and Marilyn with great detail. His research provides the reader with new information which discusses the dynamics of their relationship and those who were close to the couple. The book discusses the good the bad and the ugly of their relationship.
About a year ago I was certain that I would never read another book about Marilyn Monroe. MM was lovely, talented, and posthumously the most overworked celebrity. Unfortunately, she is still overworked in this book by C. David Heymann. I can repeat a lot of the anecdotes that appear in this book verbatim. It is sort of pathetic yet I have to admit that the premise of this book has a certain amount of appeal.
In reality the courtship and marriage of Marilyn and Joltin' Jor DiMaggio was short lived and to a certain extent a footnote. Possibly it is because I know so little about DiMaggio and saw the man only once in my life at a collectors show, but the story that emerges about the man was very interesting and explains at least in part why he and MM had an ongoing relationship in the years after their divorce including the time she was married to Arthur Miller and dabnling with the Kennedys. The Joe in this book is a strange man who is reticent and vengeful but seems to have only one weakness in life named Marilyn Monroe. If this Joe was less than a prince before MM's death, the Joe that emerged after August, 1962 was callous and cruel and vengeful. He rightly or wrongly rejected his only son with whom he never attempted to develop a relationship with and treated a substantial number of blood relations like dirt.
I found the "Joe" story with and without MM fascinating and totally interesting.
My advice? If you know zip about Joe, read this book. It's landed with information and presents an interesting story.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2014
Interesting read..however..the author insists that Joe Di Maggio " loved" Marilyn..and of course, Marilyn "loved" Joe, Arthur, etc etc.. I honestly don't believe Joe or Marilyn really knew what real "love" is..Their psychological makeups prevented that..what masqueraded as "love" was lust, dominance, control, fantasy and so on. Joe didn't have much to do with his only son, instead he was flying around the world in pursuit of Marilyn..his real responsibility should have been with his son, who had a mother who was equally dismissive of him.Whenever the word "love" is used in this book..gives me a laugh. The principal characters here had no clue was real love is, although they thought they did. It is touching to read that Marilyn was very attentive to Joe's son..and also to Arthur Miller's children..She had a good heart, but sadly..her addictions/mental illness took over for her..
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Truman Capote is one of my favorite authors, and I think his assessment of Monroe sums her up perfectly.....her life was tragic, and she was always searching for stability, in her relationships and in her mind---she was a "beautiful child" who was never nurtured/loved. I listened to an interview with her recently, and I had no clue she was that intelligent....I thought she was no more than a "bimbo" as she was portrayed.....even her voice was normal---not that annoying breathy, baby-doll voice that we all know so well. And I have new found respect for DiMaggio....He was the quintessential gentleman and a rock that Monroe could always lean on. Very good book....highly recommended.