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Dorothy met DiMaggio in 1937 — she was 19, he was 23 — on the set of Manhattan Merry-Go-Round. DiMaggio had a minor speaking role in the film; Arnold had no lines.
When Arnold visited her home town of Duluth on July 13, 1939, she was showing off her engagement ring. She married DiMaggio on Nov. 18, 1939 at SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in San Francisco. A UP report about the wedding noted that “San Francisco’s North Beach Italian population turned out in a carnival spirit that jammed streets and broke police lines.” Thousands of people (estimates vary from 10,000 to 20,000) gathered outside the cathedral and overflowed into Washington Square. The wedding party had to battle the crowd for 15 minutes to get inside the church. The bride and her father, Victor Arnold Olson, needed a police escort to fight the crowd.
The couple honeymooned in Honolulu, and lived in an apartment in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. On Oct. 23, 1941, the year of DiMaggio’s famous 56-game hitting streak, Dorothy gave birth to their first child, Joseph DiMaggio III.
The couple split up in 1942, but later reconciled in front of the press. They separated again on Oct. 6, 1943. DiMaggio enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to Hawaii. Arnold filed for divorce, which was granted on May 12, 1944. She received $500 a month in alimony, custody of Joe Jr. and $150 in child support. Despite the divorce, they spent Christmas together in 1945.
She married stockbroker George Schuster in 1946. The two were divorced within five years.
In 1951, she told Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper she was thinking of “getting back with Joe,” but in early 1952 DiMaggio met Marilyn Monroe, whom he would marry on Jan. 14, 1954. They divorced after nine months.
In 1991, a piece of fruitcake from the DiMaggio/Arnold wedding was auctioned off for $1,100. It was incorrectly reported to be from DiMaggio’s marriage to Monroe.