The story of the sale of the the burial plot above Marilyn Monroe made headlines years ago, but interest in the story has surfaced again.
Richard Poncher’s final wish was to be buried with Monroe, and he spent 23 years in the vault above the star. His widow, however, decided to sell the unit, putting it up for auction on eBay with the winning bid coming in at more than $4.6 million. There were more than 20 offers made on the plot at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
She told the Los Angeles Times at the time: “I can’t be more honest than that. I want to leave it free and clear for my kids.”
Other famous people resting at the Westood Village Memorial Park include Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Truman Capote, Roy Orbison, and Farrah Fawcett.
At the time, Poncher’s widow listed the vault on eBay with the enticing headline: “Spend eternity directly above Marilyn Monroe.” Poncher’s remains were moved to a nearby plot to make room for the new owner. But the new owner still remains anonymous. All we know are the initials are OS, which means now Hugh Hefner will be buried next to someone he has no connection to.
He had bought the crypt from Joe DiMaggio when he and Monroe divorced and while Poncher wasn’t a fan of the Hollywood legend when he bought it, the idea of being buried there grew on him.
The man had told his wife: “If I croak, if you don’t put me upside down over Marilyn, I’ll haunt you for the rest of my life.”
While she honored his wishes, it remains to be seen if he will now indeed haunt her for putting the plot up for sale and moving him. The woman used the auction money to pay off the mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.
The story is making headlines again because Hugh Hefner just passed away. He had purchased the vault next to Monroe’s in 1992 for $75,000.
In 2000, Hefner told the New York Daily News: “Jay Leno suggested that if I was going to spend that kind of money, I should actually be on top of her.”
He added, “But to me, there’s something rather poetic in the fact that we’ll be buried in the same place. And that cemetery also has other meanings and connections for me. Friends like Buddy Rich and Mel Torme are buried there. So is Dorothy Stratten.”
In 2012, he had said that he had a “double connection” with Monroe, since she was born the same year as him and was also the first person to grace the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine in 1953.
He noted: “She is without question the definitive sex icon of our time. There’s something unique when an iconic legendary figure is more famous 50 years after her death than at the height of her career.”
Hefner’s son, Cooper, who is chief creative officer at Playboy Enterprises, issued the following statement: “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom.”
He added: “He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.”