Marilyn Monroe in California

Hollygrove Orphanage

Tripsavvy / Betsy Malloy 

Norma Jeane Baker spent 21 months at the Los Angeles Orphans Home Society in 1935-36. Her mother suffered a nervous breakdown, leaving young Norma in the care of a friend who ultimately couldn't afford to take care of her. The building still stands in Hollywood, although its exterior is much changed since she lived there.

No longer a residential care facility, the former orphanage is now named Hollygrove. It's at 815 N. El Centro Avenue. During her stay, the future Marilyn Monroe attended nearby Vine Street Elementary School at 955 North Vine Street.

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Avalon, Catalina Island 1943-1944

Marilyn Monroe's Catalina Island Home 1942-43
©2014 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Norma Jeane Baker married James Dougherty in 1942 at the age of 16. James joined the Merchant Marines in 1943 and went to Catalina Island for basic training. The Catalina Island Museum has some great pictures of her and hubby James.

Norma Jean lived on the island for about a year and a half. Shortly after that, a photographer discovered her, she divorced her husband and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn's little home is at 310 Metropole, which is a private residence.

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Handprints and Footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, 1953

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell at Grauman's Chinese Theater, 1953
Darlene Hammond / Getty Images

In 1953, Marilyn Monroe starred with Jane Russell in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. As is still common today, the film's stars made their imprint in the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and included the name of the film scrawled across their side-by-side prints.

A small plaque on the fountain beside the north wall quotes Marilyn 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 courtyard fountain are donated to Hollygrove.

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Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe's San Francisco Home, 1954

2150 Beach Street, Former Home of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
Adapted from Google Street View

On January 15, 1954, Marilyn Monroe (now age 27) married baseball player Joe DiMaggio (age 39) at San Francisco's City Hall. They lived for a time in this house in the Marina District. It's at 2150 Beach Street.

You can find an amusing account of the marriage, at the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco - near the bottom of the page - and it includes a photo of the newlyweds.

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Beverly Hills House, 1954

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's Honeymoon Home, Beverly Hills
©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Sadly, Monroe and DiMaggio's marriage was short-lived. They separated within a year. On October 6, 1954, Marilyn Monroe appeared with her lawyer in front of this house in Beverly Hills, where she and DiMaggio also lived to announce she was seeking a divorce. Headlines in the New York Daily News proclaimed: "Marilyn Splits With Joe Over Sexy Pictures."

Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller after divorcing DiMaggio, but that marriage was also short-lived. When she died, it was DiMaggio who made her funeral arrangements. He described Marilyn as a "warmhearted girl that those people in Hollywood took advantage of."

Their honeymoon house is at 508 N. Palm Drive in Beverly Hills.

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Some Like it Hot at the Hotel Del Coronado, 1959

Some Like it Hot at the Hotel Del Coronado
©2016 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

In Monroe's 1959 film Some Like it Hot, two out-of-work male musicians go on the run from the mob after witnessing the Valentine's Day Massacre. Co-stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon dress up in drag to join an all-girl orchestra on its way to Florida. Along the way, they meet ukelele-player Sugar Kane, played by Marilyn Monroe. Ostensibly set at the Seminole-Ritz Hotel in Florida, the beach resort scenes were actually filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado.

This modern photo of the hotel - which has changed little since the movie was shot - is merged with a drawing of Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon as a tip of the virtual hat to a scene from the film.

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Marilyn Monroe Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1960

Marilyn Monroe Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Marilyn Monroe was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, the same year she won a Golden Globe for her performance in Some Like It Hot.

The Marilyn Monroe star is at 6901 Hollywood Boulevard, just south of Highland on the same side of the street as Ripley's Believe It or Not. In the random placement of the stars, she's between Arsenio Hall and Arnold Schwarzenegger.​​​

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The Only Home Marilyn Monroe Owned, 1962

2305 5th Helena Drive, Marilyn Monroe's Last Home
From Google Maps

The only house Marilyn Monroe ever owned was a four-bedroom, three-bath house in the Brentwood neighborhood, with 2,624 square feet of living space on a 23,200 square-foot lot. The property also has a swimming pool, courtyard, and citrus grove.

Sadly, Monroe died just six months after moving in on August 15, 1962, when she was found dead in her bedroom. Much has been written about the event, summarized by the Los Angeles Times.

This is an aerial a photo for two reasons. Given the ardent nature of Marilyn Monroe's fans, it's no wonder the owners put up a big wall that blocks any view of the house. However, you can see some photos of it on the Zillow website, where you can also find out how much it's worth today. You can also get a rare peek inside at Variety magazine.

