$4.6 million buys EBay bidder eternity with Marilyn Monroe
Elsie Poncher, whose husband Richard Poncher is buried in the crypt at Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park, said she wanted to sell it to pay off the mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.
If the winning bid turns out to be legitimate, she will be able to do a lot more than that.
The bidding started at $500,000 on Aug. 14 and escalated to $1 million two days later. There were 21 bids.
Richard Poncher, a businessman who owned a number of companies, died 23 years ago at age 81. According to Elsie, Richard Poncher bought the crypt from New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio when he was in the midst of his divorce from the blond sex symbol in 1954.
Richard Poncher bought the one above Monroe, where he is -- for the moment -- entombed, and one next to it, where his widow is supposed to spend eternity.
“To the man who gave us everything and more," says the plaque on Richard Poncher’s crypt.
Elsie Poncher plans to move her husband’s remains to the crypt designated for her, and when the time comes, she’ll be cremated.
She said that when her husband was dying, he made a request. "He said, ’If I croak, if you don’t put me upside down over Marilyn, I’ll haunt you the rest of my life.’ "
Right after the funeral, Elsie said, she conveyed her husband’s wish to the funeral director. "I was standing right there, and he turned him over," she said.
The cemetery, which is hidden away off Glendon Avenue, is the final resting spot for many celebrities, among them Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Merv Griffin, Mel Torme, Truman Capote and -- most recently -- Farrah Fawcett.
Playboy’s Hugh Hefner bought the crypt next to Monroe’s in 1992 for $75,000. There is an empty crypt in the Corridor of Memories mausoleum where Monroe and Richard Poncher are entombed that the cemetery is selling for $250,000.
Steve Miller, the mortgage broker and banker who is representing Elsie Poncher, said some of the e-mails he has received have been on the bizarre side.
“I get comments from people thinking [Richard Poncher’s] rising from the dead,” Miller said. “You can’t believe the stuff I’m getting here.”
-- Jeff Gottlieb
Photo: Elsie Poncher blows a kiss at her husband's crypt in Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park. Proceeds from the crypt's sale will help pay off her mortgage. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times