Hugh Hefner, who died on September 27 at the age of 91, will be buried next to Marilyn Monroe’s crypt in the Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
The Playboy magazine founder bought a crypt next to Marilyn Monroe’s in 1992, for $75,000.
Now, the situation has divided public opinion, with some seeing a touching gesture and others a sleazy intrusion.
Hugh Hefner fans on social media praised him for appreciating the iconic actress – his first cover girl, who died in 1962.
However, others pointed out that while Hugh Hefner launched his brand and his lifestyle off the back of that first Playboy issue in December 1953, Marilyn Monroe was embarrassed by the shoot that appeared in it – and feared for her future career.
In 1949, Marilyn Monroe had agreed to pose as a young woman, short on acting work and desperate for money. She received $50 in modeling fees.
Four years later, Hugh Hefner paid a Chicago calendar company $500 so he could show Marilyn Monroe with “nothing but the radio on” – and sold 50,000 magazines almost overnight.
In Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words, the actress wrote: “I never even received a thank-you from all those who made millions off a n**e Marilyn photograph. I even had to buy a copy of the magazine to see myself in it.”
Hugh Hefner never met Marilyn Monroe – though he said they had talked once by phone.
“I’m a sucker for blondes, and she is the ultimate blonde,” he said.
Speaking of his post-mortem plans, Hugh Hefner told the LA Times he had many friends buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park. Screen favorites Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, and Farrah Fawcett are among its celebrity residents.
“I’m a believer in things symbolic,” he told the paper.
“Spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up.”
From 2005-2010, a reality TV show called “The Girls Next Door” showcased Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle – and the harem of young blonde women who shared it.
In 2012, aged 86, Hugh Hefner married his third wife Crystal Harris – who was 60 years his junior.
Announcing its founder’s death, Playboy tweeted on September 28: “American Icon and Playboy Founder, Hugh M. Hefner passed away today. He was 91. #RIPHef”
The magazine’s most significant interviewees included civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, and Fidel Castro.
Its huge sales were certainly driven by glossy color pictures of “playmates”, but it also developed a reputation for fine writing, with Norman Mailer, Kingsley Amis, Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, Vladimir Nabokov and Ray Bradbury among its contributors.
Their contributions allowed men to say they did not buy the magazine only for the pictures.
President Donald Trump appeared on the cover in March 1990, with the tag-line: “Nice magazine, want to sell it?”
In the 1980s, Playboy‘s circulation decline, and Hugh Hefner himself suffered a stroke in 1985.
His daughter Christie took over Playboy Enterprises four years later, and Hugh Hefner retreated to his mansion, living with a bevy of women. Cooper Hefner took on a major role in the company in 2014 after Christie stepped down in 2009.
Last year, a neighbor of Hugh Hefner bought the Playboy mansion for $100 million, but agreed Hefner could continue to live there until he died.
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