For a generation of Americans, he was the center fielder for the New York Yankees (1936-1951). For another generation of Americans, he is most famous for being married to Marilyn Monroe in 1954 (the marriage lasted less than a year). And for yet another generation, he is known most famously as the spokesperson for Mr. Coffee coffee-makers.
Among music lovers, Joe DiMaggio is known as all those things AND as a lyric in the 1968 Simon & Garfunkel hit, "Mrs. Robinson."
Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates' debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at it you lose.
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you
What's that you say Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away.
So why does Joe DiMaggio appear in a song nominally about an older woman having an affair with the neighborhood boy? After Nichols grabbed the song for the film, Simon decided to leave Joe DiMaggio in. He used the celebrity as a representative of the strong, silent, classy type of "hero" that was in short supply in 1968. Specifically, although DiMaggio had been married to Marilyn Monroe, he never spoke of her or tried to make any money off of their relationship. Simon considered that classy.
Op-Ed from the New York Times from 1999.
And here is the classic song, by Simon & Garfunkel, circa 1968.