Marilyn Monroe’s former home in Los Angeles gets landmark status, thwarting bulldozers

Some don’t like it… it destroys.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to designate Marilyn Monroe’s former West Side home as a historic cultural landmark, thwarting an attempt by the current owners to demolish it. The move comes five months after the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission blocked demolition efforts due to the home’s cultural significance.

“We have an opportunity to do something today that should have been done 60 years ago,” Councilwoman Tracy Park — who represents the city’s 11th District — said before Wednesday’s vote. … There is probably no woman in history or culture able to embody the public imagination as Marilyn Monroe did. Even after all these years, her story still resonates and inspires many of us today.

The home at 12305 West Fifth Helena Drive is where the venerable actress was found dead at the age of 36 in August 1962.

Back in September, Park moved to save the house by designating it a cultural historic landmark. She said it would be a “devastating blow” to historic preservation and to a city where less than 3% of historical designations are linked to women’s heritage.

Two weeks ago, the council postponed its vote after Park requested an extension to address the concerns of the homeowners and area residents, who expressed concerns about privacy and safety with the designation.

Park noted that she balanced those concerns with moving the designation through the Council’s Historic Cultural Committee and the Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee. She made a motion during Wednesday’s meeting to evaluate restrictions on tour buses on West Fifth Helena Drive and surrounding streets.

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On May 6, lawyers for real estate heiress Brenah Milstein and her ex-husband Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Executive 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 house historic recognition. The couple purchased the home in July 2023 for $8.35 million and obtained a demolition permit from the city — which was later revoked.

Chalfant initially ruled in favor of the city, calling Milstein-Bank’s proposal “an unconvincing proposition to win so they can tear down the house and eliminate the cultural-historic monument issue.”

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