Inland Empire News

Giant Marilyn Monroe statue attracts attention in Palm Springs

Thursday, May 17, 2012

With her iconic smile and her flowing platinum-blonde hair, a nearly three-story high statue of Marilyn Monroe towers over downtown Palm Springs.

It's called Forever Marilyn, and she's attracting quite a crowd.

"This is beautiful, this is so spectacular. She's just...I want to see what's under the dress!" said Ronna Schreiner from Washington.

Yes, that is the statue's other draw -- the dress. Sculpted by Seward Johnson, the statue is modeled after a scene from the 1955 film, "The Seven Year Itch." Specifically, the part when a draft from a New York subway grate blows her skirt above her knees.

But the statue was quite controversial in Chicago, where it was on display for the past year. Tim Ellis of Palm Mountain Resort and Spa spearheaded the move to bring the statue to Palm Springs. He explained why California is a better home for the work.

"Palm Springs is a different place, we're a little more open minded than the Midwest, but I think when people actually see her, they're going to smile and take her picture," Ellis said.

The statue is 26 feet tall, weighs 34,000 pounds and had to be shipped in four pieces.

"It was not an inexpensive thing, but to me the publicity that we got from her has already covered that money," Ellis said.

It actually cost $100,000 to move it and clean it. All the money came from private sources.

The statue will stay in Palm Springs for the next year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Monroe's death.

"She's an icon, part of California, period, and so she definitely belongs here," Schreiner said.

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