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20 Sep 2009


Bidder backs out for crypt above Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(08-25) 04:00 PDT Los Angeles --

It was a day of ups and downs when the online bidding ended Monday for the crypt above Marilyn Monroe.


Elsie Poncher, whose husband, Richard Poncher, is entombed in the crypt at Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park, said she wanted to sell it to pay off the more than $1 million mortgage on her Beverly Hills home.

A bidder from Japan appeared to be the winner of the eBay auction with an offer of $4,602,100.

But several hours after being sent an invoice, he e-mailed Poncher's representative, "I am awfully sorry but I need to cancel this because of the paying problem."

Steve Miller, a mortgage broker and banker who is representing Poncher, said he had e-mailed the 11 other bidders who offered at least $4.5 million, giving them 24 hours to make an offer. He said if the right offer isn't made, he and Poncher might try to find another way to sell the crypt.

Richard Poncher, an entrepreneur who owned a number of companies, died 23 years ago at 81.

He bought the crypt from New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio when the ballplayer was in the midst of his divorce from Monroe in 1954.

The Ponchers were at the Regency Hotel in New York when DiMaggio asked her husband, "You want to buy two crypts?"

Richard Poncher bought the one above Monroe, where he is now entombed, and one next to it, where his widow was to spend eternity one day.

Elsie Poncher, who is in her 70s, 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.' "

After the funeral, Poncher said, she conveyed her husband's wish to be positioned facing Monroe to the funeral director.

"I was standing right there, and he turned him over," she said.

The cemetery is the final resting spot for many celebrities, among them Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Merv Griffin, Mel Torme, Truman Capote and Farrah Fawcett.

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner bought another crypt next to Monroe's in 1992 for $75,000.

This article appeared on page A - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/08/25/MNIA19D1TQ.DTL#ixzz0Rg38V0Lg

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