PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

A 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe will stay in downtown Palm Springs until March, it was announced today.

The Santa Monica-based Sculpture Foundation, which owns the ``Forever Marilyn'' statue, granted the extension. The sculpture had been slated to be moved from Palm Springs in mid-November, according to P.S. Resorts, a nonprofit started by local hoteliers to promote Palm Springs tourism.

``We're very pleased to have the sculpture in Palm Springs through the end of March 2014,'' said Aftab Dada, chairman of P.S. Resorts, which organized and helped fund the installation of ``Forever Marilyn.''

The sculpture, located on the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive, has drawn thousands of residents and visitors since its arrival in May 2012, according to the city and P.S. Resorts.

The statue was originally scheduled to remain in Palm Springs through June, then got an extension to September, then November.

Next year, the sculpture will be taken to Hamilton, N.J., for an exhibition and gala honoring 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 34,300-pound statue was unveiled in July 2011 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and was 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.

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

Dada said P.S. Resorts will plan more events at the sculpture. The statue has been the backdrop for a birthday party for Monroe featuring an Elton John tribute artist, screenings of Monroe's films and a Monroe look-alike contest. Same-sex marriages will be performed at the statue during the annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Celebration in November.