Marilyn has started making her highly anticipated return to Palm Springs!
Parts of the Forever Marilyn sculpture are starting to arrive in downtown Palm Springs ahead of its construction. The sculpture left New Jersey on two trucks on June 1.
Viewers sent in pictures of the sculpture's head and leg out near the site where it will soon stand. Forever Marilyn will be placed on Museum Way in downtown Palm Springs right behind the Kimpton Rowan Hotel.
The sculpture was originally set to be unveiled in April, however, a combination of factors delayed construction and the unveiling ceremony. One of the major roadblocks was a lawsuit filed by "the Committee to Relocate Marilyn," which led a judge to issue a temporary restraining order stopping construction.
A judge shot down the lawsuit later that month.
The Committee to Relocate Marilyn was very vocal about their displeasure of the sculpture's location, citing its affect on the mid-century modern architecture of Palm Springs and calling the sculpture "hyper-sexualized" & "misogynist." The organization even took part in a protest in late April over the location.
The 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound sculpture of Marilyn Monroe by Seward Johnson stood in the middle of downtown Palm Springs from May 2012 to March 2014. The sculpture attracted tourists from around the world and remains associated with the city of Palm Springs.
"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?'"
In November 2020, PS Resorts, a city tourism organization, began negotiations to either lease or purchase the sculpture and bring it back to the city. That same month, the Palm Springs City Council approved a three-year agreement to place the sculpture at Museum Way.
The agreement on the location also comes 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
In February 2021, PS Resorts, a city tourism organization, finished a $1 million deal to purchase "Forever Marilyn" and bring the sculpture back to Palm Springs. The sculpture was set to make the journey from New Jersey to Palm Springs earlier this year, and after the previously mentioned delays, Marilyn is back home where many say she was first discovered.
Marilyn 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," Johnson said.
Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts, told News Channel 3 that the sculpture will start being assembled Wednesday morning. As long as everything goes as planned, Marilyn will be fully assembled by June 17.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing coverage.