‘Forever Marilyn’ Will Return to Palm Springs

Plans to bring Seward Johnson’s giant sculpture, ‘Forever Marilyn’, to Palm Springs are now in motion, the Desert Sun reports.

“‘Forever Marilyn,’ the popular 26-foot-tall statue of actress Marilyn Monroe that was on display in downtown Palm Springs from 2012 to 2014, will return to the city permanently, Mayor Robert Moon and Councilman J.R. Roberts said Wednesday. The city has not officially announced Marilyn’s return and has not finalized details on when it expects the statue back and where it may go, but Roberts said both a new downtown park and Town and Country Center were options.

‘Marilyn has become somewhat of an icon for Palm Springs and some love her and some not so much, but at the end of the day she’s become part of our brand,’ Roberts said. ‘And she was discovered here poolside in Palm Springs,’ he added, referring to a legend that she was first scouted by a talent agent in 1949 at Charles Farrell’s Racquet Club compound.

The statue, created by Seward Johnson, first came to Palm Springs as part of a loan arranged by the Sculpture Foundation, an organization the artist founded to promote public art and sculpture. In 2014, the 16.5-ton stainless steel and aluminum sculpture that depicts the screen legend from a scene in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch, was shipped to New Jersey for a retrospective on the artist’s work. It was later exhibited in Connecticut and the Australian city of Bendigo.

Since ‘Forever Marilyn’ left, PS Resorts, a nonprofit group that aims to boost tourism in Palm Springs, has been working to bring the Instagrammable icon back to downtown. City Manager David Ready couldn’t confirm exact details about the statue’s cost, but said it was estimated to be more than $1 million. Moon said the city is ‘not putting any funds’ into the acquisition of the statue.

Moon said he knew the idea to locate the state in the center of Town and Country would be controversial. ‘Some people are going to love it and some people are going to hate it,’ he said in his State of the City Speech, noting the statue would be several feet higher than the Town and Country roofline.

Since the statue left Palm Springs, various plans have been discussed to bring it back and install it at a temporary location; one proposal would have seen the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians host it at the tribe’s casino at Calle Encilia and Andreas Road. That plan never came to fruition. Another plan is to locate the returning Marilyn in a new downtown park envisioned for a plot across from the Palm Springs Art Museum. The park has been in the works for years but has yet to come to fruition.”