Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 6/01/2021– Today is Marilyn Monroe’s 95th Birthday. Eccentric writer, director, and filmmaker, and hotelier Jonathan Baker holds special significance to this Icon. He has purchased a crypt next to Monroes at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary. Baker bought the plot next to Hugh Hefner, who had bought the plot for $75,000 in 1992. Baker’s already inscribed brass plate adorning the front of the plot reads, “Life is by Design.”
Jonathan, Marilyn Monroe’s 95th Birthday is today. What feelings are running through your veins?
Marilyn and Hefner are together at this time—and for all time—and that’s a big deal to me since, despite her influence on Hefner (they were both born the same year, among many other coincidences), the two never met. I would have loved to have seen Marilyn pass the milestones in life, she has been gone 59 years now. Interesting that she’s been dead longer than she’s been alive (!) and is probably among the most famous deceased persons in history. In other happenstance, her real name is Norma Jean Baker and died in 1962 and I, Jonathan Baker, was born in 1962. Too close for coincidence, don’t you think
What did you admire the most about Marilyn?
I loved that she was a fighter and that she had a dream that she made come true in life—but perhaps more in death. Her journey transcends even her own expectations and that fascinates me.
You purchased a crypt adjacent to Marilyn’s crypt. Why does this mean so much to you? Do you believe in coincidences?
Sure I do. You never know how fate and destiny happen. Hugh Hefner never met Marilyn, and neither did I, but we both wanted to be close to her in death. It has a twofold significance for me because she and Hefner both touched my life—she with her fame and Hefner owing to my 30-year friendship with him, spending time with him through the reality show, playing cards with him on Wednesdays, and watching movies Sundays. I felt there must have been a cosmic connection to Norma Jean Baker and how Hollywood brought us together through Hugh Hefner.
“Life is by Design,” who designed your life and what design do you want to resonate in people’s minds when you are no longer on this Earth?
Who designed my life? Well, of course. me. Everything people do to set goals for their life’s journey comes from your past steps to where you are now. Where you are now is the result of what you put into play years ago—consciously or subliminally.
Tell us about “Becoming Iconic.” What stands out to you the most?
Well, one thing was, it was a long road to the screen. Becoming Ionic is out now, but it took years to make and years to bring it to the public after its film festival run. My hope is for it to become part of the educational canon for film and theatre students. What stands out the most for me is how much people have in common—the challenges they face making their first film. Everyone has the same story in the end—well if not exactly the same story, similar stories. And THEIR stories helped me tell mine, and, I think, kept me from screwing it up.
If “Life is by Design”, What does America look like post-pandemic 2021?
I think everyone hunkered down during the pandemic. I did. Life was…constrained. Turned inward. Reflective. It doesn’t just lift all at once, not as fast as the restrictions are being lifted. Life after the pandemic is most likely an uphill battle for all of us for the next year so we can all get back to work after such a long hiatus from life, and all get back to fun—and to each other—after a long hiatus from…people.