By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles City Council voted on Friday to launch a process to designate actress Marilyn Monroe’s former home, where she died of a drug overdose in 1962, a historic and cultural landmark, blocking plans to demolish the property.
The motion to initiate consideration of the Spanish Colonial-style house in L.A.’s Brentwood section for historic preservation was introduced by Councilwoman Traci Park and approved unanimously the same day, according to her spokesperson Jamie Paige.
The action imposes “a temporary stay of demolition, substantial alteration or removal of any such proposed location or structuring pending designation,” as asserted in the language of the motion itself.
Paige said she visited the property on Thursday and that no work had been done at the site. A demolition permit was issued by the city to the home’s current owner, a little-known entity called Glory of the Snow Trust, she said.
Monroe purchased the single-story, 2,900-square-foot (270-sq-meter) house, the only home she ever independently owned, in the early 1960s for $75,000 after the end of her third marriage, to playwright Arthur Miller, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The screen legend, star of such films as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “Some Like It Hot” and “The Misfits,” was found dead in a bedroom of the home in August 1962 at the age of 36. The cause of death was ruled to be acute barbiturate poisoning.
The Times reported that the half-acre (0.20-hectare) property, which included a swimming pool and guest house, was purchased in 2017 for $7.25 million by Glory of the Snow LLC, then managed by a hedge fund executive. It was sold to the Glory of the Snow Trust for $8.35 million earlier this year.
No representatives for the trust have been identified by Councilwoman Park, and the reason for the planned demolition remained unclear, Paige said. The Times said the trust is not listed alongside any person’s name.
Word that the gated, four-bedroom hacienda at the end of a cul-de-sac was slated to be torn town sparked expressions of outrage on social media, the Times reported.
The newspaper, citing a spokesperson for the L.A. Department of City Planning, said the property had previously been nominated for landmark status, with a 2013 evaluation describing its association with Monroe as “potentially significant” but determined “more research” was needed.
The actress named the home Cursum Perficio, a Latin phrase meaning “My journey ends here,” which adorned tiles on the home’s front porch, according to the Times.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Sandra Maler)