Cursum Perficio: Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood Hacienda

This is a very unusual Marilyn book. It features artistic representations of what the inside of her home looked like. Includes, floor plans and furniture. I enjoyed reading it because this is information you will not find anywhere else and Marilyn in 1962 fascinates me.

Note: all photos inside are black and white.

Author Gary Vitacco-Robles
Publisher Writers Club Press
Cover Type Hardcover
Dimensions 6.25 x 9.5 inches
Publish Date 1999
ISBN 0-595-74980-1
Signed Yes - Personalized
Number of Pages 256


The first thing to get out of the way is the question some of you might have, namely what the heck is Cursum Perficio? The Latin phrase appears on a group of four tiles forming a coat of arms at Marilynís front door. The loose translation comes to ìEnd of My Journey.î Although the original owners of the home obviously meant the phrase to mean that they have found their small haven at the end of a long journey, a cozy place of respite, after Marilynís death the tiles took on a more prophetic feel. It is a fitting title for a book focused on nearly everything having to do with Marilynís last home, the only house she owned in her lifetime.

 The book is lushly illustrated with drawings and photos, (among the illustrators is one Eric Monroe Woodard -- sound familiar?), floor plans, layouts of the home and property as well as the furnishings. Items that had appeared in the Christieís auction return to their natural setting, arranged as Marilyn had placed them while decorating and planning her small nest in the Brentwood neighborhood.

 But thereís a lot more here than just ìand this is where she had her coffee table.î Following Marilynís last year from her return to Los Angeles, her initial sessions with Dr. Greenson and her introduction to Eunice Murray, the reader is allowed to follow Marilyn through her final months from house searching through the purchase of 12305 5th Helena, through her trip to Mexico and the furniture buying spree to the careful placing of each object and Marilynís overall decorating plans for the home.

 It doesnít end there -- the book also covers such items as Marilynís daily schedule before and after the Somethingís Got To Give filming, where she shopped, what her daily routine was while renegotiating her contract. We see Joe DiMaggio reenter her life, her friendships with the Rat Packers, her plans for upcoming projects such as the filming of ìI Love Louisaî, (later made as What A Way To Go! with Shirley MacLaine), and the coming together of her final photo sessions with Stern and Barris as well as her last interview with LIFE magazine writer Richard Meryman.

 Although Vitacco-Robles covers Marilynís passing, there is no investigation or speculation here. And thatís as it should be. The book is about Marilynís last months of life, the planning and decorating of her home, her plans for the future. And that is what should appeal most to those interested in Marilynís final abode.

 Never made it to California but really, really want to go? Walked that short distance of 5th Helena but have only peeked your head up over the gate? Most of all, have you ever wished you could walk up to those gates, shout out ìHey Marilyn!î and wait as the gates slowly move back and there she is in her Jax slacks and her Puci blouse, waving from the door? Thatís what Cursum Perficio gives you-- a chance to walk across the brick courtyard while Marilyn stands there smiling in the doorway. ìCome on in,î she says. ìLet me show you around.î