Marilyn Monroe’s former LA home declared historic cultural monument, stopping demolition

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The former Los Angeles home of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe was declared a historic cultural monument Wednesday, preventing it from being demolished by its current owners.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously – in a 12-0 vote – to approve the motion introduced by Councilwoman Traci Park who represents the 11th District where the Spanish Colonial-style home is located.

Monroe bought the one-story home on Helena Drive in 1962 for $75,000. It was the only residence she ever owned. She died there six months later.

MARILYN MONROE’S LOS ANGELES HOME WHERE SHE DIED SPARED FROM DEMOLITION — FOR NOW

The 2,900-square-foot estate in the upscale Brentwood neighborhood boasts four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The home features beamed ceilings and terra-cotta tile floors, as well as a large backyard swimming pool surrounded by lush citrus trees and a manicured lawn.

“We have an opportunity to do something today that should have been done 60 years ago,” Park said prior to the vote, per Fox 11. “There is no other person or place in the city of Los Angeles as iconic as Marilyn Monroe and her Brentwood home.”

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“Some of the most world-famous images ever taken of her were in that home, on those grounds and near her pool. Marilyn tragically died there — forever ties her in time and place to this very home,” Park said. “There is likely no woman in history or culture who captures the imagination of the public the way Marilyn Monroe did. Even all these years later, her story still resonates and inspires many of us today.”

The decision comes after a months-long battle between the council and the owners of the home, Roy Bank and Brinah Milstein, who own a property next door. 

The couple bought Monroe’s former home in July 2023 for $8.35 million with plans to demolish the house to expand their estate, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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The couple obtained a demolition permit soon after, but Park last year introduced a motion to protect the home by granting it landmark status, receiving approval from the Cultural Heritage Commission and the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, the Los Angeles Times said.

Bank and Milstein sued the city in May for acting unconstitutionally in order to preserve the house, according to the Los Angeles Times. A judge denied their injunction request to stop the historical designation and a trial-setting conference for the pending lawsuit is set for Aug. 13, according to The New York Times.

The couple claimed the city exaggerated Monroe’s connection to the house and that she only lived for “a mere six months before she tragically committed suicide 61 years ago,” per a lawsuit cited by KCAL-TV.

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The couple say the city has approved dozens of renovations by the home’s 14 previous owners.

“All of these backroom machinations were in the name of preserving a house which in no way meets any of the criteria for a `Historic-Cultural Monument,'” the lawsuit states. 

At the time, her death was ruled to be an overdose of sleeping pills. Whether it was accidental or suicidal is still not fully known. She was found in her home, alone in her bed, with an unhooked phone in her hand and a bottle of sleeping pills on the side of her bed.

Fox Business’ Stephanie Giang-Paunon and Reuters contributed to this report.  

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