Marilyn Monroe’s Brentwood home was granted a temporary reprieve from demolition after a unanimous vote by the L.A. City Council on Friday.
Councilwoman Traci Park fought against the clock to save Monroe’s final home after learning Wednesday that the owner, Glory of the Snow Trust, had applied for a permit to demolish the iconic Spanish Colonial home.
“My team and I immediately took action. … But unfortunately, the Ministry of Construction and Safety issued a demolition permit before my team and I could fully intervene and solve this problem,” she said at a press conference shortly before Friday’s city council meeting.
The 11th Ward councilwoman wore red lipstick and styled her short blonde hair à la Monroe as she cast her vote passionate speech She announced that she would file a motion to initiate consideration of historic-cultural designation status for Monroe’s home.
“I am here with you today as the administrator of the district where Marilyn Monroe’s beloved final home is located. I am also here today to defend our city’s rich history and heritage,” Park said.
The motion presented to the council called for immediate action to consider the house as a historic-cultural monument of the city. It went on to say that this would not take away any rights from the property owner, but that the historical and cultural value of the property would need to be assessed.
Many Angelenos weighed in on the matter during the public comment portion of the meeting. Some emphasized the urgency of preserving Monroe’s home as the city faces a homelessness crisis, while others noted the importance of honoring women by saving the home.
“Preserving our history is a dignity we have as Angelenos,” said Stacey Segarra-Bohlinger, a representative of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council. “It is our duty and our honor to preserve and protect historical monuments. Developers are destroying our city for personal gain. It is a disgrace and should not be allowed.”
So the city council voted unanimously to make progress in examining the house for the status of a historical-cultural monument.
“This is a great victory for now,” Park told the Times in an interview after the meeting. “The most important thing about what we have achieved today is that this automatically and immediately triggers a temporary suspension of all building permits while this matter is considered by the Cultural Heritage Commission and the City Council.”
As for the property owner — Glory of the Snow Trust, of which Andrew Sahure is trustee — documents issued Friday by the city’s Building and Safety Department and shared by Park’s office say the department intends to revoke the demolition permits.
This is the first big step in saving the house. Going forward, the issue will be referred to the Office of Historic Resources for research, evaluation and analysis. It will then be forwarded to the Historic Culture Commission for findings and recommendations, which will then be forwarded to the full City Council. The entire process must be completed within 75 days.
“It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours,” Park told The Times. “We are all very relieved that things turned out this way today.”
During Park’s press conference, she expressed the importance of fighting the demolition of the only home the “Some Like It Hot” actor ever owned.
“Like the many, many hundreds of people from around the world who have contacted my office in the last 48 hours, I am extremely concerned about this and recognize the need for urgent action from the city,” Park said.
“For people around the world, Marilyn Monroe was more than just a movie icon. Her story of her challenging childhood growing up in orphanages and foster homes and becoming a global sensation is a shining example of what it means to overcome adversity.”
The council member quoted Monroe in her speech as saying, “Sometimes good things fall apart so that even better things can be put together.”
Park said the statement reflected the actor’s life journey, which she called “a testament to everyone who has experienced hardship and overcome it.”
“Her path was full of obstacles, but she knew no limits and she left an indelible mark on Hollywood and the world. Despite her iconic status, Marilyn Monroe constantly fought for fair compensation, often earning far less than men and far less than she was actually worth. A problem that women are still fighting to solve today.”
Park said Monroe’s Brentwood home was a “touching reminder of her final days” and a place where the troubled starlet, who died in 1962 at age 36, found peace. The star handpicked “every detail of the house, from the beamed ceilings to the tiles” during her travels around the world, she said.
Built in 1929, the residence was the only home the actress independently owned. Monroe bought the property for $75,000 in the early 1960s after the end of her third marriage to playwright Arthur Miller.
Earlier this year, the home’s owner was listed as Glory of the Snow LLC and managed by Emerald Lake hedge fund manager Dan Lukas and his wife, Anne Jarmain. Lukas and Jarmain did not respond to The Times’ request for comment.
They purchased the 2,900-square-foot hacienda in 2017 for $7.25 million. In July, Glory of the Snow LLC sold the property to Glory of the Snow Trust, or Sahure, for $8.35 million. Park said Sahure has not provided plans showing what he plans to do with the property after the house is demolished.
“This house is more than just a brick and mortar building. It is a symbol of their journey and our identity as Angelenos,” Park said. “The global concern that has flooded my office in recent days about the possible demolition of this historic site underscores its importance. The overwhelming sentiment here is clear: This home must be preserved as a critical piece of the history, culture and legacy of Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles.”
Times staff writer Julia Wick contributed to this report.