Marilyn Monroe’s former Los Angeles home declared a historic monument to save it from demolition

Published 4:55 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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LOS ANGELES — Fans of Marilyn Monroe have won a battle to preserve her mark on Los Angeles and are a step closer to seeing a towering statue of the silver screen icon remain in Palm Springs.

The Los Angeles home where Monroe briefly lived and died has been declared a historic cultural monument, while a Palm Springs planning commission decision boosted chances that a 26-foot (8-meter) statue called “Forever Marilyn” will stay in place.

The Los Angeles City Council voted for the historic designation Wednesday after a lengthy battle over whether the home in the tony Brentwood neighborhood would be demolished, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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The current owners live next door and wanted to raze the house in order to expand their estate. The council, however, was unanimous in moving to save it.

“There’s no other person or place in the city of Los Angeles as iconic as Marilyn Monroe and her Brentwood home,” Traci Park, the area’s council representative, said before the vote.

Monroe bought the house for $75,000 and died there just months later on Aug. 4, 1962, from an apparent overdose. The current owners, Brinah Milstein and Roy Bank, bought the house for $8.35 million and obtained a demolition permit but ran into opposition.

They contend the house has been changed so much over the years that it no longer is historic, and that it has become a neighborhood nuisance due to tourist traffic.

The process that led to the designation was “biased, unconstitutional and rigged,” Peter C. Sheridan, an attorney for Milstein and Bank, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Sheridan asserted that Park and her staff were not responsive to the owners’ efforts to find a solution and ignored opposition by civic and homeowners’ groups.

The attorney also said the city had “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.”

In Palm Springs, the “Forever Marilyn” statute depicts Monroe in the famous billowing dress scene from “The Seven Year Itch.” It has been moved around the U.S. and elsewhere, including a previous stint in Palm Springs, and is now back. A hotel industry group that owns the statue wants it to remain permanently but some residents oppose it.

A technical decision about the location by the planning commission on Wednesday marked a step toward keeping the statue, The Desert Sun reported. The matter continues before the Palm Springs City Council in the future.