The mid-sized, attractive bungalow at 52 Brentwood, Los Angeles, was the only home Marilyn would ever own. She purchased it as a divorcee in 1960, two years before she died. Marilyn was reported to have burst into tears upon completing the purchasing, stating she hadn’t imagined buying a home by herself. At that time, it was more common for couples or men to buy homes, not women. Looking at the purchase with 21st Century eyes, it is easy to be confused about her reaction: Marilyn was successful, independent and owned her own home in a reasonably prominent area in California. In the 1950’s however, homes were a symbol of the family, something Marilyn never believed she had.
The house was mid-sized, a Spanish-style bungalow, with a kidney-shaped swimming pool surrounded by interlocking brick, and a decent-sized backyard, easily less than an acre. It was shrouded in bushes and trees, as if in an effort to maintain privacy. There were two prominent palm trees close to the house in the back yard. There was a ceramic tile over the front door and on it in Latin was the phrase cursum perficio – “my journey is over.” She favoured a relatively simple interior, accentuated with Mexican mirrors, bowls and a beautiful canvas pinned to one wall. A Van Gogh painting owned its own wall above a stylish, wooden chair. She kept a small record player on the floor of one room. A Spanish-style bench was beside it. The house was tasteful and attractive but it was not the auspicious mansion of a movie star.
On the same cul-de-sac as Marilyn were Peter and Pat Lawford, Kennedy relatives. The Lawfords genuinely liked Marilyn and often invited Marilyn over to their home for dinners and pool parties whenever she was in Los Angeles. Usually if the Kennedy brothers were present, Marilyn made it a point to attend. Most of her trysts with the President took place at the Lawfords or in her Brentwood home. Robert Kennedy was rumored to have visited Marilyn at her home on a number of occasions although it is disputed as to whether or not the two had a sexual affair. A friend of Marilyn’s named Jeanne Carmen stated “Marilyn loved Bobby” and not JFK. Carmen stated it was Bobby’s boyish charm and good looks that endeared him to Marilyn
.Marilyn’s psychiatrist, Robert Greenson, visited her daily at the Brentwood house to counsel her and renew her medical prescriptions. Marilyn ended her life in her Brentwood home, alone except for the housekeeper who also lived in the residence. Marilyn’s bedroom was reported to look like that of a person with suicidal ideation: it resembled a hospital room and gave one the impression of a tomb. The room was sparsely decorated with only a double bed, white satin sheets, one small night stand littered with pill bottles, and a small lamp. There were no pictures on the white walls, no area rug, and the room had an overall “blankness” to it. There was one windows with iron bars over it, rather like a prison. Like her house, it certainly wasn’t the elaborate bedroom one would expect of a film star.
On the day of her death, two stuffed animals were photographed on her back lawn, a strange sight for a grown woman’s home (but appropriate for a little foster girl). By the time the house was sold again in 2010, impressive upgrades had been done to most of the rooms and the back yard. It sold for $3.6 million U.S., the going price for the tragic memories of a Hollywood icon.