Fundraiser For Boys Towns Of Italy Draws Top Celebrities 1956
The woman seated is Elsa Maxwell, a gossip columnist who was famous for hosting parties featuring royalty, the wealthy and movie personalities. Standing from left to right are stars Cleo Moore, Joe DiMaggio, Linda Darnell and Shirley Jones. At the event, DiMaggio, crowned Shirley Jones queen of the Boys Towns of Italy.
Called the “Ball Of The Year,” the benefit was held on March 22, 1956 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The support for Boys Towns of Italy came primarily from American contributions. The organization was founded in 1945 at the end of World War II to help war refugee children.
At the time DiMaggio was rumored to be dating Cleo Moore, a look-alike to his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe. Moore was groomed by Columbia Pictures to be their answer to Monroe, but her career never took off and she retired from films in 1957 at the age of 33. Moore died in 1973, three days before her 49th birthday of a heart attack.