Letter from baseball legend Joe DiMaggio to actress Marilyn Monroe sells for US$78,000

A view of a love letter written by Marilyn Monroe's ex-husband Joe Dimaggio as part of the Lost Archives of Marilyn Monroe on November 25, 2014 in New York City. -- PHOTO: AFP
A view of a love letter written by Marilyn Monroe's ex-husband Joe Dimaggio as part of the Lost Archives of Marilyn Monroe on November 25, 2014 in New York City. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEVERLY HILLS (REUTERS) - A letter that baseball great Joe DiMaggio wrote to actress Marilyn Monroe before their divorce sold for US$78,125 (S$103,338) in an auction of Monroe memorabilia in California on Saturday, according to a news release from the auction house.

DiMaggio wrote the letter to Monroe following her news conference announcing their divorce, which occurred nine months after their January 1954 wedding. Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills did not disclose the buyer.

DiMaggio, a Hall of Fame player for the New York Yankees, did not want to end the marriage and asked Monroe to reconsider, calling the letter "heartbreaking".

Monroe was an actress and sex symbol with a sometimes-tumultuous personal life that included three marriages. She died in 1962 at age 36 in Los Angeles from a drug overdose, authorities said at the time.

"Marilyn is an icon who remains a bit mysterious and there has never, ever been anyone like her," auction company president Darren Julien said on Sunday through a spokeswoman. "Items that were important to her career and life are getting harder and harder to find."

The auction of more than 300 Monroe personal belongings on Saturday included a series of love letters written to Monroe by playwright Arthur Miller before he became her husband in 1956. A letter Monroe wrote in response to Miller brought US$43,750, the auction house said. Miller and Monroe divorced less than five years after their marriage.

The top-selling item at the auction was a silk overcoat that Monroe often wore in photographs. It sold for US$175,000. A Monroe black cocktail dress and opera coat sold for US$93,750, the auction house said.