The Celebrity Who Published Marilyn Monroe’s Nudes Is Buried Near Her

Marilyn Monroe became one of Hollywood’s most famous actors — but not without encountering many bizarre bumps on the road. For example, she allowed someone to take nude photos of her, however, she didn’t want anyone to know about them. Because of a certain celebrity, the images became widely distributed — and Monroe’s reaction to their fame was iconic.

Marilyn Monroe | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Why Marilyn Monroe did a nude photo-shoot

Monroe’s entry into the world of pin-up wasn’t exactly pretty. Financially desperate, Marie Claire reports she allowed a photographer named Tom Kelley to take nude photos of her for $50. She hoped that they would never come to haunt her. She intentionally wanted to look unrecognizable in the images.

Why Hugh Hefner decided against making the first issue of ‘Playboy’ partially 3-D

Later, Hefner needed a stunt for the first issue of Playboy. “I was looking for some kind of a gimmick for the first issue,” he told NPR. “I thought about actually putting a 3-D pictorial in the magazine, and we actually shot it, as a matter of fact. Then I discovered that putting those 3-D glasses in each issue would be very expensive and something I couldn’t afford.”

“That Old Black Magic”

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He found something more affordable. “And at the same time I was going through that, I discovered that the already famous Marilyn Monroe calendar picture — which nobody up to that time had seen — was owned by the John Baumgarth calendar company out of the West Side of Chicago, very close to where I grew up,” he recalled. “So… I got in my beat-up Chevy and drove out there and met with John Baumgarth and talked him into letting me publish it in the very first issue.” According to CNN, the images cost $500.

How Marilyn Monroe reacted to this

How did Monroe react to all this? Hefner told NPR she commented she had “nothing on but the radio” when she took the pictures. This reaction helped raise eyebrows and make her more famous, especially since she lived during a more Puritanical era.

“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”

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What Hugh Hefner thought of her

So did Monroe and Hefner ever actually meet? “She was actually on my — in my brother’s acting class in New York,” Hefner told CNN. “But the reality is that I never met her.” Hefner said he spoke to Monroe on the phone once but he didn’t elaborate on that.

Although the two were not friends, Hefner said Monroe was the best pin-up ever. In addition, he called her the premiere sex symbol of the 20th century and attributed all his success to her. 

“I Wanna Be Loved by You”

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How Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Hefner are connected to each other in death

According to Marie Claire, Monroe never received a thank-you note from Hefner. She had to buy a copy of the magazine to see the images herself. While Hefner was not supremely gracious to her in life, he is deeply connected to her in death. Hefner purchased the plot nearest hers so he could be buried near her. Monroe and Hefner’s careers and deaths were deeply connected — even if they weren’t close.