November 19, 1939: Duluth’s Dorothy Arnold marries Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio

On this day in 1939, Duluth native and movie actress Dorothy Arnold married Joe DiMaggio, then the most popular professional baseball player in the world. The pair met in January 1937 on the set of the film Manhattan Merry-Go-Round and, according to the New York Daily News, “instantly hit it off.” They were wed at San Francisco’s Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral and as many as 20,000 well-wishers (most of them described as “laughing Italians”) reportedly lined the streets near the church to get a glimpse of the new couple. Life magazine described the event as having “a carnival spirit that jammed streets and broke police lines” and noted that “even the wedding party had to battle the crowd for 15 minutes to get inside the church” and that “one woman fainted in the crush of the doorway.” The magazine also informed readers that although Arnold was raised a Protestant, she had been accepted into the Catholic Church just a week before. According to biographer David Ouse, “Arnold gave birth to Joe DiMaggio III on October 23, 1941. By then, Joe and Dorothy were drifting apart. They separated and Dorothy was granted a divorce on May 12, 1944, when DiMaggio was serving in the army.” Learn more about Duluth’s Dorothy Arnold here.

Duluthian Dorothy Arnold and her brand new husband, baseball legend Joe Dimaggio. (Image: New York Daily News)