The former West Hollywood home of Marilyn’s close friend Anne Karger and her family is currently on the market for $2.49 million, Mansion Global reports. (Actress Portia de Rossi was a more recent occupant, before selling to the current owner in 2003.) Multiple news outlets have described it as Marilyn’s former penthouse where she lived after splitting from Joe DiMaggio in 1954, but this is incorrect.
Nonetheless, the condo at Granville Towers, on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights, does play a small but significant part in Monroe lore. Marilyn first befriended the Kargers when she dated Anne’s son, the musician Fred Karger, in 1948, and often visited them at home.
After her second marriage collapsed in October 1954, she did indeed stay with the Kargers. This was partly to avoid the press, but more importantly, to evade her studio bosses at Twentieth Century Fox. After completing The Seven Year Itch, she had refused her next picture (How to Be Very, Very Popular) and stayed with the Kargers through December, while plotting her escape from Hollywood. Fred’s sister, Mary Karger, would accompany her to New York.
Marilyn kept in touch with the Kargers long after her romance with Fred ended – especially with Anne, who became a mother figure to her. The Kargers were a true Hollywood clan. Maxwell Karger, Anne’s husband, was an important filmmaker in the silent era (he died in 1922), while Fred was a notable composer and arranger.
Marilyn often spoke of him as her first great love. While he would ultimately break her heart, Fred was a musical mentor to Marilyn (who at 22, was 10 years his junior) during filming of Ladies of the Chorus. He was divorced with a young daughter when they met, and later married actress Jane Wyman (twice) after her split from Ronald Reagan.
An article in the New York Post claims that this photo of Marilyn was taken in the Karger household. It dates back to March 3, 1956, when Marilyn held a press conference to discuss her upcoming movie, Bus Stop. However, the event is generally thought to have been held at her North Beverly Glen Boulevard residence.
After her divorce from Arthur Miller in 1961, Marilyn returned to Los Angeles, and was photographed visiting the Kargers in the last year of her life. We’re likely to hear more about the Kargers, as Terry Karger (Fred’s daughter) is releasing a memoir, My Maril, in 2022.
Thanks to Jackie at Marilyn Remembered