Marilyn Monroe lived in her Brentwood home in Los Angeles for about six months before her life came to a tragic end in 1962. Although Monroe lived in 43 different homes in her lifetime, this was the only one she actually bought and chose on her own. She reportedly purchased it after her psychiatrist advised her to "put down some roots.
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It was during the half-year that Monroe lived in the house that she made one of her last public appearances—the infamous presentation of the song "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday gala. Less than 18 months after that celebration, both Monroe and JFK would be dead.
Monroe's life was troubled from the beginning and she never got accustomed to a stable home. Born to a young, unwed mother who was institutionalized on and off throughout Monroe's life for mental illness, the actress (born Norma Jean Mortenson) lived in often-abusive foster homes and an orphanage and attended nine schools while growing up. Her first marriage was in her teens to a neighbor of her foster family, who was a soldier during World War II.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
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Purchase of the Brentwood House
Monroe bought the home in February 1962 after she moved back to Los Angeles following the end of her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Some sources say the selling price was $77,500, while others have it as $90,000. She reportedly paid for half of it with cash and took out a mortgage for the rest.
Located at 12305 5th Helena Drive, Monroe's L-shaped Spanish Colonial Revival originally had adobe walls and a red-tile roof. It also had two bedrooms instead of the four it has now, along with a small guesthouse. To decorate in the home's Spanish style, Monroe went on shopping trips to Tijuana and Mexico City, where she bought tiles, tin masks, mirrors, and textiles.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
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Purchased on Her Own
Built in 1929, the one-story hacienda-style house is situated behind tall gates at the end of a quiet cul de sac on more than half an acre of tree-filled grounds. The four-bedroom, three-bath home features a sparkling swimming pool, expansive yard, and citrus grove.
Although Monroe owned homes during her marriages, with Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, this house was the first she bought without a spouse. She described her casa as a "fortress where I can feel safe from the world," according to the book, Cursum Perficio: Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood Hacienda.
When the 23,200-square-foot house went up for sale in 2017, it was listed at $6.9 million and sold for $7.25 million.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
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Monroe's single-level Spanish-style house was the perfect setting for a freeform swimming pool, which was a popular shape for inground pools at the time. Monroe's beautifully landscaped yard had several fruit trees and a one-story guesthouse she was in the process of renovating when she died.
Monroe's bedroom has a fireplace and doors leading to a simple, but attractive, courtyard patio. Like the bedroom, the office opens out to the patio and pool area, blending indoors and outdoors in true Southern California style. It's nothing extravagant—especially by today's standards—but it became a tranquil haven for the actress. According to an article in Architectural Digest, the actress casually referred to the hacienda as “a cute little Mexican-style house with eight rooms."
Inscribed on tiles embedded in the front stoop of Monroe's house were the Latin words Cursum Perficio, which means "My journey is over" or "I have completed my journey." Sadly, the words came true for Monroe six months after moving into the Los Angeles area home.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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In the years after Monroe owned the home, it was the residence of at least two people in the entertainment industry, including actress Veronica Hamel (Hill Street Blues) and later, director Michael Ritchie.
During remodeling by Hamel and her husband, surveillance and bugging equipment was found in the roof and walls. The equipment was thought to have been installed secretly during the time Marilyn Monroe was allegedly involved with John F. Kennedy or Robert Kennedy in the early 1960s, although this has never been verified.
Marilyn Monroe’s onetime Brentwood home sells for over the asking price. Los Angeles Times
Vitacco-Robles, Gary. Cursum Perficio: Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood Hacienda. Writers Club Press, 2000