"Forever Marilyn" says goodbye to Palm Springs

Statue is set to leave the city early next month for New Jersey display

Tribute to 'Forever Marilyn'

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A farewell party happened Thursday night in Palm Springs for the ``Forever Marilyn'' statue -- a fixture downtown for almost two years.

Check out our viewer photos below!

The send-off for the Marilyn Monroe sculpture took place from  6 to 8 p.m. during the weekly VillageFest at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way.

A giant goodbye card to sign, cupcakes and music from Monroe films were provided. The Desert Winds Freedom Band and the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus supplied the music, and Carol Channing -- the original Lorelei Lee in the Broadway production of ``Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'' -- attended, according to P.S. Resorts, a nonprofit started by local hoteliers to promote Palm Springs tourism.

People who have taken photos with ``Forever Marilyn'' can contribute to a photo album of the sculpture's stay Palm Springs by posting photos on social media using hashtags #ps4evermarilyn or #psiloveyou. The sculpture's Facebook page is www.facebook.com/PalmSpringsForeverMarilyn, Instagram name PS4everMarilyn, and Twitter handle @ps4everMarilyn.

The sculpture was slated to stay in Palm Springs from May 2012 through June 2013, but its owner, Santa Monica-based Sculpture Foundation, granted a few extensions, and it will be in Palm Springs through the end of March, according to P.S. Resorts.

The sculpture will be taken to Hamilton, N.J., for an exhibition and gala honoring its creator, Seward Johnson, at a sculpture park called Grounds For Sculpture, according to P.S. Resorts.

The sculpture is based on a photograph by Bruno Bernard taken during the 1955 filming of ``The Seven Year Itch.''

The 26-foot-high, 34,300-pound painted metal statue was unveiled in July 2011 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, shipped in pieces to Palm Springs in May 2012 and reassembled a week later. P.S. Resorts and local donors, restaurant owners, hoteliers and merchants helped pay the $78,000 installation cost.

According to P.S. Resorts, the Sculpture Foundation has received ``countless'' requests and invitations for ``Forever Marilyn,'' including from out of the country. The next stop after New Jersey has not been decided.

In Palm Springs, movie screenings, concerts, a Marilyn Monroe birthday celebration and a look-alike contest were held at the statue.

Monroe supposedly was discovered in Palm Springs at Charlie Farrell's Racquet Club by talent agent Johnny Hyde in 1949. She spent time in Palm Springs in the 1950s with her then-husband, Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, and eventually owned a home in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in the early 1960s.

Viewer photos of 'Forever Marilyn'

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