House Passes Marilyn’s Post Office Bill

Norma Jeane by Bruno Bernard, 1946

Plans to name a Van Nuys Boulevard office after Marilyn, proposed by local representative Tony Cardenas, were approved by the House this week. The bill, which also requests for another post office to be named after musician Ritchie Valens, will now go to the Senate for further consideration. (The young Norma Jeane Baker lived in Van Nuys with her legal guardian, Grace Goddard. She was a student at Van Nuys High School, and later returned to the area with her first husband, Jim Dougherty.)

“Marilyn Monroe was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Van Nuys and attended Van Nuys High school. She grew up poor and bounced around orphanages as a child. Back then, the chances of a poor woman like Marilyn Monroe becoming a national success and musical legend was nearly impossible.

But she beat the odds.

Despite her turbulent childhood, Marilyn Monroe found stability and joy while living in Van Nuys. Her hard work and perseverance led her to become a timeless internationally recognized icon. In a world where many believe wealth, status, or name determines one’s destiny, Marilyn Monroe’s story defies the odds and inspires many others to believe they too can also achieve similar success.

She showed us that dreaming big and working hard means something in America. She went off to become an artistic trailblazer starring in her own movies and setting records during her singing career.”

Van Nuys News Press

Marilyn, Valens Tipped for Van Nuys Honours

Congressman Tony Cardenas has confirmed his proposal to name a Van Nuys post office after Marilyn (first mentioned here in 2015), and another for Pacoima-born musician Ritchie Valens, the Los Angeles Post-Examiner reports. (Only last year, the neighbourhood council suggested here that a statue of Marilyn be built at Van Nuys City Hall.)

“During this awards season, I am proud to introduce two bills renaming post offices on Van Nuys Boulevard after two of the San Fernando Valley’s most famous and celebrated artists, Ritchie Valens and Marilyn Monroe. Forty-six of my colleagues from California joined me in honoring these amazing talents from our great state.

Marilyn Monroe was and remains one of the most famous models and actresses in American culture. She attended Van Nuys High School and was discovered by an army photographer while she was working at the Radioplane Munitions Factory during World War II. Her films grossed the equivalent of $2 billion, before like Valens she passed away way too soon.”

Marilyn Statue Proposed in Van Nuys

Norma Jeane Dougherty photographed by David Conover, who discovered her in Van Nuys, 1945

The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council has proposed that a statue of hometown girl Marilyn be installed at Van Nuys City Hall, as Olga Grigoryants reports for Los Angeles’ Daily News. If these plans come to pass, it would be a fitting tribute to create a likeness of the young Marilyn, perhaps from her early modelling days.

“The news comes four years after Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, proposed a bill to name the Van Nuys Post Office after the Hollywood icon, who attended Van Nuys High School — as Norma Jeane Baker — for a short time in the early 1940s.

The plan was first proposed by the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council in 2012. Its president, George Thomas, said the actress had personal ties to the community … She attended Van Nuys High, which was near her house. She lived there with her aunt [Ana Lower] after years in foster homes.

The future movie icon was discovered at the Van Nuys Airport, where she worked on the assembly line at Radioplane Co., which manufactured drones for the U.S. Army during World War II.”

Marilyn’s Van Nuys Post Office Bill

Norma Jeane by Andre de Dienes, 1945

Tony Cardenas, the Democratic statesman representing California’s 29th Congressional District, has introduced a bill to rename a Van Nuys post office after Marilyn, who lived in the area during the 1940s.

While promoting the bill, Cardenas spoofed Republican leadership hopeful Donald Trump’s campaign promise to ‘make America great again’, according to the Los Angeles Times.

‘This law is going to be so good and so smart that it will completely make America great again,’ the press release states, adding, ‘Marilyn Monroe was the best.’ (While the first claim may be hyperbolic, many ES Updates readers will agree with the second!)

The plan to honour Marilyn has been in the works since 2012, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

“‘Marilyn is an idol for a lot of young girls, actors and actresses,’ said Rep. Tony Cardenas. ‘We got the idea from the community to name it after her. We think it’s a great idea and are happy to move it along.’

With support of nearly the entire California House delegation, the bill to name the Civic Center Van Nuys Post Office at 6531 Van Nuys Blvd. after one of America’s best known sex symbols could pass by November 2016, aides say.

The bill, H.R. 3938, was submitted Thursday to a government reform committee. A full House vote is expected next year. A similar bill submitted three years ago failed to get out of the committee.

The idea to name the post office after Monroe was hatched in three years ago by the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council.

Fifteen-year-old Norma Jeane Mortenson, who became Monroe, attended Van Nuys High for more than half her sophomore year, between fall 1941 and spring 1942. She lived with an aunt after a childhood spent in foster homes.

A backyard home in North Hollywood, where Monroe lived when discovered as a model, was bulldozed last June, three days before a city hearing on its potential preservation. She had lived there in 1944 with her in-laws while her first husband was away at sea.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council President George Thomas once said Monroe’s link to Van Nuys was important … ‘Marilyn Monroe is an American icon, and renaming the post office after her is going to be a part of our ongoing efforts to bring light to the history of Van Nuys,’ Thomas told the Daily News in 2012. ‘Our community has a rich heritage of which many Valley-ites are unaware.’

The Civic Center Van Nuys Post Office was moved to its current location a few years ago from 6200 Van Nuys Blvd, postal officials said.

Other post offices dedicated to celebrities include one in Burbank dedicated to comedian Bob Hope, a Hollywood post office dedicated to its honorary mayor Johnny Grant, and three Los Angeles post offices respectively named for actor Karl Malden, singer Ray Charles and singer Nat King Cole.”