LOS ANGELES – James Dougherty (search), the retired Los Angeles detective who was the first man to marry Norma Jeane Baker— before she went off to Hollywood and took the name Marilyn Monroe (search) — has died. He was 84.
Dougherty died Monday in San Rafael, Calif., of complications of leukemia, his stepdaughter, Annie Woods of Sabattus, told the Sun-Journal of Lewiston. He had spent much of his later years in Maine.
Dougherty married Baker in 1942, before he went to sea as a merchant mariner. She was 16 at the time.
Baker set out to pursue a Hollywood career while Dougherty was gone, and the two were divorced in 1946. Dougherty remarried twice.
Dougherty worked for the Los Angeles police department for 25 years, serving as a detective and training the department's first Special Weapons and Tactics group. After his retirement in 1974, he moved to Arizona and later to Maine, living in the small town of Sabattus.
Dougherty refused for years to talk about his time with Monroe, but after his second divorce he was more comfortable with the subject. In 1997, Dougherty wrote a book titled "To Norma Jeane with Love, Jimmie."
He said he followed Marilyn's career until her death in 1962. She was a movie star, while the woman he married was a small-town girl, he said.
"I love her, but I'm not in love with her," he told the Sun-Journal in a 1997 interview. "There's a lot of difference between loving someone and being in love."
In 1995, he showed up at the Skowhegan post office for a party celebrating a new stamp bearing Monroe's picture. He autographed books of stamps as his current wife looked on from a nearby seat.
"It seemed like a nice, positive program, so I said I'd come out," he said. He recalled that 16-year-old bride's "plans then were to be a homemaker."
While living in Maine, he served a stint as an Androscoggin County commissioner and taught at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
"His years with Marilyn Monroe, that was just a small part of his life," said Schani Krug, who wrote, produced and directed a documentary titled "Marilyn's Man" (search) about Dougherty last year. "He was everything she never had."
His third wife, Rita, died in 2003. Dougherty's family plans to fly his body back to Maine for burial, Woods said.