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December 9, 2016

Fascinating Photographs of Marilyn Monroe Performing for the Thousands of American Troops in Korea, February 1954

In January 1954, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio married in San Francisco and jetted off to Japan for their honeymoon.

While DiMaggio attended to his baseball clinics, Monroe took a solo detour to the Korean peninsula, which had been recently divided by the armistice which ended the Korean War the previous year.

Over the course of four days, Monroe took a whirlwind tour of American military bases, putting on 10 shows for an estimated 100,000 very excited servicemen.

She remarked that the Korea trip “was the best thing that ever happened to me. I never felt like a star before in my heart. It was so wonderful to look down and see a fellow smiling at me”.

The tour was a welcome respite from Monroe’s tense relationship with her new husband, whose jealousy and controlling behavior would contribute to their divorce just eight months later.

In one show where the start was delayed the troops got frustrated and threatened to riot so the opening acts had to be cancelled to get her onto the stage sooner. The crowed adored her and they truly enjoyed her visit. She looked amazing on her baggy army uniform. Ted Sherman, who served in the Navy during World War II and Korea, recalled: “I was with a group of Navy guys who happened to be at Daegu Air Force Base when we heard Marilyn would entertain there that night. We convinced our transport pilot to find something wrong with our R4D transport, so we could delay the return flight to our ship in Tokyo Bay for that one night. It was a great evening for all the homesick guys who were dazzled by the movie star’s performance. The sight and sounds of Marilyn singing ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ is a memory I still cherish”.


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