Richard Poncher's eternal sleep will soon be disrupted.
The onetime Beverly Hills resident, who died 23 years ago at the age of 81, will be moving out of the crypt above Marilyn Monroe's resting spot at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery. Poncher's wife intends to sell the crypt, said to have once been owned by Monroe's former husband, Yankee great Joe DiMaggio.
So although the plaque on Poncher's crypt reads: To the man who gave us everything and more," his wife, Elsie, is hoping that he has just a little more to give. She wants to use the money to help pay off the $1.6-million mortgage on her 1 3/4 acre Beverly Hills home.
I can't be more honest than that," she said. I want to leave it free and clear for my kids."
Elsie Poncher plans to start the bidding at $500,000 when she places the crypt on EBay, making it -- on a per-square-foot basis -- one of the most expensive pieces of real estate on the market.
Richard Poncher was a serial entrepreneur, to hear his wife tell it, who made a fortune with a variety of electronics firms and once sold surplus U.S. Army airplanes and parts. She claims that he built two bulletproof cars for Al Capone and owned 12 Rolls-Royces in his lifetime.
The couple were at the Regency Hotel in New York talking to DiMaggio, she said, when the retired ballplayer asked, You want to buy two crypts?" Who the hell wants two crypts?" her husband replied.
When he was dying, Elsie said, her husband approached her with 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.' Right after the funeral, Elsie said, she told the funeral director of her husband's wish. I was standing right there, and he turned him over," she said.