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Marilyn Monroe’s Historic House Faces Demolition Threat

Young Marilyn Monroe
The potential demolition of Marylin Monroe’s house has caused concern and outrage among preservationists and the local community. Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Marilyn Monroe’s last home, where the Hollywood icon was found dead more than sixty years ago, is now under looming threat of demolition. The owner of this historic property, located in the upscale Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, has applied for a demolition permit, causing alarm among preservationists and Monroe enthusiasts.

This single-story, hacienda-style estate sits on almost three thousand square feet and recently changed hands for approximately $8.35 million. Although the city’s Department of Building and Safety initially approved a “plan review” on September 5th, formal demolition approval has not yet been received.

Despite being an iconic piece of Hollywood history, the house has undergone various changes over the years, with the kitchen and bathrooms now almost unrecognizable from Monroe’s days.

Monroe purchased the property in 1962 for about $77,500, equivalent to about $790,000 today, following the dissolution of her third marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Sadly, just six months later, on August 4, 1962, the world lost its beloved actress when she was found lifeless in her bedroom at the age of 36. The cause of the actress’s death was an overdose of barbiturates.

Public Concern Over Marylin Monroe’s House Demolition

The potential demolition of this historic site has caused concern and outrage among preservationists and the local community. News of the impending demolition spread quickly, prompting hundreds of calls from Los Angeles Councilwoman Traci Park urging action. In response, Park submitted a council motion asking the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) to evaluate the house for listing as a Los Angeles Historic Landmark. The proposal received unanimous  approval, giving CHC 75 days to evaluate and approve the home as a landmark.

In a major turn of events, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to initiate the process of designating Marilyn Monroe’s former home as a historical and cultural landmark, effectively halting demolition plans. The city council’s quick action resulted in the immediate revocation of the demolition permit previously issued by the city’s Board of Building and Safety Commissioners. In addition, the City Council’s proposal prohibits any major changes to the property during the landmark status evaluation period.

As different media reported, earlier this year, the owners of the Brentwood residence were listed as Glory of the Snow LLC. In August, it sold the property to Glory of the Snow Trust for $8.35 million.

The significance of this house in the life of Marilyn Monroe cannot be overestimated. It was the only property the iconic actress ever owned independently. Known for her roles in films such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot, the star named the house “Cursum Perficio,” a Latin phrase meaning “My journey ends here,” which adorns the tiles on the home’s front porch.

As the fate of Marilyn Monroe’s former home remains unknown, preservationists and neighbors are rallying to protect this iconic piece of Hollywood history from demolition. The Los Angeles City Council’s unanimous approval to designate the home as a historic and cultural landmark provides hope that Monroe’s legacy will continue in the heart of Brentwood.

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