08/17/2005: Sometimes, it's the little things you do that bring you your 15 minutes of fame
Back in 1942, a merchant seaman named James Dougherty married a 16 year old girl before he shipped off to sea. By that simple (perhaps impulsive?) act, he cemented his position as a footnote figure in American popular cultural history.
You see, that girl's name was Norma Jean Baker. By marrying her, Dougherty, for better or for worse, insured that he'd be remembered forever as Marilyn Monroe's first husband, for "Marilyn Monroe" is the name under which she achieved a degree of immortality.
Dougherty died last Monday, of complications of leukemia, at the age of 84.
Every so often I'll post an item about "interesting juxtapositions"; surprising (to me, at least) little historical coincidences, like two wildly different noteworthy individuals sharing the same birthday. I find an interesting "juxtaposition" here in the way that Dougherty's and Monroe's lives entwined for a few years. For Dougherty has a claim to a minor bit of fame as a footnote person in U.S. law enforcement history. Dougherty, after leaving the merchant marine, entered into a 25 year career in the Los Angeles Police Department. He became a detective, and helped train the department's first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit.
Requesciat in Pace, Detective Dougherty.
Len on 08.17.05 @ 07:37 PM CST