LOS ANGELES (CBS) — She was his first centerfold. Marilyn Monroe helped put Playboy magazine on the map.
This weekend will mark 50 years since the screen legend was found dead in her Brentwood home.
CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Suraya Fadel sat down with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and asked him his thoughts about Monroe and why her legacy endures.
He also opened up about his feelings that went beyond the silver screen.
Fadel asked him if he would have liked to have dated the bombshell. “Oh yeah. I would have loved to,” he says, candidly, “I’m a sucker for blondes and she is the ultimate blonde.”
His favorite Monroe movie? “Without question, it’s ‘Some Like it Hot’ It was at the end of her career and it indicated how much real talent she had.”
Marilyn long dead, Hefner would still love the opportunity to thank her for what he did for his life. “I would have told her how much she meant to me and still does.”
Hefner was living in Chicago when he saw snapshots of the Hollywood-based Monroe. Those pics were published in the first issue of Playboy in December 1953.
The magazine giant still feels a connection to the screen icon. “I feel a double connection to her because she was the launching key to the beginning of Playboy. We were born the same year. Had she lived like me she would be 86.”
Despite being linked through eternity, Hefner admits he really didn’t know Monroe. “Well it was the beginning of Playboy and she was dead before I started to come out here.”
They might not have been close in life, they will, however be very close in death.
He chose the vault next to hers at the Westwood Village Memorial Park.
“I will be laid to rest in a vault next to hers. It has a completion notion to it. I will be spending the rest of my eternity with Marilyn.”
Like many who believe the truth of Monroe’s mysterious death will never be fully known, Hefner says, “I feel she killed herself. But it’s still not resolved … and never will be. There are uncertainties related to her death.”
She died young and remains beautiful in all our minds. Hefner explains, “She is without question the definitive sex icon of our time. There’s something unique when an iconic legendary figure is more famous 50 years after her death, than at the height of her career.”