Book discredited by scrutiny

The Columbia Journalism Review, a journal that covers ethical issues, has called on the CBS-owned publishing firm Simon and Schuster to destroy all stocks of a book on Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio that deals in part with their activities in Nevada.

The book, Joe and Marilyn, was written by C. David Heymann, a now-deceased author. One of his previous books, a biography of Barbara Hutton, was exposed as a fraud in the Los Angeles Times, and 58,000 copies were destroyed by Random House. His books had a suspicious habit of relying for information on deceased sources.

In its Aug. 27 edition, Newsweek carried a David Cay Johnston article raising serious questions about the reliability of Joe and Marilyn. Johnston wrote that Heymann “cites Joe DiMaggio Jr. … as a source on more than 50 of the book's 393 pages. Joe Jr. died in 1999, long before Heymann started work on the book, and he routinely turned reporters away. Public records contradict many of the quotes attributed to him in the book.”

“[A]ll the celebrity bios Heymann wrote [for CBS] are riddled with errors and fabrications,” Johnston wrote, questioning why CBS keeps publishing them and urging teachers to use them.

Joe and Marilyn touches on Nevada aspects of both of the celebrities' lives, and of other figures associated with them—Monroe during the filming of the Nevada movie The Misfits, playwright Arthur Miller's stay at the Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch to establish divorce residency so he could marry Monroe, Dorothy DiMaggio's 1942 visit to Reno to start divorce proceedings, Monroe's 1946 Las Vegas divorce from Jim Dougherty, and other Nevada items.

At one point, Heymann writes, “Miller and Monroe shared a two-bedroom suite at the Mapes Hotel and Casino in Reno; their marriage in tatters, they occupied separate rooms and were rarely seen together. When they were seen together, the spectacle wasn't always pretty. Monroe delighted in humiliating and embarrassing her husband before cast and crew alike.” While Monroe had a Mapes suite for greeting visitors and other ceremonial purposes, she had a hideaway elsewhere in the city where she stayed.