Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:37 UK

Monroe 'burial plot' up for sale

Marilyn Monroe 1952
Monroe died aged 36 in 1962

A US widow is auctioning off the burial plot occupied by her late husband above that of film legend Marilyn Monroe, the Los Angeles Times newspaper says.

"Spend eternity directly above Marilyn Monroe", says the ad placed on eBay by Elsie Poncher of Beverly Hills.

Bidding opened at $500,000 (£303,000), and had reached $700,000 by Sunday.

Mrs Poncher said she will be "vacating" the remains of her husband "to make room for a new resident" at LA's exclusive Westwood Village cemetery.

The widow told the LA Times that she hoped to make enough money to pay off the $1.6m mortgage on her Beverly Hills mansion.

"I can't be more honest than that," she said. "I want to leave it free and clear for my kids."

The cemetery is the final resting place of many celebrities, including Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Truman Capote, and most recently Farrah Fawcett.

Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner bought the crypt beside Monroe in 1992.

But Mrs Poncher is selling the chance to reserve a "place in eternity" directly above the Hollywood sex symbol, telling the LA Times that her own husband was placed face down in his crypt on top of the actress, in keeping with his dying wish.

Richard Poncher - who died 23 years ago at the age of 81 - was said to be a successful businessman who worked hard, spent lavishly, and knew "all the gangsters" of LA.

Mrs Poncher said he bought two burial plots from Joe DiMaggio during the US baseball legend's 1954 divorce from Monroe.

Monroe died in 1962, aged 36.

Mrs Poncher says her husband's remains will be moved over one spot into the crypt intended for her, while she will be cremated when the time comes.

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