John Seward Johnson, the sculptor who created a 50 ft. likeness of Marilyn, has died aged 89, the Desert Sun reports. The artist, whose grandfather founded the Johnson & Johnson empire, began a highly successful career in sculpture in 1980. ‘Forever Marilyn’ was first unveiled in Chicago in 2011; after touring the U.S. and Australia, it is set to return to Palm Springs later this year (and a number of smaller replicas are also on display across America.)
From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to a humble English pub, the craze for stealing Marilyn sculptures (and sometimes murals) continues apace. The latest victim was snatched from outside The Anchor in Darwen, as Amy Farnworth reports for the Lancashire Telegraph. So do thieves really prefer blondes?
“Staff had bolted Marilyn to one of their coloured benches around two weeks ago as part of Thwaites’ Pubs in Bloom competition, in which pub bosses had also adorned the outside of the building with flowers.
But in the early hours of Tuesday morning, brazen thieves had obviously fancied themselves some ‘Monkey Business’, and nicked the beloved statue.
Landlord Lance Montgomery, who bought the blonde bombshell from eBay for a party around two years ago, said his customers loved taking selfies with Marilyn.
She even held punters’ pints for them when she lived in the pool room.
Mr Montgomery, who has run the Bolton Road pub with his wife, Melissa, for seven years, without an ‘itch’, said: ‘This is the first time anything’s been stolen from the front of the pub.’
Mr Montgomery said the whole thing was captured on CCTV, which has now been handed to the police to assist them with their investigations.
‘I always try and do things a bit controversial with the pub and the customers love it, so this isn’t going to stop me in the future, but we just want Marilyn back.’
Anyone with any information about Marilyn’s whereabouts should contact the police on 101 quoting log 0089 of July 30.”
When it comes to public art, it seems that some folks just can’t keep their hands off Marilyn. This isn’t the first theft – in the past few years, we’ve reported stolen statues in Auckland, New Zealand; Devizes, UK; a Warhol screenprint in Staten Island, NY; and a mural in Victoria, Canada – and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s surely the most egregious yet. Created by Catherine Hardwicke and unveiled in 1994, the ‘Four Ladies of Hollywood‘ is a gazebo entry to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, upheld by four movie queens of multi-ethnicity (Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge, Anna May Wong and Dolores Del Rio), and topped by a gilded, miniature Marilyn ‘weathervane’ with her skirt blowing, à la Seven Year Itch.
Whether this heinous act of vandalism was perpetrated by a misguided fan or professional art thief, I urge them to return it immediately. Marilyn’s image is synonymous with Hollywood history and however much some individuals may want to have a piece of her, this work of art belongs to all of us. You can watch a TV news report here.
“LAPD detectives, including a forensics expert, and the Los Angeles Fire Department arrived at the scene at the Hollywood and La Brea Gateway to assist LAPD with the investigation … A ladder was hoisted up above to allow the forensic scientist to climb to the top of the crime scene.
‘I am calling this the great Marilyn caper of 2019,’ said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. ‘We have a witness who saw someone climb this structure and saw off the statue at the top and it’s a Marilyn Monroe image.’
‘It’s not okay to come and vandalize public art,’ O’Farrell said.
LAPD Hollywood division detective Douglas Oldfield said forensics already found some evidence in the case.
‘We got a few prints with our experts up there,’ said LAPD detective Douglas Oldfield. ‘We noticed the suspect used the Ws as footing. It [the sculpture] means something to the community and we’re going to investigate this to the best of our ability.'”NBC Los Angeles
This 8-metre sculpture of Marilyn surrounded by a Christmas wreath at a shopping mall in Dalian City, China is pictured among the Photos of the Day in The Guardian.
A large sculpture of Marilyn, currently on display outside the Cairo Opera House, has stirred up controversy, reports Egypt Independent. Recreating the famous ‘subway scene’ from The Seven Year Itch, Ehab al-Asyuti’s sculpture seems derivative of Seward Johnson’s ‘Forever Marilyn’, and some observers have deemed her likeness less than flattering. But while she probably won’t be replacing the Sphinx anytime soon, Marilyn has made quite the comeback – her films were banned in Egypt after she married Arthur Miller and converted to Judaism in 1956.
This ‘snow sculpture’ depicting Marilyn’s ubiquitous ‘skirt-blowing’ pose from The Seven Year Itch can be found at Central Street in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province. It is one of 45 sculptures displayed on the street as part of the 3-month long, 28th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival.