LA delays vote on landmark status for Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood home

City Council will determine if neighbors can demolish house in property expansion

LA Delays Vote to Name Marilyn Monroe House a Landmark
Marilyn Monroe and 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, Los Angeles (Google Maps, Getty)

Will the City of Los Angeles designate Marilyn Monroe’s former home in Brentwood a landmark, staving off the wrecking ball? Its owners and the public won’t know for weeks.

The L.A. City Council has put off a vote on whether to name the house where the star of “Some Like It Hot” died at 12305 5th Helena Drive a historic cultural monument, setting the vote for June 26, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

Councilwoman Traci Park, who represents the area, had introduced a motion in September to preserve the home when its owners sought to bulldoze it to expand their home next door.

Last month, Brinah Milstein Bank and her husband, reality TV producer Roy Bank, sued the city for their alleged right to demolish the Spanish hacienda-style home. On June 4, a judge tentatively denied their attempt.

“Following the recent court decision and pending litigation, as well as ongoing discussions between the City Attorney’s Office and the property owners, I would like to continue the item … for good cause,” said Park, who had requested the postponement.

The Banks bought the first and last home owned by the Hollywood siren in July for $8.35 million. They bought the house next door, a 6,000-square-foot dwelling at 12306 6th Helena Drive, in 2016 for $8.2 million.

But their plans to raze the 2,900-square-foot Monroe home to make room to expand their house next door created an international outcry — and an order by the city to temporarily stave off the wrecking ball.

Days after reports surfaced that the century-old home faced demolition, the L.A. City Council in September rushed through a motion to consider designating the property a historic cultural monument, a move that would invalidate the demolition permits.

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In January, the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission approved the application to designate the home as a historic cultural monument. The council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee shortly followed suit.

In a written statement to The Real Deal last month, Milstein and Bank’s attorney Peter Sheridan alleged the city had “engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional conspiracy” involving government officials and tour operators and violated the law “with regards to the quasi-judicial process required for evaluation of alleged historic cultural monuments.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James 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.”

The couple would not suffer the irreparable harm they claim by being denied a preliminary injunction because the City Council will address the issue, according to Chalfant.

Monroe bought the one-story, four-bedroom home in early 1962 for $77,500 — or roughly $790,000 in 2023 dollars — after her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller. Less than six months later, the 36-year-old actress was found dead from a drug overdose in her bedroom.

The house’s front step tiles read “Cursum Perficio” — Latin for “my journey ends here.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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