LA City Council saves Marilyn Monroe house from wrecking ball

Days after reports surfaced that an L.A. home once owned by Marilyn Monroe was facing demolition, the L.A. City Council has rushed through a motion that temporarily protects the Brentwood house.

The City Council voted on Friday to adopt a motion to consider historical cultural monument status for the house, which effectively freezes all building and demolition permits while the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission evaluates further protections. 

“This is a great win for the time being,” Councilmember Traci Park, who led the preservation effort, told the L.A. Times after the unanimous council vote. 

“It has been a whirlwind 48 hours,” she added. “We are all extremely relieved that things went the way they did today.”

The house in question, located at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive in Brentwood, is a one-story, four-bedroom Spanish hacienda-style home that Monroe bought in early 1962 for $77,500 — or roughly $790,000 in 2023 dollars. The current median listing price in Brentwood is $2.7 million, according to 

Six months after buying the property, Monroe, who was 36 years old, was found dead in her bedroom in the home from a drug overdose. Following the star’s death the home, the only property she owned by herself in L.A., became something of a tourist attraction. It also changed hands several times, including in 2017, when an entity called Glory of the Snow LLC, managed by hedge fund manager Dan Lukas, bought it for $7.25 million. 

Earlier this summer, in July, Glory of the Snow LLC sold the property to another entity called Glory of the Snow Trust, for $8.35 million, the Times and other outlets reported. It was the new entity’s manager who then applied for demolition permits, leading to the global outcry by Monroe’s fans — once the news broke hundreds of people from around the world contacted Park’s office urging her to protect the home, she said. 

The council member delivered an emotional speech ahead of Friday’s vote wearing a Marilyn-style blonde cut and red lipstick. 

“Immediately my team sprung into action,” she said on Friday. “But unfortunately, the Department of Building & Safety issued a demolition permit before my team and I could fully intervene and get this issue resolved.” 

After the council vote, the historic preservation decision process must play out within 75 days, according to city law. If the home is granted cultural monument status, which seems likely, the designation would grant city staff more authority to review potential property amendments. 

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