Hefner: ‘I Never Met Marilyn’

One of MM’s many ‘Playboy’ covers (1997)

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has clarified one of the most common misconceptions about MM to his fiancee, Crystal Harris, while in conversation with chat show host Piers Morgan on CNN.

“PIERS: What do you guys talk about?
CRYSTAL: Everything. I ask him… I want to know everything about Hef. I ask him all these questions. I’m not a jealous person. I want to know, like, ‘Did you know Marilyn Monroe? Did you sleep with her? Did you do this?’

PIERS: Well, actually, that’s a damned good question. Did you know Marilyn Monroe?

Hugh: She was actually in my brother’s acting class in New York. But the reality is that I never met her. I talked to her once on the phone, but I never met her. She was gone, sadly, before I came out here.

PIERS: How much of Playboy, do you think, is down to you, personally?
Hugh: Well, I certainly didn’t do it alone. But it is certainly very personal. The whole notion of Playboy came from my own dreams, my childhood, adolescent dreams.”

Marilyn graced the first Playboy cover – and centrespread – back in 1953. It is often said that Hefner ‘discovered’ Monroe. But she was already a world-famous star with her handprints immortalised in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. And she never formally posed for the magazine – the nude centrespread was a calendar pose taken by Tom Kelley in 1949.

However, it could be said that Hefner owes his career to Marilyn, at least in part. Many of the celebrated Playboy cover girls – including Pamela Anderson – have imitated Monroe’s style.

More than twenty years ago, Hefner compounded public confusion by buying the burial plot next to Marilyn’s at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles. I wonder how his wife-to-be feels about that?

‘Meeting Marilyn Monroe’

“Even in death, the woman creates a deeper, and more powerful experience than one would expect.  I am glad, touch, honored, and inspired to have ‘met’ Marilyn….someone I have not only never met,  I have never lived in our lifetime…yet…..there is something to be said for visiting the grave of someone we have never met.  Like any other grave the person is no longer with us, but unlike a grave of someone familiar…we have an entire culture and history to figure out who this person was instead of a limited history via family and direct interaction.  Sometimes…..we just need to visit someone we never knew to feel thankful for our own existences, and the impact they left behind.  It was a pleasure, and privilege to have ‘met’ you Marilyn.”

Elizabeth Grammaticas writes about her recent trip to Hollywood, where she visited Marilyn’s grave.

Marilyn’s 2010 Memorial at Westwood

Photo by Scott Fortner

Speakers at this year’s service, organised by Marilyn Remembered Fan Club:

  • John Gilmore, author of Inside Marilyn Monroe
  • Noreen Siegel, wife of Dr Lee Siegel, Marilyn’s longtime physician at Twentieth Century Fox
  • Marion Collier, ‘Olga’ from Sweet Sue’s Band in Some Like It Hot
  • Audrey Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald’s promoter (Marilyn arranged for Ella to perform at LA’s Mocambo Club in 1954)
  • Stanley Rubin, producer of River of No Return
  • Lois Banner, Professor of History and Gender Studies at USC, currently working on two books about Marilyn
  • Diana Levitt, whose father, F. Hugh Herbert, directed Marilyn’s first movie, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! in 1947. Diana also took acting classes with Marilyn

For a personal account of the service by ‘misskelleen’, join the 1962 community at LiveJournal