'Forever Marilyn' extending stay in Palm Springs

Sculpture of Marilyn Monroe set to stay on display in downtown Palm Springs until September

POSTED: 02:35 PM PDT Apr 25, 2013    UPDATED: 02:35 PM PDT Apr 25, 2013 

The 26-foot-tall sculpture of film legend Marilyn Monroe will stay in downtown Palm Springs through the summer, three months longer than planned, it was announced today.

Sculptor Seward Johnson's "Forever Marilyn" was installed by crane at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way last May after a weeklong trip from its previous home in Chicago. The 34,300-pound statue was shipped in pieces and reassembled.

The sculpture was scheduled to remain in Palm Springs through June, but an arrangement made with the sculpture's owner will allow it to stay in Palm Springs until early September, according to P.S. Resorts, which organized and helped fund the installation of "Forever Marilyn."

"We are thrilled to have Forever Marilyn with us all summer long," said Aftab Dada, chairman of P.S. Resorts. "The sculpture has attracted thousands of visitors from around the world to Palm Springs and has generated global publicity. We will be creating additional events in the Forever Marilyn park this summer to bring even more people and attention to downtown."

Last year, some of Monroe's films were shown outdoors at the sculpture, and a concert by Elton John impersonator Jeffery Allen commemorated the 50th anniversary her death in August, according to P.S. Resorts.

Monroe reportedly 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 Fame member Joe DiMaggio, and eventually owned a home in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in the early 1960s, according to P.S. Resorts.

"Forever Marilyn" is part of Johnson's "Icons Revisited" series and is made of bronze and stainless steel. The sculpture is based on a photograph by Bruno Bernard taken during the 1955 filming of "The Seven Year Itch." The sculpture was unveiled in July 2011 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

P.S. Resorts and local donors, restaurant owners, hoteliers and merchants helped pay the $78,000 installation cost.

"Forever Marilyn" is owned by the Santa Monica-based Sculpture Foundation, which works to provide exhibitions and public art in a variety of settings.

"Forever Marilyn" has a Facebook page and Twitter handle, PS4everMarilyn.