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In the footsteps of the legend

Marilyn Monroe

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We cannot ignore it. Almost 60 years after her mysterious death, Marilyn Monroe is still the Hollywood icon of our time. You can't pass a corner on the streets of Beverly Hills or Los Angeles without seeing her amazingly charismatic appearance emerge.

Her story has been told so many times. We will not tell it all over again. Fascinated by her interesting but also hard life, we followed Marilyn's trail in Los Angeles. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as the icon of this era in her favorite places in this vibrant magical city.

HOLLYGROVE (FORMERLY LOS ANGELES ORPHAN HOME)

815 NORTH EL CENTRO AVE, LOS ANGELES

The orphanage (it was the first one in LA) where young Norma Jean lived from 1935 to 1937 is no longer a residential care facility, but the building where she spent part of her childhood remains. Her room had a window facing the water tower of RKO Studios (now Paramount Studios) where she would eventually become the star of the show.

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“I used to think as I looked at the Hollywood night, ‘There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.’”

HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL

7028 HOLLYWOOD BLVD, HOLLYWOOD

Oh, if these walls could talk. One of Hollywood’s most famous landmarks, the historic Hollywood Roosevelt is where Monroe posed for her very first commercial (most people think it was for suntan lotion but it was for toothpaste) on the pool’s diving board that no longer exists. In the mid-50s she regularly stayed in a suite above the pool area that is now the Tropicana Bar. It’s reported that Monroe loved the hotel so much her spirit lives here to this day. Whether or not that’s true, you can at least experience her presence by booking the Marilyn Suite (room 229).

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"If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never got anywhere."

THE CHARLIE HOTEL

819 NORTH SWEETZER AVE, WEST HOLLYWOOD

At one time or another, this enchanting English bungalow hideaway was the home of many famous tenants including Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. In 2008 the property was completely restored and it’s now where you can rent the same two-bedroom cottage where Monroe lived in the 1940s.

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"I restore myself when I'm alone."

GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATRE

6925 HOLLYWOOD BLVD, HOLLYWOOD

One of the most iconic moments in Hollywood happened on June 26, 1953. That’s when Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell put their handprints and autographs in the cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre for their movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” But what you might not know is that there’s a small plaque on the nearby fountain that quotes Monroe: “I used to go to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and try to fit my foot in a celebrity impression. It really meant to me that anything is possible … almost.” Coins collected from the fountain are donated to Hollygrove.

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"I don't want to make money. I just want to be wonderful."

AVALON HOTEL (FORMERLY BEVERLY CARLTON HOTEL)

9400 OLYMPIC BLVD, BEVERLY HILLS

This retro-chic boutique hotel was home to Marilyn Monroe during several periods of her life, starting in 1948 and then intermittently for about three years. She was photographed many times at the property, which, back then, was more of a residential apartment building that housed people in the industry including Mae West, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. By the summer of 1949 she had met Johnny Hyde, a talent agent at William Morris Agency. They moved into a rented house together in Beverly Hills, but she still kept her one-bedroom apartment at the hotel. The fantastic part about the Avalon is that the pool area and lobby look much like it did back in the day and the famed hourglass-shaped pool you see today is the same one she once splashed around for photo shoots.

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"I don't wan"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I'm out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you don't deserve me at my best."

BARNEY’S BEANERY

8447 SANTA MONICA BLVD, WEST HOLLYWOOD

This funky hangout is as popular today as it was when it first opened in 1920. Take a look at their humongous menu and not only will you find about a million different things to eat and drink, you’ll read stories of its most famous patrons, including Marilyn. She would make a point of coming here for the chili throughout the years and would often visit often during the filming of “Some Like It Hot.” (And apparently she did.)

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“Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.”

BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL

9641 WEST SUNSET BLVD, BEVERLY HILLS

Marilyn first lived at the Pink Palace in 1952 in a third-floor room and then off and on while filming different movies until 1960. Marilyn and her second husband Joe DiMaggio stayed at the hotel soon after they were married, in early 1954, while waiting for decorators to finish their home at 508 North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills. In 1960, during her last stay to film “Let’s Make Love,” Monroe and (her third and final) husband Arthur Miller lived in Bungalow 20 while her co-star Yves Montand and his wife stayed in the adjacent Bungalow 21. The two actors took the movie’s title quite literally and ended up carrying on an affair. The next year Monroe and Miller divorced.

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"The nicest thing for me is sleep, then at least I can dream"

BRISTOL FARMS (FORMERLY CHASEN’S)

9039 BEVERLY BOULEVARD, WEST HOLLYWOOD

Back in the heyday of Old Hollywood, there was no better place than Chasen’s to see and be seen. In a New York Times article, general manager Ronald Clint — who worked at the restaurant from 1954 until its closing day in 1995 — recalled that Marilyn Monroe was a regular. “Marilyn was a lovely girl. She was making a movie nearby — might have been her last. She would film all day and wear slacks on the way home. She would sneak in through a side door and eat in a corner booth because she wore slacks. Nowadays, she’d be considered dressed up.” Although the restaurant is long gone, you can still find the original booths, paneling and some vintage photos located near the market’s cafe. Who knows? You might end up seated on the very same booth that Monroe shared with Joe DiMaggio.