In an odd bit of layout and street-naming, city planners created a gaggle of little streets branching off Carmelina in this area, all of them named Helena Drive with a sequential number: 1st Helena Drive, 2nd Helena Drive and so on. It's an odd way to do things that confuses many mapping systems. Between Sunset Boulevard on the north and San Vicente on the south, 18 of these little streets branch off from Carmelina. They're less than a block long and are basically long driveways between two houses facing Carmelina leading to two more behind them.

Monroe's house was at the end of 5th Helena Drive. The official address is 12305 5th Helena Drive, but your mapping system may have an easier time finding 333 Carmelina Avenue, which is at the end of 5th Helena Drive.

The Brentwood house was the only one Marilyn Monroe ever owned. During her career, she lived in many rented residences in and around Los Angeles. Among them are the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (7028 Hollywood Boulevard), the Studio Club (1215 Lodi Street), Doheny Apartments (882 N. Doheny Drive), and 935 Palm Drive, Beverly Hills (DiMaggio honeymoon house).

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Marilyn Monroe's Last Resting Place, 1962

Marilyn Monroe's Crypt
©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Marilyn Monroe was laid to rest in a small cemetery on Los Angeles' westside, so out of the way that it's still a bit hard to find. If you visit, you're likely to find a few other folks there, on the same kind of a quest you're on. Besides Marilyn, other celebrities interred here include Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Merv Griffin, Truman Capote, and Farrah Fawcett.

The story of the crypt just above Marilyn Monroe's is as over-the-top as it gets. It begins during her divorce from Joe DiMaggio in 1954, when he sold their two crypts at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park to entrepreneur Richard Poncher. According to the LA Times, Poncher told his wife: "If I croak, if you don't put me upside down over Marilyn, I'll haunt you the rest of my life." Widow Elsie complied, and Poncher's dream came true — until 2009 when she said she needed money to pay off her mortgage and sold Poncher's last resting place on eBay, reportedly for $4.6 million,

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park is at 1218 Glendon Avenue in the Westwood area, just south of Wilshire Boulevard near Interstate Highway 405. From the street, the entrance appears to be a driveway between the tall building on the corner and the parking garage.

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Marilyn Monroe in Los Angeles and Southern California

Posing with Marilyn Monroe at Madame Tussaud's
©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Marilyn Monroe in Hollywood

This recreation of Marilyn Monroe's handprint ceremony is just next door to Grauman's in front of Madame Tussaud's wax museum, and they'll take your photo with it - or just do it yourself.

In the same area are plenty of ways to see and be photographed with Marilyn and, you'll find her plastered on every souvenir imaginable along Hollywood Boulevard.

  • Handprints at Grauman's and Walk of Fame star in front of McDonald's restaurant in the 6700 block of Hollywood Blvd.
  • Look up at the northwest corner of Hollywood and Highland, and you'll see her portrayed with film star James Dean, just above a neon sign that proclaims: "Gifts & Souvenirs - 1/2 Hour Photo."
  • Down the block, a life-sized bronze statue of Marilyn Monroe in that famous dress stands outside the Hollywood Museum and inside they have a Marilyn Monroe Collection.
  • Often, a celebrity impersonator dressed up like Marilyn works along Hollywood Boulevard, ready to pose for a small tip.

More Marilyn Monroe Sites in Los Angeles and Southern California

Other Marilyn Monroe locations besides those mentioned above include:

  • Los Angeles General Hospital, 1100 Mission Road: Born June 1, 1926
  • Vine Street School, 955 N. Vine Street, Hollywood: Attended while she lived at Hollygrove
  • Van Nuys High School, 6535 Cedros Avenue, Van Nuys: Attended in 1941
  • University High School, 11800 Texas Avenue, West Los Angeles: Attended in 1942 before dropping out to get married
  • Villa Nova Restaurant, 9015 W. Sunset Boulevard: First date with Joe DiMaggio (now the Rainbow Bar and Grill)
  • 20th Century Fox Pico Studios, 10100 Pico Boulevard, Century City: Many of her films were made here
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Marilyn Monroe in San Francisco and Northern California

Marilyn Monroe Souvenir
©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Marilyn Monroe in San Francisco

Much of the time Marilyn Monroe spent in San Francisco was during her relationship with Joe DiMaggio, a San Francisco native. Although some misinformed local tour guides will try to tell you the couple was married at Saints Peter and Paul Church in North Beach, the ceremony, in fact, took place at City Hall.

You'll find a wax figure of Marilyn Monroe on Fisherman's Wharf at the Wax Museum.

More Marilyn Monroe Sites in San Francisco and Northern California

  • Castroville: The budding star was named Artichoke Queen in 1947, but nothing in the town commemorates the event.
  • Salinas: Murals by local artist John Cerney feature Monroe as the Artichoke Queen of 1947 at the National Steinbeck Center.
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