Marilyn Monroe’s Former Home Saved from Demolition, Designated as Historic-Cultural Monument

In a decisive move, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to preserve Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood home as a Historic-Cultural Monument, safeguarding it from demolition. This action ensures the protection of the residence where the legendary actress lived and died, marking it as an essential piece of Los Angeles history and culture.
The home’s owners had filed a lawsuit against the city in May, alleging “abuse of power.” Despite their efforts, a judge recently denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the city council’s vote, allowing the preservation decision to proceed. The legal battle continues, with a trial expected later this fall, according to Peter C. Sheridan of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Jordan & Shapiro LLP, who represents the homeowners.
During her speech to the council, Councilwoman Park, who represents the district where the house is located, passionately advocated for the home’s preservation. She described the residence, much like Monroe herself, as “iconic.”
“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,” Park stated. “To lose this piece of history, the only home Marilyn Monroe ever owned, would be a devastating blow for historic preservation, and for a city where less than 3% of historic designations are associated with women’s heritage.”
Park acknowledged the concerns of local residents regarding traffic and safety, introducing a motion to evaluate tour bus restrictions in the surrounding areas. She expressed her commitment to working with the property owners on potentially relocating the home to a site accessible to the public.
“My team and I have worked closely with the property owners to assess potentially moving the home to a place where the public might actually be able to visit and spend time,” Park said. “I remain hopeful and committed to work with the property owners to see if this can be done in the future, but today, let’s preserve this essential piece of LA’s history and culture.”
However, Sheridan refuted Park’s claims, stating that neither she nor her staff had collaborated with the owners to relocate the house. He added that local civic and homeowner groups oppose the home’s historic designation, citing numerous remodels over the years that have altered its original state.
“The homeowners hope the court declares the entire process to save the home from demolition illegal and directs the city to withdraw its designation,” Sheridan said.
Despite the ongoing legal dispute, the Los Angeles Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving historic places, hailed the council’s vote as a triumph for community advocacy. The organization thanked Park for her efforts in an Instagram post, celebrating the preservation of Monroe’s Brentwood bungalow.
Built in 1929, the home is valued at approximately $8 million. Monroe lived there for only a few months before her tragic death in 1962 at the age of 36, due to an overdose of barbiturates.