When Joe DiMaggio walked in the Dr. Rock Positano in New York City, the clinic in 1990 to seek help for an old heel spur injury, the doctor had no idea that he would develop a friendship with the iconic baseball player that would last for 10 years.
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“The most important thing was to heal him and for him as well, that is what we did,” the foot and ankle specialist told Fox News.
He has recently published a book about his unlikely relationship with the Yankee Clipper, with the title “Dinner with DiMaggio.”
“As soon as our doctor-patient relationship was over, I never thought I would hear from him,” said Positano, who was 32 at the time when he the society, who are 40 years his senior. “And then a few months later, he has literally to be seen on the desk and says:” Hey, boy, you want to grab a cup of coffee?’ That’s pretty much how our friendship] has happened.”
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While the sports champ was notorious for his own, Positano, said he quickly became a part of DiMaggio’s “Bat Pack,” a handful of friends should in his inner circle. About the diners in restaurants in New York City in the’90s, DiMaggio would share his most intimate thoughts during the last years of his life, including those involving his ex-wife Marilyn Monroe, Positano claims.
“The important thing is that he always told the group that they are an incredibly intelligent, talented, gifted actress and he had a problem with the people see her as this dumb blonde,” stated Positano. “He made it clear to our group that she was anything but a dumb blonde… She can learn scripts faster than most people can. And he has always found that an amazing part of her make-up. It goes much further than her physical beauty, he felt that she was a smart professional.”
DiMaggio married the Hollywood star in 1954, but they would split just nine months later. Their romance was filled with passion, Positano said.
“He made an allusion to the fact that, when they’re together in the bedroom] it was as if the gods were fighting,” said Positano. “There was thunder and lightning. Of course, he never got the graphics because let’s be honest, Joe was a gentleman. He was not going to discuss certain things with our group or anyone else for that matter. So I think he’s just speaking as a man to a group of men to listen to him.”
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Positano added that nobody asked him for more details about the iconic sex-symbol.
“We have never, ever, ever brought up Marilyn Monroe on the table,” he stressed. “If he brought her, he brought her on… and of course, no one dared to ask a follow-up question.”
DiMaggio’s love for Monroe endured, even after her death at the age of 36 in 1962 from an apparent overdose, but he had some problems with the star, to Positano. DiMaggio allegedly complained that they “would not take a bath days” and that their marriage ended because of her inability to have children.
Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller after her breakup with DiMaggio. That marriage would last from 1956 until the pair divorced in 1961.
Positano is also of the opinion that familiarity played a role in DiMaggio and Monroe’s split.
“I think the biggest reason why, from what we gathered in our conversations with him, was that you had two iconic people,” he said. “He was the most famous American sports star… She was the most famous famous Hollywood actress. And let’s be honest, there is always competition between two people who, regardless of how much they love each other or even care about each other.
“We had the feeling that their career may have led to the problems that they had… but Joe had an enormous amount of love, respect and care for her. And I think at the end of the day, Joe was more concerned about making sure that they are in a good place and a good position. That they cared for and loved. That was really his main concern.”
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Still, Monroe and DiMaggio remained friends until the end. When Monroe died, it was DiMaggio who claimed her body and took over the funeral arrangements. And for 20 years, DiMaggio had roses delivered to Monroe’s crypt three times a week. For years, the rumors already a long time is that if Monroe does not pass, the former lovers would have remarried.
Positano is not so sure.
“He is clearly not one of us during one of these dinner conversations that there was once something in the works about a reconciliation,” he said. “It is difficult to say what would have happened. He has to take care of her until the day she died? Well, yes. He clearly did. But it is difficult to say whether there was ever a reconciliation, a marriage, or something like that.”
DiMaggio never remarried.
“He had a crush on [model] Elle Macpherson,” Positano claimed. “He also had an eye on [TV journalist] Elizabeth Vargas. Joe was intelligent, active, beautiful women.”
Positano also added that women are just as intrigued by the mysterious DiMaggio.
“Let’s be honest, even in his ’70s and’ 80s, Joe was a very attractive man,” he said. “Many women find him irresistably charming and handsome. He had that effect on people. He thought for sure, Elle Macpherson was beautiful and wonderful. He found her always very sweet and very kind.”
However, DiMaggio preferred to spend his time to a cause that was dear to him.
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“He loved children,” said Positano. “That was the most important thing in his life, his commitment to the children. Forget about his winning streak — his greatest legacy was the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital from the ground in Florida because he was afraid that the children who do not have parents with means were not to have the best health care. His entire legacy was really based on his ability to ensure that children in America, regardless of the circumstances, always well taken care of.”
DiMaggio died at age 84 in 1999, nearly five months after undergoing surgery for lung cancer. Positano hopes that his book will re-DiMaggio for a new generation of readers.
“I think the problem is that we are looking for is the youth of America… Children do not know who Joe DiMaggio is or was. I think this is a way to reintroduce Americans, particularly American children, to Joe DiMaggio, who is really our last American hero.”
When asked how DiMaggio, who, during his life guarding his privacy, would have responded to the book, Positano said that he felt that the star “would be OK.”
“The things we’ve discussed, for the most part, were discussed in the presence of other people,” he explained. “He was not guarded in that respect. Of course, there were certain things that he did discuss with us, that would not be for the audience ever.”