Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe moved to Brentwood, California in 1962, not knowing the now-famous property would be her “last home.”
Marilyn purchased the secluded Hacienda-style property in early 1962 for $77,500, paying half in cash and obtaining a mortgage for the balance. That may sound like a major bargain, but the transaction would be valued at $765,015 in late 2023.
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Architectural Digest profiled Marilyn’s last home in May 2017, reporting on the house and Marilyn’s initial efforts to make it her own:
“The 2,900-square-foot, one-story, L-shaped, Spanish colonial-style home had adobe walls and a red-tile roof and was protected by a high wall. It had two bedrooms, a small guesthouse, an oval swimming pool and a large garden. The interior had white stucco walls, white carpeting, cathedral beam ceilings and tiled fireplaces in both the living room and master bedroom. Monroe bought some essential furnishings on shopping trips to Tijuana and Mexico City: tiles for the kitchen, tin masks and mirrors for the walls, and textiles depicting Aztec figures. But the house was sparsely furnished, and her phonograph remained on the floor.”
In August 1962, Marilyn was found unresponsive at her Brentwood home, and an archival August 1962 New York Times article extensively covered then-breaking news of her death. It described the star as a “virtual recluse” at the time of her passing, adding that “[hardly] any of her neighbors had seen her more than once or twice in the six months since she had moved into her two-bedroom bungalow, which is modest by Hollywood standards [in 1962].”
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Marilyn Monroe’s house was quickly enshrined as a huge part of Hollywood history, routinely drawing fans and tributes over the years. On September 5th, the New York Post claimed Monroe’s home faced demolition, citing local planning board filings:
“The owner of this historic Brentwood abode, located at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in the upscale Los Angeles neighborhood, has filed for demolition permits, The Post has learned.
“The one-story, Hacienda-style estate, nestled on 2,900 square feet at the end of a tranquil cul-de-sac adjacent to San Vicente Boulevard, recently changed hands for around $8.35 million, [property] records show.”
According to the Post, Marilyn’s house last changed hands in 2017. It sold for $7.25 million at the time, $350,000 more the listing price.
It didn’t take long for the tentative plans to demolish the property to unravel. On September 13th, the New York Times reported that the Los Angeles City Council had since “voted unanimously … to begin a process that would designate the home as a historic and cultural monument, saving it from demolition.”
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Councilwoman Traci Park introduced a motion to protect Marilyn’s house, and said she only learned of the pending demolition via the Post‘s article. The Times continued:
“[The vote] immediately triggered a temporary stay on a demolition permit that the city’s building department had approved just a day before. According to city records, on Sept. 7 the building department approved the demolition of the single-family home, attached garage, pool house and storage. Records also show plans to backfill the existing pool … The motion to protect the home was introduced by Councilwoman Traci Park, who represents the city’s 11th district, which includes Brentwood.”
Brentwood Community Council Chair Carolyn Jordan said that “all hell broke loose” after the Post article was published, and told the Times:
“How could someone take down one of the most famous houses on the planet that we have right here in Brentwood? … Part of what’s really sad is that the prior owners really revered the fact that it had been Marilyn Monroe’s residence.”
Marilyn Monroe’s famous home wasn’t entirely out of the woods after the last-minute vote, and Councilwoman Park indicated an application to assess the property’s place in history would be filed with the Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources in October. Ultimately, the Council had 90 days to avert the house’s demolition.
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