Life is short, but unwanted advances are forever.
Because Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday and it’s suddenly relevant again, several outlets have dug up and dusted off an old news item from 1992, in which Hefner purchased the crypt next to Marilyn Monroe’s to be buried in on the occasion of his passing. This invasion of space in perpetuity cost Hefner $75,000; the lot is located in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
The media mogul’s personal connection to the star is tenuous at best. Hefner decided to use a nude photograph of Monroe as his first “Sweetheart of the Month”—later known as “Playmates”—but by his on admission the two never met, at least that’s what he told Piers Morgan back in 2011. Nor was Monroe an enthusiastic participant in that single, distant interaction—she told George Barris for his book Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words that she was desperate for money at the time, still a struggling actress yet to break through. She even used a pseudonym to sign the image’s release. “I was nervous,” Monroe said of the experience, “embarrassed, even ashamed of what I had done, and I did not want my name to appear on that model release.”
As for why Hefner chose to be interred next to a woman he never met, and didn’t waver in that decision for more than two decades, the answer is sadly predictable. Hefner told the Los Angeles Times in 2009, “I’m a believer in things symbolic. Spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up.”
That the spirit of pickup-artistry far outlives its practitioners doesn’t seem all that symbolic to me.