The iconic “Forever Marilyn” sculpture will officially be making its return to Palm Springs in February 2020, PS Resorts and Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc confirmed Monday.
Officials are planning to install the 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound sculpture of Marilyn Monroe in the entry courtyard of the historic Town and Country Center, pending approval of all respective parties.
Council members had proposed the new downtown park as a possible home for Marilyn, but Mayor Robert Moon did mention during his State of the City presentation that the Town and Country Center was another possible location.
“Some people are going to love it, some people are gonna hate it,” Moon said.
Although an agreement has been reached to bring Marilyn back permanently to Palm Springs, contracts are still being negotiated.
The price of the sculpture has not been released, but the statue could end up costing more than $1 million. PS Resorts, a nonprofit tourism organization, has been working on raising the money for the project. Moon has said in his State of the City speech that the sculpture will be purchased with private funds and that no city funds will be used.
“As in the past, the Board of PS Resorts is thrilled to have Marilyn back on a permanent basis. Marilyn will once again prove to be a huge economic driver and a benefit to our Downtown,” said Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts.
Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc, owners of the sculpture, say Marilyn will travel across the country in an open flatbed truck from the artist’s East Coast studio. When it arrives in Palm Springs, there will be a crane-lift process. Celebrations for Marilyn’s arrival haven’t been planned at this time.
“Forever Marilyn” called downtown Palm Springs home from May 2012 to March 2014. Marilyn proved to be a very popular attraction destination for tourists and residents. The statute was the site of look-alike contests, movie screenings, concerts, weddings, and a Marilyn Monroe birthday celebration.
“She’s part of our brand now, and she wasn’t here that long, but now people expect to see her,” said Palm Springs Councilmember J.R. Roberts. “People come back to Palm Springs and look around and say, ‘Where’s Marilyn?'”
The sculpture is based on the iconic photo of Marilyn by Bruno Bernard taken during the 1955 filming of “The Seven Year Itch.”
Monroe has quite a legendary history with the city.
She was supposedly discovered in Palm Springs at Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club on 2743 N. Indian Canyon Drive by talent agent Johnny Hyde in 1949. In the 1950s, she spent time in Palm Springs with her then-husband, Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. In the early 1960s, she owned a home in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood.
Seward Johnson, the sculptor of “Forever Marilyn,” says he is happy with Marilyn’s latest move.
“I am so very pleased that Marilyn will be permanently on view in Palm Springs. It was, after all, a location of her own choosing, and I assume that she was drawn to the beauty and stillness of the landscape. There is something about her pose; the exuberance for life without inhibition, which is quintessentially American, and very fitting for Palm Springs. It expresses an uninhibited sense of our own vibrancy,” Johnson said.
PS Resorts noted that the success of bringing Marilyn back was thanks to the work of many key members of the Palm Springs political, tourist and cultural arenas, including Grit Development and the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation. The organization also thanked the residents who kept holding out hope for her return.
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