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Late Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner will be “reunited” in death with the magazine’s first cover and centerfold model, Marilyn Monroe. Or at least that’s how the media is reporting it, as he’ll be buried next to the actress at the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Hefner’s ploy to be laid to rest could be perceived as sweet, perhaps romantic, if it weren’t for the disgusting circumstances surrounding Monroe’s relationship with Hefner and the magazine.
For the first issue of Playboy, published in 1953, Hefner had purchased the rights to calendar pinups of Monroe and used them without her consent. Two years later, Hefner used those photos for the magazine’s first centerfold, according to a 1967 TIME story about Playboy.
Then, in 1992, Hefner bought the crypt next to Monroe’s for $75,000. According Sady Doyle, the author or Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock and Fear, and Why, Hefner told CBS Los Angeles that he was a sucker for blondes, and Monroe was the “ultimate blonde.”
“It has a completion notion to it. I will be spending the rest of my eternity with Marilyn,” Hefner said.
This is not a cute story. Hefner bought the plot next to Monroe to "spend eternity with her" w/out her consent after exploiting her body. https://t.co/VwHQoeZhYF— Ella Dawson (@brosandprose) September 28, 2017
If that’s not fucked enough, apparently Hefner had never even met the woman in person—and yet, she will be lying eternally next to a man who initially exploited her body and fame, who she didn’t know intimately. According to a 2011 CNN interview with Piers Morgan, via Mashable, Hefner admitted he had no such personal ties to Monroe—she had died in 1962 of a drug overdose.
“She was actually in my brother’s acting class in New York. But the reality is that I never met her. I talked to her once on the phone, but I never met her. She was gone, sadly, before I came out here,” Hefner said.
Regardless of their lack of an actual connection, Hefner told CBS that he still felt connected to her, partly because they were born the same year. Yep. The same fucking year. How. Meaningful.
“I feel a double connection to her because she was the launching key to the beginning of Playboy. We were born the same year. Had she lived like me she would be 86,” Hefner said.
In other burial news, according to Doyle, a rich entrepreneur named Richard Poncher had purchased the vault above Monroe’s (and the one next to it—for his wife Elsie) from Joe DiMaggio in 1954 amid DiMaggio’s divorce from Monroe. When Poncher died in 1986, he ordered Elsie to place him upside down facing Monroe in his crypt.
Poncher stayed that way for 23 years, until 2009, when Poncher’s wife attempted to auction the spot away on eBay, the highest bidder offering $4.6 million before backing out. Elsie said she would be relocating her husband to the crypt originally intended for herself, and then have herself cremated when she died.
With any luck, and for the right number, perhaps someone may purchase Hefner’s plot, allowing Monroe to escape laying next to him for “eternity.”
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.