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 “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” 

FORMOSA CAFE

7156 SANTA MONICA BLVD, WEST HOLLYWOOD

Location, location, location. For all the glitz and glamour Marilyn exuded, many of the places she frequented weren’t exactly high end. Case in point: This legendary haunt that has seen just about every celebrity pass through its doors since 1925. And no, it’s not because the food is so great. It’s because of its location right next to a movie studio. It’s adjacent to a strip mall now, but back in 1958 while filming “Some Like It Hot,” Marilyn was a regular. Formosa Cafe had a major renovation and reopened in 2018. Now you can see her — along with generations of stars from Humphrey Bogart to James Dean — gracing the photographs that line the bar’s walls.

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"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

RAINBOW BAR & GRILL (FORMERLY VILLA NOVA)

9015 SUNSET BLVD, WEST HOLLYWOOD

Located adjacent to the Roxy Theatre on the legendary Sunset Strip, the Rainbow Bar & Grill has been a hangout for rock stars since the early 1970s, welcoming everyone from Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper to Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Guns N' Roses. Before it became the Rainbow, the space was home to an Italian restaurant called Villa Nova, which was owned by Vincente Minnelli while he was married to Judy Garland. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio went on a blind date at Villa Nova in 1952. It’s been over six decades since that night, and guests still request the “Marilyn booth.”

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HOTEL BEL-AIR, DORCHESER COLLECTION

701 STONE CANYON RD, LOS ANGELES

The legendary Hotel Bel-Air recently emerged from a two-year, multi-million dollar renovation that invites new generations of travelers to experience the style of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The hotel is designed in a Spanish mission style, and is nestled on 12 lush acres in the exclusive Bel-Air Estates. Marilyn Monroe lived at the Hotel Bel-Air during a decade-long period that included her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, as well as the filming of Some Like It Hot. 

The Hotel Bel-Air was the site for The Last Sitting, the famous photo shoot by photographer Bert Stern that was commissioned by Voguemagazine in June 1962, just six weeks before Monroe died. The shoot took place in a suite over three daily sessions. Stern first published The Last Sitting in 1982. The book included a large number of the over 2,500 images that Stern had shot, including contact sheets with images Monroe had disliked and crossed out.

“I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one.” 

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“I won’t be satisfied until people want to hear me sing without looking at me. Of course, that doesn’t mean I want them to stop looking.”

HOLLYWOOD MUSEUM

1660 N. HIGHLAND AVE , HOLLYWOOD

Dedicated to the history and heritage of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, the Hollywood Museum houses 10,000 show business treasures from over 100 years of Hollywood history - it’s one of the most extensive collections of Hollywood memorabilia in the world. The museum includes Max Factor’s world-famous make-up rooms, where Marilyn Monroe became a blonde and Lucille Ball became a redhead. The museum’s incomparable Marilyn Monroe collection includes everything from personal items and wardrobe to her limousine.

Marilyn Monroe’s million-dollar honeymoon dress is one of the most memorable items on display at the Hollywood Museum. Monroe wore it on her honeymoon when she married Joe DiMaggio, as well as when she entertained troops in Korea in 1954. She continued to wear it as her personal dress, making it a truly unique artifact compared to typical Hollywood wardrobe items.

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“Fame will go by and, so long, I’ve had you, Fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle.”

BRENTWOOD HOUSE

12305 5TH HELENA DR, LOS ANGELES

Try to spent some time in Marilyn Monroe's last neighborhood. The house has private owners today and is not allowed for public. U can walk to the gate of the entry and feel the vibes of the neighborhood . This house is one of the most mystery places in Hollywood that tells the tragical end of Marilyn Monroe. Here she died on age of 36 on August 4, 1962. Her death was ruled a probable suicide, although several conspiracy theories have been proposed in the decades following her death.

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“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up.”

WESTWOOD MEMORIAL CEMETERY

1218 GLENDON AVE, WESTWOOD

 

Marilyn Monroe died on August 4, 1962 at the age of 36. Although her death is still a subject of controversy (was it the mob? did she really overdose? was there a political cover-up?), there is no dispute that her bronze casket is interred in wall crypt 24 at the Corridor of Memories in the northeast corner of this somewhat hidden cemetery. She was buried in a green Pucci dress with a bouquet of pink roses from her former husband Joe DiMaggio. It was a short, tumultuous and peripatetic life she led, but Marilyn Monroe created a legacy that will live on forever.

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I don’t stop when I’m tired. I only stop when I’m done.

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Special thanks to

Marpop by Mar Yvette 
Discover Los Angeles by Daniel Djang