Jeffrey Dean Morgan Set as 'Marilyn's' Joe DiMaggio for Lifetime (Exclusive)

In the four-hour miniseries starring Kelli Garner
AP Images
Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Joe DiMaggio

Lifetime has found its Joe DiMaggio.

Magic City alum Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been tapped to co-star as the Yankees slugger in the cable network's Marilyn, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Marilyn is a four-hour miniseries based on J. Randy Taraborrelli's book The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe. Pan Am's Kelli Garner stars as Marilyn Monroe in the mini that explores the blonde bombshell's family life and how she succeeded in hiding from an all-too-invasive world.

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Morgan will play DiMaggio, Monroe's second husband. When the two met, Monroe was a star on the rise and DiMaggio had already retired from baseball and wanted a wife who would stay at home and raise children. Intensely private and as insecure as Monroe, he was incensed and embarrassed by her sex goddess image. Their nine-month marriage was a dizzying ride of obsession and jealousy, sexual fever and the chill of emotional abandonment. It is said to have ended as a result of physical violence — yet the Hall of Famer never stopped loving her. As Marilyn descended into the depths of drug and alcohol abuse — and increasing mental instability — it was DiMaggio to whom she reached out. He tried his best to save her but couldn't. Until his own death 37 years later, he had red roses delivered to her grave every week. He never married again.

Morgan joins a cast that also includes Susan Sarandon as Monroe's unstable mother, Gladys, and Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie), who is set as Grace McKee, young Norma Jeane Mortenson's loving guardian.

24 and The Kennedys' Stephen Kronish is on board to pen the mini, with Sherrybaby's Laurie Collyer attached to direct. The mini hails from Asylum Entertainment, the production company behind Lifetime's June Carter Cash biopic Ring of Fire and Reelz Channel's ratings hit The Kennedys. Asylum's Jonathan Koch and Steven Michaels will executive produce alongside Kronish and Keri Selig. Selig is attached to executive produce Reelz's Kennedys follow-up, After Camelot, which, like Marilyn, was based on a book by Taraborrelli.

For the in-demand Morgan, the role comes as he's poised to do History mini Texas Rising. His credits also include Showtime's Shameless and Starz's Magic City, as well as Grey's Anatomy and Supernatural. On the big screen, his credits include Watchmen, Red Dawn and Jonah Hex. He's repped by UTA, Rob Gomez Management and Bloom Hergott.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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