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Style Spotlight: Marilyn Moves Back Home

October 2012 | BY | Fall 2012

Seward Johnson's Marilyn Monroe entering Palm Springs
Seward Johnson's Marilyn Monroe
Seward Johnson’s statue of Marilyn Monroe, now fully reconstructed, sends out good vibrations in her new Palm Springs home. At top: a snap from the road.

Cinematic idol Marilyn Monroe became a real part of the American landscape as her 26-foot-high statue was transported from Chicago to Palm Springs early this summer. The statue, created by realist sculptor Seward Johnson, was disassembled for the flatbed truck trip, but her famous face beamed out at travelers all along the way.

“Forever Marilyn,” which weighs 34,000 pounds, immortalizes the moment in the 1955 Billy Wilder film The Seven-Year Itch when she laughingly tries to push down her skirts as a blast of air from a subway grate she’s standing on blows up her dress.

The cross-country movers took snapshots of the uncovered statue in a number of all-American settings: at the “Welcome to Omaha” sign, for instance, and again at a stop in the desert. (Type “Forever Marilyn Palm Springs” in the Facebook search field, click on Photos, and check out “A Photo Tour of Marilyn’s Limo Ride from Chicago” for yourself.) She’ll be staying in Palm Springs until June 2013.

Chicago critics had complained the statue had no place in the culture of the city and brought out rude behavior in visitors. But the real Marilyn has many ties to Palm Springs, where she was first discovered and where she owned a home. The city is making her statue the centerpiece of a $100 million downtown revitalization.

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