The Duke of Catalina

The Duke of Catalina: Duke Fishman, the "Original Greeter" at Avalon. Landing on Catalina Island in 1933 after living in a South Seas orphanage for most of his life, a 27-year-old Duke finds work as a lifeguard on the island. After a short stint as a houseman at the Annandale Golf Club, Duke becomes Avalon's "Goodwill Ambassador” - Avalon Harbor is Catalina’s main attraction. Duke leads tourists in singing the town's signature song "Avalon" as they disembark their steamships. Duke is also notable as the original, advertising character for the cleaning product “Mr. Clean." In 1975, he has open heart surgery and gives up his lifeguard duties in Avalon, but continues his role as Avalon's greeter. In 1977, his health deteriorates, and he returns to his small trailer in Palm Springs - as he did every fall. After 40 years, Avalon decides not to renew his contract as "Official Greeter,” and on December 22, 1977, a friend finds Duke dead in his trailer from a heart attack. He was 71. He is interred in Avalon's Cemetery. The position of "Official Greeter" has remained vacant since his death. 

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Marilyn of Avalon

Before she was Marilyn Monroe, she was Norma Jeane Daughtry. At 16, Norma Jeane has two options: Ship off to yet another orphanage, or marry the boy-next-door and set sail for Catalina - an island off the coast of Southern California. Norma Jeane is no dumb blonde - she isn’t even a blonde. According to Norma Jeane's soon-to-be-husband, James Daughtry, the island paradise is where Marilyn Monroe is born. In an interview, Dougherty says: “I would marvel at how she’d ‘turn on’ when she was walking and knew men were looking at her. She’d do ‘the walk’ seen later in millions of her films, but back then, she was just learning to do it, and she was very, very good at it!”

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Orphans in the Moonlight

"I didn't feel like a married woman. The most important thing my marriage did for me was to end forever my status as orphan," Marilyn says in her autobiography, "My Story.” "Jim was a nice husband. He never hurt me or upset me - except on one subject. He wanted a baby." The thought of having a baby makes the hairs on Norma Jeane's arm stand on end. Can you blame a child bride for not wanting to bring a kid into this world? Daughtry - who she calls either Jimmie or Daddy - never truly ‘gets’ Norma Jeane. "She was just a housewife," remembers Jimmie/Daddy, "We used to go down to the beach and have luaus on Saturday nights." The couple's favorite song is Glen Miller's "Moonlight Serenade." They listen to it together on the beach in Avalon and dreamily hold each other in their arms. If you haven’t held someone in your arms on Catalina, what are you doing with your life?

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