Owners of Marilyn Monroe’s Los Angeles home sue to stop historic designation

CBS News Los Angeles


The owners of Marilyn Monroe’s former home in Brentwood are suing the city of Los Angeles to block efforts to have the structure declared a historic and cultural landmark, which would prevent its demolition.

The plaintiffs in the case, owners Brinah Milstein and her husband Roy Bank, have owned the property since July 2023 and obtained a demolition permit from the city.

In September 2023, the Los Angeles City Council temporarily halts demolition from home, much to the relief of fans and historians. The feeling was that the house should be preserved as a crucial part of Hollywood and Los Angeles history.

The historic landmark application progressed through the municipal process, receiving approval in January from the Cultural Heritage Commission and later from council’s planning and land use management committee.

The matter must still be heard by the full city council, which is expected to be done in mid-June.

The owners took steps to stop the process and filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. It alleges “unlawful and unconstitutional conduct” by the city “with respect to the home where Marilyn Monroe lived on and off for just six months before tragically committing suicide 61 years ago.”

The suit alleges the city violated its own codes and procedures in pushing for landmark designation for the property.

“All of these behind-the-scenes machinations were intended to preserve a house that in no way meets the criteria for a ‘Historic Cultural Monument,'” the lawsuit states. “This is reinforced by the fact, among other things, that for 60 years, through 14 owners and numerous renovations and building permits issued by the city, the city has taken no action regarding the now supposedly “historic” or “cultural” status of the house.”

The suit alleges that the city’s action caused “irreparable” harm to the building’s owners and deprived them of “their vested rights as owners of real property.”

The lawsuit seeks a court order blocking the monument’s designation, allowing the plaintiffs to move forward with their demolition plan.