I threw up the following comment over at Baseball Think Factory where some people were talking smack about Joe DiMaggio and thought it worth crossposting here. Not sure why necessarily, but here it is:
My great-uncle was a friend of DiMaggio’s and he tells me that DiMaggio got burned early on by a few people who pretended to be his friends but were using him and his fame for their own purposes, which caused him to throw up some barriers against people he didn’t know. Add in a natural shyness and he got a reputation for being rude. Once you proved you weren’t after something from him, he very nice and generous. (I have a personalized autographed photo of him through my great-uncle.)
Side note: I have another family friend who was close to Judy Johnson but never introduced me to him because Johnson was also very shy. So, I missed on chances to meet two Hall of Famers due to their shyness.
It also probably didn’t help me that I was also very shy and young and therefore wouldn’t have known what to say in their presence anyway, adding to their discomfort.
Given these stories, I tend to assume that celebrities aren’t necessarily jerks; I’ve read that a surprising number of celebrities are actually introverts. Being an introvert myself, I know how hard it can be for them to deal with talking to strangers. Add in that they have to deal with it a lot and I’m not surprised if they sometimes snap and come off like jerks. I’d probably do the same.