The Wrong-Door Raid ApartmentsFeb 25th, 2014 | By Lindsay | Category: Marilyn Monroe Locations
One of the most infamous (and humorous) scandals to ever rock Tinseltown involved my girl Miss Marilyn Monroe and her second ex-husband, legendary baseball player Joe DiMaggio. (Their relationship wasn’t always sunshine and roses.) Known as the Wrong-Door Raid, it occurred in the late night hours of November 5th, 1954, but did not become public knowledge until almost a year later. I stalked the apartment building where the raid took place – at 8122 Waring Avenue in West Hollywood – last summer, initially planning to blog about it as a Haunted Hollywood locale. As I got to researching the events of that evening, though, I realized they were far more comical than scary and decided to postpone the post until now.
After a scant 274 days of marriage, Joe and Marilyn divorced on October 27th, 1954. Convinced the starlet was finding solace in another man’s arms (namely her voice coach, Hal Schaefer), DiMaggio hired private detective Barney Ruditsky to tail her. On the night of November 5th, Ruditsky gave DiMaggio some news – Marilyn had just arrived at an apartment building on Waring Avenue in West Hollywood, quite possibly to meet up with a paramour. Joltin’ Joe was dining at the Villa Capri with close friend Frank Sinatra at the time and, hoping to catch Marilyn in the act, the two men rushed out of the restaurant and headed over to West Hollywood. (What they planned to do when they “caught” her is unclear.) On the sidewalk outside of the building, they met up with Ruditsky and a second private eye named Philip Irwin. Some other cohorts were also apparently on the scene, but reports vary as to who. Camera (as well as, supposedly, an ax) in hand, the men broke down the back door of one of the building’s ground floor units shortly after 11 p.m. and stormed inside. They did not find Marilyn, though. Instead, they surprised a spinster named Florence Kotz, who had been asleep in her bed. The group had somehow mistakenly entered the wrong apartment. Marilyn was in an upstairs unit with her friend Sheila Stewart (and quite possibly Schaefer as well, although that has not been proven) during the incident.
Florence immediately called the police, but the perpetrators had already run off, disappearing into the night. Not much was made of the events and the poor woman was left wondering why a group of strange men had broken down her door and taken a photograph of her in bed. Then in September 1955, Confidential magazine published an article telling the true story behind the raid. The sh*t quickly hit the proverbial fan. Frank was eventually served a subpoena on February 16th, 1957 at his Palm Springs home via two detectives who, in a karmic twist, knocked on his front door at 4 a.m., waking him up. Ironically, he filed a complaint. He later testified that he was a participant in the Wrong-Door Raid, but had never entered Florence’s apartment, choosing instead to stay behind in the car. His version of events was largely disputed, though. No one was ever prosecuted for the crime, but Florence did sue the group for $200,000, eventually settling for $7,500.
All I can think when reading about the events of the Wrong-Door Raid night is, ‘What a bunch of morons!’ Love makes people do crazy, ridiculous things, I guess. As Amanda Peet said in fave movie A Lot Like Love, “If you’re not willing to sound [or act, in this case] stupid, you don’t deserve to be in love.”
Years later, Schaefer came forward and “confessed” that he had been with Marilyn in Sheila’s apartment that night. I tend not to believe him, though. While he might well have been in Sheila’s home, I highly doubt it was because Monroe had any romantic interest in him. The guy seems like a total creeper – especially in the video below when describing the events that took place in the hospital with Marilyn following his suicide attempt.
There are several differing reports as to which unit DiMaggio and Sinatra actually broke into and which unit Marilyn was actually in during the raid, but according to the book Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites, written by fellow stalker E.J. of The Movieland Directory, Florence’s apartment was the one located at 754 North Kilkea Drive.
And Sheila’s apartment was the one at 8122 Waring Avenue.
For more stalking fun, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Los Angeles magazine online. And you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Wrong-Door Raid apartments are located at 8120/8122 Waring Avenue/754 N. Kilkea Drive in West Hollywood.