$4m to lie on top of sex symbol forever

LOS ANGELES - The chance to spend eternity on top of Marilyn Monroe is once again available, after the highest bidder withdrew a $4,6million (R31,4million) bid for the burial space above the film legend.

The Los Angeles Times reported that an unnamed Japanese bidder was the winner of the crypt space that currently holds the body of Richard Poncher.

His widow, Elsie Poncher, decided to move her husband's body and auction the burial spot to pay off the more than $1million mortgage on her Beverly Hills home. It was offered to bidders on an online auction website, and on Monday, a winning offer was made.

But hours after an invoice was sent to the auction winner, the bidder emailed Poncher's representative, withdrawing the offer. "I am awfully sorry, but I need to cancel this because of the problem," the email said.

There are another 11 bidders who offered at least $4,5million for the burial space. Steve, a mortgage broker and banker representing Poncher, has given each of them 24 hours to reoffer a bid.

"Here is a once in a lifetime and into eternity opportunity to spend your eternal days directly above Marilyn Monroe," the advertisement read.

Elsie Poncher, whose husband died 23 years ago at age 81, said he had bought the space in 1954 from Monroe's ex-husband, baseball star Joe DiMaggio. Poncher's had a demand about how he was to be buried. "He said, 'If you don't put me upside down over Marilyn, I'll haunt you the rest of my life,'". Richard Poncher, a businessman, also bought the spot one space over, where she plans to relocate him.

The widower, who won't give her age, says she wants to be cremated when she dies.

Being buried close to Monroe has proved a draw for some. Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner bought a spot next to the sex-symbol's for $75,000 dollars in 1992. "Spending eternity next to Marilyn Monroe is too sweet to pass", he said. Monroe, born Norma Jeane Baker, died in 1962 at age 36. - AFP