Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram

Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood Home Saved From Demolition, Declared Historical Cultural Monument

Photo Credit:Mel Bouzad / Getty Images and M. Garrett / Murray Garrett / Getty Images
Photo Credit:Mel Bouzad / Getty Images and M. Garrett / Murray Garrett / Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe’s final place of residence is located at 12305 5th Helena Drive in Brentwood, Los Angeles. This property is where the iconic actress took her final breath, dying of an apparent drug overdose in her bedroom. After years of renovations and discussion of demolition, the property has been approved as a historical cultural monument.

Monroe called it a “fortress”

A dishevelled bed.
Picture of the bed where American actress Marilyn Monroe was discovered dead in her Brentwood home on August 5, 1962. (Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

While Marilyn Monroe had lived in 43 different homes throughout her life, her Brentwood home was the first and only one that she purchased on her own. She had previously owned properties alongside her former spouses, but because this was solely hers, she described it as a “fortress where I can feel safe from the world.” With a life in the limelight, Monroe had finally found her sanctuary.

She made the decision to purchase the 1929 Spanish Colonial-style bungalow after her psychiatrist had advised that she “put down some roots.” The purchase happened in February 1962, following the end of her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Sadly, Monroe would only live at the property for about six months before she would die of an apparent overdose that same year.

The vote was unanimous

A police officer outside of Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood home.
A policeman stands in front of Monroe’s house in Brentwood. (Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

The Los Angeles City Council has recently voted on the landmark status of Monroe’s Brentwood home, held at a time when the property was considered for demolition. The L.A. Conservancy submitted a proposal for landmark status of the house, citing that it was “the first place she sought out and bought for herself and on her own while actively working in 1962.” The council unanimously voted 12 to 0 in favor of adding the house to properties of historical significance and was backed by the City Council’s land management subcommittee and the Cultural Heritage Commission.

While the new designation does not prevent the property from being demolished, its new status makes the review process for a proposed demolition far more rigorous. Commenting prior to the vote, City Council member Traci Park said, “We have an opportunity to do something today that should’ve been done 60 years ago. There’s no other person or place in the city of Los Angeles as iconic as Marilyn Monroe and her Brentwood home.”

Following the vote, the L.A. Conservancy took to X (formerly Twitter) to share the news. “The Marilyn Monroe Residence in Brentwood is now a Historic-Cultural Monument! Today, L.A. City Council unanimously approved the nomination for Marilyn Monroe’s final home. Thanks to all who voiced their support and a HUGE thanks to Councilwoman Traci Park & team!,” the post reads.

The owners have filed a suit

Aerial view of Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood house.
An aerial view of Marilyn Monroe’s final home in the Brentwood neighborhood on September 14, 2023, in Brentwood, California. (Photo Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The current owners of the property are not too pleased with the decision. Brinah Milstein and her husband, reality television producer Roy Bank, purchased the home in 2023 for $8.35 million with the intention of demolishing it to expand their property next door. After a year-long fight to prevent the historical designation, they have now sued the city.

They believe that the designation would lead to unwanted visitors becoming even more of a problem and accused officials of “backroom machinations” for their part in the decision. Now, a trial date of August 13, 2024 is expected. In the suit, the owners claim that the home has already been substantially altered by previous owners, leaving no remaining evidence from the time that Monroe lived there.

More from us: Son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Recalls Growing up With the Hollywood Legends

Milstein’s attorney, Peter C. Sheridan, said in a statement, “the City granted dozens of permits to over 14 different prior owners to change the home through numerous remodels, resulting in there being nothing left reflecting Ms. Monroe’s brief time there 60 years ago.” As such, they argue that the property no longer meets the criteria for a historical cultural monument. Additionally, they claim that several other neighborhood groups did not support the historic designation, nor did the Monroe Estate.

Join The Vintage Newsletter community today and unlock a treasure trove of weekly curated content, exploring nostalgia, history, and fascinating facts from the past.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!