“When I was five, I think, that’s when I started wanting to be an actress. I loved to play. I didn’t like the world around me because it was kind of grim, but I loved to play… It was like you could make your own boundaries…”
– Marilyn Monroe
Many will remember Marilyn Monroe for classic films like ‘Some Like it Hot’ or, more likely, ‘The Seven Year Itch’, which included that iconic moment when she pins her fluttering white dress down against an updraft from a subway grate. On-screen she was the ditsy blonde damsel, fulfilling her cookie-cut role as a stunning pin-up and unsuspecting good girl. In real life, however, although obviously still both blonde and beautiful, she possessed a much sharper edge. She became the beauty with the silver tongue, exuding pithy wit and charm in abundance. In fact she also married the playwright and essayist Arthur Miller, famous for his authentic depiction of downtrodden life hidden under the urban sprawl of big American cities.
What many don’t know about Marilyn Monroe though, is that she was very much alone for the first part of her life. Although not literally orphaned, she did suffer the desolation of having an absent father and a schizophrenic mother. Perhaps due, in part, to this unusual start in life she became a very untethered and nomadic individual, dividing her hurtling rise as a movie star between as many as 43 different homes.
In this article, the first installment of our new ‘Hollywood Pads and Jewels’ feature, we’ve chosen our favourite of Monroe’s homes from that rather plentiful selection. As you’ll see above it’s a 1929 hacienda style villa with a red-tiled roof baked by the beating sunshine of Brentwood, California. After she was compelled by her psychologist to find her roots, Monroe escaped to this little hidden gem, relishing the elegant swimming pool and garden, which was an ideal roaming ground for her fluffy white poodle. She also spoke of how much she enjoyed the peace and privacy that such a secluded location afforded her, nestled at the end of a cul de sac on 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, hidden behind tall, iron-wrought gates and walls of fecund foliage. In total this understated house has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and around 2,624 square-feet – plenty of space for even the most adventurous poodle. The interior was crowded with decorations collected during Monroe’s time in Mexico and also featured treated wooden beams and walls with in-built white shelving, cluttered with careworn books. That’s not even to mention the relatively cool cost of $90,000, although, that being said, it was recently sold for $3.85 million in 2010.
As for jewellery, this quintessential blonde bombshell was suitably spoiled by her trinity of dapper husbands. Take this pair of Rhinestone and Diamond Dangle Earrings (pictured left), for example. These Art Deco statement pieces turned a few heads at the Hollywood premiere of the ‘The Rose Tattoo’ in 1955, when Monroe wore them alongside the acting juggernaut Marlon Brando, with a black silk jersey cocktail dress. They were recently sold at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and fetched around $185,000.
Finally, this Diamond and Platinum Eternity Wedding Ring (pictured right) was given to Monroe by baseball superstar Joe DiMaggio. Another stunning Art Deco piece, it features a ring of 35 baguette-cut Diamonds, beautified by an effortless vintage design.
So, what did you think of our first ‘Hollywood Pads & Jewels’? Could you see yourself living in Monroe’s Californian refuge or wearing her statement diamonds? Let us know in the comments section below…