Joe DiMaggio died convinced JFK had Monroe killed

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HE WAS only married to Marilyn Monroe for nine turbulent months, but Joe DiMaggio, the reclusive US baseball legend, vowed he would never forgive the Kennedys for her death.

Now, four years after his own demise, the man immortalised by Simon and Garfunkel in the song Mrs Robinson appears to have his revenge.

A new book, written by his long-time lawyer and close companion Morris Engelberg, reveals he really did believe the Kennedy clan killed Monroe.

"They murdered the one person I loved," DiMaggio confided to Mr Engelberg.

Officially, Monroe, who allegedly enjoyed affairs with both John Kennedy, the US president, and his attorney general brother, Robert, committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1962.

But rumours she was killed by the Kennedys because she knew too much about the political dynasty’s Mafia links and was threatening to go public to get back at Robert for dumping her have persisted ever since.

DiMaggio, who organised Monroe’s funeral and, for the next 20 years, had white roses delivered to her grave twice a week, refused to talk publicly about what he thought happened. However, he appears to have sanctioned his memoirs to come out after his death.

The Yankee Clipper, as he was known, claims to have read the Hollywood star’s diary after her death.

Monroe’s journal disappeared shortly afterwards but, according to the book DiMaggio: Setting the Record Straight, the star of The Seven Year Itch had apparently noted her conversations with Robert Kennedy about CIA plans to poison Fidel Castro with the aid of the Chicago gangster Sam Giancana, and the government’s investigation into union leader Jimmy Hoffa’s Mafia links.

Monroe met the Kennedys through Peter Lawford, their British brother-in-law, and is believed to have passed on Robert’s pillow talk to Frank Sinatra, who in turn reported to Giancana.

Engelberg and co-author Marv Schneider tell how Monroe spoke to DiMaggio’s son, Joe Jnr, on the night she died saying she wanted to set the record straight.

"She said she spoke with RFK [Robert Kennedy] three or four times a week and he told her about the work he was doing," the book reveals. "He mentioned which mobsters they were going after. Marilyn would pass on some of those tidbits to Sinatra, according to Joe Jnr."

DiMaggio shed no tears when the Kennedys were assassinated. According to the book, which contains a foreword by Henry Kissinger, DiMaggio believed "they got what they deserved".

DiMaggio, who was 84 when he died after a long battle with cancer, refused to shake Robert Kennedy’s hand when they met at New York’s Yankee Stadium. Just a few years before he died he agreed to go to the Kennedy Centre only if no member of the extended political family was there.

When Engelberg asked him why, DiMaggio responded: "What they did to me will never be forgotten."

DiMaggio was considered to be one of the greatest baseball players, but he hated the limelight and sports fans were stunned when he suddenly married Monroe in 1954. He was 39 and already retired, she was 27 and at the height of her fame.

They spent their honeymoon in Japan, where 100,000 US troops turned out to meet them. Afterwards, Monroe commented: "I have never heard so much cheering." DiMaggio replied knowingly: "I have."

Few were surprised when the couple split within nine months. He moved to Hollywood, Florida, and in later years, became estranged from his only son, Joe Jnr, and other family members.

Engelberg, his next door neighbour, came under attack in the months before the player’s death for appearing to control every aspect of DiMaggio’s life.