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Events mark 86th birthday of Marilyn Monroe

From Palm Springs to Hollywood, fans still remember

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Palm Springs Walk of Stars will rededicate Marilyn Monroe's star today, which would have been her 86th birthday.

The city last month erected "Forever Marilyn," a 26-foot-tall statue of the late icon, and, for Friday's star re-dedication, Manhattan in the Desert deli and bakery will provide a birthday cake big enough to serve 250 to 300 people, walk organizers said.

Actress and comedian Carol Channing is scheduled to speak. Bobbie Eakes of "All My Children" and Kathy Brier and Kassie DePaiva of "One Life to Live," who are in town for a benefit performance at the Palm Canyon Theatre on Saturday, will sing "Happy Birthday," organizers said.

Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson Baker on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles. Legend has it that she was "discovered" in Palm Springs at age 22, when she was spotted at Charlie Farrell's Racquet Club by talent agent Johnny Hyde in 1949.

Some of the best-known photos of Monroe were taken at the club by Hollywood photographer Bruno Bernard. She is believed to have often visited baseball star Joe DiMaggio -- later her husband -- at his estate in Palm Springs in the 1950s. By the early 1960s, Monroe owned a bungalow-style home in the Las Palmas area.

"We are proud to honor Marilyn Monroe on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars," said Robert Alexander, the walk's president.

In Hollywood, the iconic actress will be remembered with both a film festival at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and a new exhibit at the Hollywood Museum, which  promises the largest display of authentic Marilyn memorabilia in the world.

"Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit" will be on display at the Hollywood Museum on Highland Avenue south of Hollywood Boulevard until Sept. 2. The exhibit also  commemorates the 50th anniversary of the actress' death on Aug. 5, 1962.

"Fans of all ages flock to Hollywood from around the world each year to honor Marilyn's life and memory," said Donelle Dadigan, the museum founder and president. "The Hollywood Museum is proud to host this definitive and meaningful Marilyn retrospective."

According to the museum, the exhibit will be highlighted by never-before-seen pictures taken by George Barris, the last photographer to have a session with the icon.

The exhibit also includes the million-dollar dress Monroe wore on her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio and during USO shows in Korea, film costumes from "The Prince and the Showgirl" and "There's No Business Like Show Business," clothing from her personal wardrobe, private documents, cosmetics and annotated film scripts.

Meanwhile, Grauman's Chinese Theatre will play host to a weeklong film festival beginning Friday night with a screening of "Some Like It Hot." The opening night of the festival, co-sponsored Playboy magazine, will also feature a Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest.

Other films being screened during the festival include "How to Marry a Millionaire," "The Seven Year Itch," "The Misfits" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

The 50th anniversary of her death is Aug. 5.

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