Marilyn Monroe is arguably the most famous—nay, infamous—film star in history. And with great fanfare she has landed in Palm Springs. Arriving recently in three pieces on a flatbed truck from her former home in Chicago, “Forever Marilyn,” artist Seward Johnson’s 26-foot tall sculpture of the leggy legend, has been lovingly reassembled and unveiled at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way. She will reside there for the next year or so while plans are underway for building the adjacent shopping and entertainment complex in the heart of the Downtown Shopping District.
The art depicts Ms. Monroe in one of her iconic poses from the movie “The Seven Year Itch,” where she was caught standing on a metal subway grate in New York City as her dress is blown sky-high. Visitors can get up close and personal with the sculpture and actually walk right up to her and stand beneath that billowing dress. No doubt Marilyn will be one of the most photographed women in the world this next year!
The real Marilyn was no stranger to Palm Springs, and truth be told, as a wee one I met her a few times while savoring the sunshine with my mother at Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club—ironically the very place she was discovered. Her star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars is mere feet from her familiar likeness, and no doubt will also become a much-visited landmark. On a sad note, August 5, 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of this beloved beauty. I believe that anniversary will no doubt be marked by a bounty of bereaved fans assembling at the foot of their idol as she stands guard over downtown. Thanks to all the individuals—especially my good pals Mark Jones, Bryan Vatcher, and Palm Springs Councilman Paul Lewin—who toiled diligently to bring this gorgeous guest back to the desert. (320 words)