Marilyn Monroe’s Former L.A. Home Gets Landmark Status, Thwarting Bulldozers

UPDATED with statement from property owners: Some like it not … torn down.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to designate Marilyn Monroe’s former Westside home as a historic cultural monument, thwarting the current owners’ attempt to demolish it. The move comes five months after L.A.’s Cultural Heritage Commission blocked the demolition efforts over the house’s cultural significance.

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Councilwoman Traci Park — who represents the city’s 11th District — said before Wednesday’s vote: “We have an opportunity to do something today that should have been done 60 years ago. … 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 home at 12305 West Fifth Helena Drive is where the revered actress was found dead at 36 in August 1962.

Back in September, Park moved to save the house by designating it as a historic cultural monument. She said it 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.”

Two weeks ago, the council had put off its vote after Park requested an extension to address concerns from the home’s owners and from area residents, who have expressed concerns about privacy and safety with the designation.

Park noted that she has balanced those concerns as the designation moved through the Historic Cultural Commission and the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee. She introduced a motion during Wednesday’s meeting to evaluate tour bus restrictions on West Fifth Helena Drive and surrounding streets.

On May 6, attorneys for real estate heiress Brinah Milstein and her husband, former Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? exec producer Roy Bank, filed court papers with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant in which they said the city was violating the law by trying to give the home historical recognition. The pair bought the residence in July 2023 for $8.35 million and had obtained a demolition permit from the city — which later was revoked.

Chalfant issued a tentative ruling in favor of the city, calling the Milstein-Bank motion an “ill-disguised motion to win so that they can demolish the home and eliminate the historic cultural monument issue.”

An attorney for property owners said in a statement to Deadline. “Council Member Traci Park, in bringing a motion to designate the former home of Marilyn Monroe as a Historic Cultural Monument, said she has ‘worked closely’ with the owners ‘throughout this process’ to relocate this house to allow for public access. … In fact, the opposite is true,” Peter C. Sheridan said. “The owners have made countless attempts to work with Ms. Park and her staff to find a solution that would work for everyone, only to be met with non-responsiveness by Ms. Park and her staff. … The designation today was yet another step in an admittedly biased, unconstitutional and rigged process, as set forth in the owners’ lawsuit.

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