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Palm Springs prepares for possible return of ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture

Palm Springs is set to take the next steps to secure the return of the popular "Forever Marilyn" sculpture.

The 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound sculpture of Marilyn Monroe that stood in the middle of downtown Palm Springs from May 2012 to March 2014.

The Palm Springs City Council is set to possibly authorize a new location for the sculpture during the Nov. 12 meeting. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

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PS Resorts, a city tourism organization, has requested the sculpture be placed within Museum Way between Museum Drive and Belardo Road adjacent to the Downtown Park.

"This location has superb visibility from Palm Canyon Drive. Additionally, the site will make the popular Forever Marilyn statue a viable contribution toward establishing Museum Way as a visitor and pedestrian-friendly Downtown 'Art Walk,'" reads a letter signed by PS Resorts representatives addressed to the city council.

Possible locations the council will consider include:

  • A location within the Downtown Park (City documents identify this as not a lot of visibility & a possible safety hazard)
  • The southwest corner of Belardo Road and Museum Way (City docs identifies this as a possible safety hazard for people wanting photos)
  • Frances Stevens Park (City docs point that this could block mountain background for photos)
  • On Museum Way adjacent to the Downtown Park (This is the location PS Resorts would prefer)

PS Resort is still negotiating with the Forever Mariyln's owner to either buy or lease the culture. City documents show that the organization is looking for direction from the city council on their request to place the sculpture on Museum Way before moving forward with the deal.

Click here to read the agenda item on the item

According to PS Resort's letter, the organization has negotiated a price of $1 million for an outright purchase. At this time, it appears the deal may be for PS Resorts to lease the sculpture for two years with the option to later buy it.

"The outright purchase is the most favorable choice for PS Resorts and the City of Palm Springs," reads PS Resort's letter to the council.

Stay with News Channel 3 as we bring you continuing updates on the council's decision and the future of "Forever Marilyn."

On top of being one of the most iconic entertainers of all time, Marilyn Monroe has a significant tie to Palm Springs.

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.

"... 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," said Seward Johnson, the sculptor of "Forever Marilyn."

The sculpture proved very popular for tourists and residents in Palm Springs. "Forever Marilyn" 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 then-Palm Springs Councilmember J.R. Roberts in 2019. "People come back to Palm Springs and look around and say, ‘Where’s Marilyn?'"

Since her move from Palm Springs, the sculpture has been on display in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Australia.

PS Resorts has been working to bring Marilyn back to Palm Springs for several years but made significant progress in 2019. The city announced Marilyn's return in Sept. 2019, even planning a February 2020 installation but that never materialized.

Jesus Reyes

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