Poor Marilyn Monroe. Dead for almost 60 years, and she still can’t get any rest. Since the actress arrived at Westwood Village Memorial Park, her crypt has been in the news almost as much as she has. The property adjacent to the Seven Year Itch star has recently come on the market for $2 million dollars. Broadway lyricist Jerry Herman, creator of La Cage Aux Folles, bought the space in the ’90s, but was eventually buried next to his mother in New Jersey and his heirs have listed the property. “There’s Marilyn Monroe, Hugh Hefner, then Jerry’s,” Herman’s goddaughter Jane Dorian told the Wall Street Journal. “He’s next to the two sexiest people that were ever alive.”
Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner paid $75,000 for the plot to Marilyn’s left and was interred there in 2017. Marilyn’s neighbor Tom Gregory offered his plot a few yards away for $699,000 in 2014, and that Herman plot is a steal compared to the one directly above Marilyn. The widow of Richard Poncher, who had been placed in that spot in 1986, removed her husband in 2009 and flipped his plot for $4.6 million (though the buyer later reneged on the deal). “I already know what my epitaph is,” Gregory told CNBC: “‘She’s over there.'”
View this post on Instagram
The roses sent by Marilyn’s ex Joe DiMaggio stopped coming decades ago. The pink marble wall at the actress’s feet has been stained by lipstick, her bronze plaque has been pried off and stolen more than once. One of the vintage plaques is at the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, and another sold at auction in $212,500 and went to an overseas bidder. The crypt itself was damaged when “a bunch of fraternity morons tried to open it one year,” according to a fan who took the bus from South Carolina for decades to attend the annual memorial service held every August since 1962.
This year’s service was streamed on YouTube and didn’t include as many conspiracy theorists, lookalikes, and aging acquaintances of the actress. “It’s always the death anniversary that’s the big deal, not the birthday,” says Scott Michaels of now-shuttered Dearly Departed Tours. “A couple of years ago there was an incident where one fan club was outside of the chapel screaming at the other fan club. I think that loony got arrested.”
Some of the fans who attend the ceremony ask about making a purchase near Marilyn so they can stay near her forever. “You can get within a number of feet,” cemetery manager Barbara Parker told the Fresno Bee in 1994. “But most people who ask are fans who couldn’t afford it.”
Editor’s note: 11:55 a.m. Nov. 10, 2021: The person who planned to purchase the plot where Richard Poncher was initially buried later reneged on the deal.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.