LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 2,624 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: The only home ever owned by enduring Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, in the affluent Brentwood area of Los Angeles, has come to market with an asking price of $6,900,000. The bottle blond bombshell, whose last feature film was the commercially anemic but critically heralded 1961 drama “The Misfits” with Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift, personally searched for and purchased the 1929 Spanish hacienda style home in the coveted and star-studded Helenas district in early 1962. Some reports say she paid $67,000 and others $90,000. Whatever the amount, the still universally beloved international sex symbol’s residency was tragically short-lived as she was found in August 1962, at age 36, by her psychiatrist Ralph Greenson laying naked and face down on her bed clutching a telephone handset, dead from an apparent overdose of sleeping pills.
The property has changed hands a handful of times since the famously curvaceous and deeply troubled “Some Like It Hot” star’s brief ownership. In the early 1970s it was acquired by then married actors Michael Irving and Veronica Hamel (“Hill Street Blues”) who, during a remodel, discovered and removed a sophisticated, government grade eavesdropping and telephone tapping system that extended into every room of the house. The bizarre bugging apparatus remains juicy fodder for the many conspiracy theories that surround Monroe, who allegedly had a brief and illicit tryst with John F. Kennedy in early 1962 at Bing Crosby’s house in Palm Springs, and some believe she was under surveillance by the Kennedy family and/or the mafia. Last available on the open market in 2010 when it sold for $3.85 million, property records indicate it last traded in a surreptitious off-market deal in November 2012 for $5.1 million.
Privately and securely situated at the end of an itty-bitty cul-de-sac behind a high wall, secured gate and canopy of trees on what marketing materials declare as the “largest parcel of all the Helena streets,” the red tile roofed, single-story residence measures in at an extraordinarily modest by today’s celebrity standards 2,624 square feet. Renovated, updated and expanded over the years by the various owners, the residence retains a number of original architectural details such as thick white stucco walls, casement windows, some fitted with wrought iron grills, terra-cotta tile floors, Gothic arch doorways, and vaulted, exposed wood ceilings.
The four bedroom and three bathroom residence, which Monroe shared with her longtime housekeeper and confidant Eunice Murray, has a living room with vibrant, tile-accented fireplace, a den/dining room with ceiling-height bookcases and an adjoining office/sunroom. Renovated sometime before 2010, the eat-in kitchen has a massive ridgeline skylight, which is obviously not original to the house, and French doors to a courtyard garden. Several rooms at the rear of the residence, including one of the bedrooms, which has a curved corner fireplace, open through French doors to a red brick terrace and free-form swimming pool in which Monroe reportedly never actually swam. A compact cabana/guesthouse next to the pool has a shallow, vine-draped porch and beyond the pool a long sweep of lawn bordered by mature trees and foliage gives way to a small citrus grove, terraced gardens and an open, over-the-treetops view.
The Helenas, a series of 25 tiny cul-de-sacs that run from San Vicente Boulevard to just above Sunset Boulevard at the eastern edge of the posh Brentwood Park neighborhood, has long been attractive to Tinseltown types. A short list of some of the current homeowners in the tightly knit neighborhood include James Belushi, Ewan McGregor, and Naomi Watts who back in 2010 unsuccessfully tried to sell her vine-covered villa for a smidgen less than $6 million and several years later made it available as a luxury lease at $20,000 per month.
The property is represented by Lisa Optican at Mercer Vine.