Norma Jeane’s House Brick for Sale in LA

The Andrew Weiss Gallery has hosted several Marilyn-themed photo and art exhibitions in the past. Tomorrow at 10 am, a rather unusual assortment of items related to MM and other stars will go under the hammer at their Hollywood Legends and Music auction, including a brick retrieved by KTLA reporter Christina Pasucci from the former Dougherty home where Norma Jeane lived from 1944-45 at Hermitage Street (later Avenue), during its controversial demolition in 2015. Also on offer is a wooden clapperboard from the set of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; a brush, comb and hand-mirror set, supposedly containing Marilyn’s blonde hairs; plus a hotel switchboard memo found inside one of her books, notifying her that Joe DiMaggio had called.

UPDATE: According to the auction website, the clapperboard sold for $4,750; the house-brick for $2,300; the brush set for $19,500; and the DiMaggio memo for $500 (although these figures are listed as ‘unverified’.)

Marilyn’s ‘Dougherty House’ Blitz Spurs Lawsuit

The former Dougherty home at Hermitage Avenue, before demolition

After the news that Marilyn’s former home with the Doughertys at Hermitage Avenue was demolished in June, local residents have filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, reports the L.A. Times.

The empty lot at the interesection of Hermitage Avenue and Weddington Street

“Los Angeles is facing a lawsuit over the demolition of a San Fernando Valley house that Marilyn Monroe once lived in, filed by residents who argue that the city trampled state and local laws when the City Council gave the green light for new condos to be built there.

But the court battle goes beyond the legacy of the blond bombshell. The suit accuses the City Council of illegally agreeing to routinely back any development project supported by the council member who represents a given area, including the condo project that led to razing the Valley Village home.

The council voted unanimously last month to allow developer Joe Salem to move ahead with plans for a five-unit condominium building on the site of the demolished home. Save Valley Village is seeking to reverse city approval of the project, revoke its permits and stop it from getting any more approvals.

The house at the heart of the latest dispute was torn down days before a Cultural Heritage Commission hearing on whether to consider making the silver screen star’s onetime home a historic monument. Monroe lived in the back unit at the Hermitage Avenue property with her in-laws while her first husband, Jim Dougherty, was serving overseas.

Building department officials said the demolition permit had been obtained before the historic monument application was filed. Even if the house had remained intact, city staffers did not recommend considering the house as a possible monument, arguing that Monroe didn’t break into the film industry until years later.

Monroe ‘only resided at the property for one year and did not live in the unit during the productive period of her career,’ a report by city planning officials said.

Save Valley Village counters that the home captured the essence of her life at a crucial stage. ‘While Norma Jean was born at County Hospital in Lincoln Heights, Marilyn Monroe’s career was born while living in this house,’ the lawsuit argues.

The group also contends that the city had ‘overwhelming evidence’ that it should have prepared an environmental impact report on the planned condos. That report would have considered possible alternatives to tearing down the Hermitage Avenue building, such as relocating it elsewhere, MacNaughton said.

The lawsuit also argues that Salem illegally demolished the home because the proper notices and inspections had not been done and that city officials knew it — or should have known.”

Marilyn’s ‘Dougherty House’ Demolished

Marilyn’s former home at Hermitage Street (now Avenue), North Hollywood (or Valley Village), has been demolished by property developers while awaiting a decision on landmark status, reports the L.A. Daily News. Marilyn lived there from 1944-45 with her husband Jim’s family, while he served in the Merchant Marine. During this period, the teenage Norma Jeane took a job alongside her mother-in-law, Ethel Dougherty, at the Radioplane munitions plant, where she was ‘discovered’ by army photographer David Conover.

Norma Jeane with Ethel Dougherty

“A backyard home where Marilyn Monroe lived when she was first discovered as a bombshell pin-up was slated this week to be considered for landmark status.

But three days before the hearing, a developer bulldozed the Valley Village home.

‘I can’t even breathe. My neighbors and I are in mourning,’ said Jennifer Getz, of Valley Village, who had nominated the so-called Dougherty House for designation as a city Historic-Cultural Monument. ‘It’s one of the biggest losses in the San Fernando Valley.

‘I’m beyond outrage.’

A case for preserving a plain pair of single-story houses — the front one built during World War II, the rear thought to have been an early-century gabled farm house where Monroe then lived — was to have been heard Thursday by the Cultural Heritage Commission.

But then neighbors discovered a heavy backhoe Monday ripping down both houses at 5258 Hermitage Ave. The owner, Joe Salem of Hermitage Enterprises LLC, could not be reached for comment. City officials said he’d sought a demolition permit last year to build condos.

It was there that 17-year-old housewife Norma Jean Dougherty moved in with her in-laws in April 1944 while her sailor husband James was far away at sea.

She moved out of the North Hollywood area house in the summer of 1945, would soon divorce Dougherty and went on to become the iconic Marilyn Monroe.

While at her wartime job inspecting parachutes, Dougherty was picked to model for morale-boosting military magazines by a photographer sent by U.S. Army Capt. Ronald Reagan. Her career took off, and she became an actress.

Photographed by David Conover, 1945

City officials said the house wasn’t significant enough to be named an official landmark. Not only did the house not have any distinguishing characteristics, according to city planners, but the actress didn’t become a movie star until long after she moved.

Critics of the demolition blame Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose office would not support the landmark request or step in to help save the house.

They also accuse the developer of tearing down the house just after the landmark hearing was posted, and before the commission could put the brakes on demolition, a common practice across the city. They also accuse him of violating a law requiring a 30-day public notice to demolish buildings older than 45 years.

‘It was never posted,’ said Los Angeles historian Charles J. Fisher, who penned the Dougherty House nomination. ‘The problem is that the city failed to adhere to the law. We’ve lost a portion of Marilyn Monroe’s life, a very significant portion.'”