Palm Springs officials were planning a "dramatic" unveiling Thursday night of a 26-foot-tall sculpture of film legend Marilyn Monroe-- just 20 miles east of Banning.
Sculptor Seward Johnson's "Forever Marilyn" was installed by crane last week at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way after a weeklong trip from its previous home in Chicago. The 34,300-pound statue was shipped out in pieces and reassembled. It will be dedicated at 6 p.m. by city officials during the weekly VillageFest street fair.
According to PS Resorts, which organized and helped fund the statue's installation, free parking will be provided for the dedication. Motorists should enter from Tahquitz Canyon at Belardo Road. The Heat Wave jazz and show band from the Boys & Girls Club of the Coachella Valley will perform at the event.
The dedication is a "homecoming" of sorts for Monroe, who was discovered in Palm Springs at Charlie Farrell's Racquet Club by talent agent Johnny Hyde in 1949. Monroe spent time in Palm Springs in the 1950s with Joe DiMaggio and eventually owned a home in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in the early 1960s, according to PS Resorts. The 50th anniversary of her death is Aug. 5.
"Forever Marilyn" is part of Johnson's "Icons Revisited" series and is made of bronze and stainless steel. The sculpture is based on a photograph by Bruno Bernard taken during the filming of "The Seven Year Itch" in 1955. The sculpture debuted last July 15 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
PS Resorts, local donors, restaurant owners, hoteliers and merchants paid the $78,000 installation cost.
"Forever Marilyn" has a Facebook page and Twitter handle, PS4everMarilyn.
Monroe's star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars will be rededicated on June 1, her birthday.