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Forever Marilyn in Palm Springs

The City of Palm Springs has added another great new attraction. As we approach the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death (August 5th), it’s possible that you’ll read or see a multitude of tributes about her life. However, you’ll probably find no bigger tribute, literally, than Forever Marilyn, an awe-inspiring 26-foot sculpture in Palm Springs, California.

Created by sculptor Seward Johnson, the dramatic sculpture is on loan until June 2013 from The Sculpture Foundation in Santa Monica, CA. During this time, the statue will grace downtown Palm Springs as it undergoes various revitalization projects to the tune of $100 million.

The sculpture is taken from the iconic photograph of her snapped by Bernard of Hollywood from the movie The Seven Year Itch. You know the pose: the white dress with the plunging neckline as she presses her hands down on the skirt flying up from a draft, all while she smiles, eyes closed, in uninhibited exuberance.

Marilyn will stand tall at the corner of what Palm Springs locals call “Main and Main,” Palm Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Way in downtown. She is linked to Palm Springs in a variety of ways. She was “discovered” there at Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club and later owned a 1950s bungalow in Las Palmas. There are also a myriad of rumors involving her and Joe DiMaggio spending time together in and around Palm Springs.

Sculpture Details and Dimensions

  • Material: Stainless steel and bronze
  • Height: 26 feet
  • Width: 17 feet
  • Depth: 18 feet
  • Weight: 34,300 lbs (just over 17 tons)

Marilyn is assembled in four sections plus the base. Her skin tone is nearly flawless and undeniably realistic, created in 10 layers of colors with a matte finish, save for the glossiness of her lips and toenails and the pearlized finish of her earrings.

Forever Marilyn belongs to a series called ICONS REVISITED, debuting in Chicago in July, 2011, before alighting in Palm Springs in May 2012. The sculpture has garnered attention, of course, from such American media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Internation media – including from places such as Canada, Germany, Finland, and the United Kingdom – have shown keen interest, as well.

Marilyn Monroe’s Life in Brief

Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson, and began her Hollywood career as a model before becoming an actress. She had minor appearances in two 1950 films, The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve, before securing her first leading role in Don’t Bother to Knock in 1952. She starred over the next several years in the melodramatic Niagara (1953) and comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire (both 1953), followed by The Seven Year Itch (1955). She later received awards and award nominations for her performances in The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) and Some Like It Hot (1959).

She was married three times, including to Hall of Famer baseball player DiMaggio and to writer Arthur Miller. The latter years of life were trouble-filled, as she struggled with illnesses, personal demons, and a growing reputation for being hard to work with. She died at age 36 in Los Angeles of what is officially listed as “probable suicide”, though there is plenty of conjecture about the exact cause. She is buried Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

For more information about Forever Marilyn, please click here. Readers interested in more information about The Sculpture Foundation, please click here.

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