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Palm Springs City Council approves location for ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture

Palm Springs took the next steps towards finally bringing back the popular sculpture of Marilyn Monroe to the city.

Marilyn stood in downtown Palm Springs from 2012-2014

The Palm Springs City Council unanimously approved a three-year agreement to place the 'Forever Marilyn' sculpture at Museum Way in the downtown area.

The agreement does come with a review after a year to see how the sculpture is being received in that area.

This would allow the city to determine if they need to move 'Forever Marilyn' to another location in the city. Some councilmembers mentioned they preferred placing Marilyn at Frances Stevens Park, but respected PS Resorts request to place the sculpture at Museum Way

"This is a trial and we'll see how it works out," said Councilmember Lisa Middleton.

The 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound sculpture of Marilyn Monroe stood in the middle of downtown Palm Springs from May 2012 to March 2014. The sculpture brought worldwide attention to the city and many people have been wondering when Marilyn would return to the city where she was possibly first discovered.

The move to bring Marilyn back still isn't done yet, however. PS Resorts, a city tourism organization, still needs to finalize the deal with the sculpture's owner.

According to a letter by PS Resorts to the city council, the organization has negotiated a price of $1 million for an outright purchase. There is also the possibility that they simply lease the sculpture.

"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.

During Thursday's meeting, the council also directed Palm Springs City Manager David Ready to negotiate with PS Resorts about the future of the statue. 

Stay with News Channel 3 as we bring you continuing updates on the future of "Forever Marilyn."

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.

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