An event is planned for the end of March to bid farewell to the "Forever Marilyn" statue that has been a fixture downtown for almost two years, it was announced Friday.
The ceremony at the Marilyn Monroe sculpture is scheduled for March 27, during the weekly VillageFest at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way.
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, according to P.S. Resorts, a nonprofit started by local hoteliers to promote Palm Springs tourism.
" 'Forever Marilyn' has brought joy to thousands of visitors who traveled to Palm Springs to see her over the past 22 months," said Aftab Dada, chairman of P.S. Resorts, which organized and helped fund the installation of the statue. "We could not have dreamed of the amount of positive publicity and attention she brought to the city of Palm Springs during her stay."
The sculpture will next 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, 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.
According to P.S. Resorts, the Sculpture Foundation has received "countless" requests and invitations for "Forever Marilyn," including from out of the country. The statue is not yet committed to a location after its stop in New Jersey.
Several public events were held at the statue in Palm Springs, including movie screenings, concerts, a Marilyn Monroe birthday celebration and a look- alike contest. The good-bye event is expected to include music from local bands and appearances from local celebrities including Carol Channing, 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 Famer Joe DiMaggio, and eventually owned a home in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in the early 1960s.
– City News Service.