Bid For Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe Falls Through For the dead and famous, arguably no neighborhood is more desirable than the mausoleum at the Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery in Los Angeles. Among the many stars resting there is the iconic Marilyn Monroe. The crypt directly above her was recently auctioned on eBay, but there's a problem closing the deal.
NPR logo

Bid For Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe Falls Through

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/112281183/112281159" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Bid For Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe Falls Through

Bid For Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe Falls Through

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/112281183/112281159" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

When some people go buying, they like to buy real estate near the famous, even if the famous people in question are dead.

One of Southern California's more desirable neighborhoods is the mausoleum at the Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery. Marilyn Monroe is one of the stars resting there. The crypt directly above her was recently auctioned off on eBay. Now there's a little problem closing the deal.

NPR'S Ina Jaffe reports.

JAFFE: A Japanese man bid just over $4.6 million to spend eternity as Marilyn Monroe's upstairs neighbor. According to the LA Times, he then reneged on the deal in an email saying, I need to cancel this because of the paying problem.

The current occupant at the crypt is Richard Poncher, who died 23 years ago at the age of 81. In accordance with his wishes, he was entombed facedown above the movie star. His widow, Elsie Poncher wants to sell his crypt to pay off the mortgage on her house. She'll then move him into an adjacent crypt she owns.

Her attorney told NPR that the next depends on what they hear from eBay about the qualifications of bidders. There were a dozen of them for the space above Monroe, and the tomb right next to hers is owned by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

It seems to be the same for Monroe in death as in life when she complained to Groucho Marx in "Love Happy."

(Soundbite of movie, "Love Happy")

Ms. MARILYN MONROE (Actor): (as Grunion's client) I want you to help me.

Mr. GROUCHO MARX (Actor): (as Detective Sam Grunion) I have a little say left. What seems to be the trouble?

Ms. MONROE: (as Grunion's client) Some men are following me.

Mr. MARX: (as Detective Sam Grunion) Really? I can't understand why.

JAFFE: Now just an exclusive few will be able to follow Monroe into eternity and at least one will pay a bundle for the chance.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.