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Dorothy Arnold


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Dorothy Arnold (November 21, 1917 – November 13, 1984) was an American film actress and the first wife of baseball star Joe DiMaggio. Her 20-year movie career began with 1937’s Freshies and ended with 1957’s Lizzie.

Early life

She was born as Dorothy Arnoldine Olson in Duluth, Minnesota, of Norwegian heritage. By the age of 12 was performing on amateur nights at Duluth's Lyric Theater and with the local Salvation Army Band. She graduated from Denfeld High School in 1935. Her first theatrical job was with the Band Box Revue, traveling out of Chicago. She studied at Paramount School in New York and played bits in pictures as a dancer.


Arnold tested twice with Paramount Pictures, but it was Universal Studios that offered her a stock contract. She appeared in 15 films between 1937 and 1939. Her most memorable roles were as the imperiled heroine Jean Drew in The Phantom Creeps (with Bela Lugosi and Robert Kent) and Gloria DeVere in The House of Fear (with Irene Hervey and William Gargan).

Following her marriage to DiMaggio, she quit acting. A brief comeback in 1957 included her last film, MGM’s Lizzie (with Eleanor Parker and Joan Blondell) and appearances on TV’s The Adventures of Jim Bowie and Dragnet.

Personal life

Arnold 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. The couple married on November 18, 1939 at SS Peter and Paul Cathedral in San Francisco. On October 23, 1941, the year of DiMaggio’s famous 56-game hitting streak, Arnold gave birth to their first child, Joe DiMaggio, Jr. The couple split up in 1942, but later reconciled in front of the press. They separated again on October 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.

Her second marriage was stockbroker George Schuster in 1946. The two were divorced within five years. Arnold's third marriage was Ralph Peck/Peckovich whom she remained married to until her death.

Later years and death

Arnold and her third husband owned and operated a supper club together in Palm Springs, California, called Charcoal Charley's, where she performed until her death from pancreatic cancer in 1984 at the age of 66.










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