Playboy founder Hugh Hefner will spend eternity buried alongside the woman who deserves credit for his early success: Marylin Monroe.
Hefner, who died at age 91 on Wednesday, will be buried in Los Angeles’ Westwood Village Memorial Park in a plot right next to Monroe’s, People reports.
As Hefner said in an interview with “Fresh Air” in 1999, he was trying to draw attention to his publication when he paid $500 to buy a nude photo of Monroe. In its first issue, in 1953, she was named “Sweetheart of the Month,” a title that would later evolve into “Playboy Playmate.”
Hefner never paid Monroe for the use of her photo, shot by photographer Tom Kelley in 1949, when she was desperately short of cash. She has been quoted saying she had “a real washboard stomach” in the photo because she hadn’t eaten much in several days.
The shoot might have ruined Monroe’s career, if she hadn’t handled it so masterfully.
When the photo surfaced in 1952, according to Time Magazine, studio bosses begged Monroe, then a rising star, to deny they were of her. Instead, she delivered one of her most memorable lines to Time. Asked whether she really had nothing on during the photo shoot, she quipped, “I had the radio on.'”
In 1992, Hefner shelled out $75,000 to for the crypt above Monroe’s in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, telling the Los Angeles Times: “Spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up.”
During a 2012 interview with CBS Los Angeles, he said he would have “loved” to have dated her.
“I’m a sucker for blondes,” he said, “and she is the ultimate blonde.”
If the idea of Hefner paying to sleep forever beside a woman he never met strikes you as odd, you’re not alone. Sady Doyle wrote in her book “Trainwreck” that Hefner’s purchase of the plot was “a gruesome joke.”
She said Hefner would be “‘sleeping with’ the woman he’d almost ruined, and doing so without her consent — claiming her in death, as he’d claimed the right to exploit her in life.” (Author Ella Dawson highlighted Doyle’s words in a tweet Thursday.)
The cemetery is the final resting place for a bunch of well-known celebrities, including Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Merv Griffin, Truman Capote and Farrah Fawcett.
Westwood Village Memorial Park did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.