Palm Springs City Council to Decide Forever Marilyn’s Fate

It was a sad day for many when the 26 foot statue of Marilyn Monroe known as “Forever Marilyn” left the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Downtown Palm Springs. 

Business owners still miss her.

“I loved her, I’m a business owner here so I love the tourist draw there were lines all the time, everyone always wanted to take their picture with her,” says Scott Cullens.
And they’d like to see her come back.
“As a business person her being right down the road from me would do nothing but increase my business,” says Mark VanLaanen, owner of On the Mark Fine Foods and Provisions.

The statue was on loan from artist Seward Johnson from 2012 to 2014. The artist died this year, but he said in the past he wanted her in Palm Springs.

Aftab Dada, the chairman of the hospitality group P.S. Resorts and the director of the Hilton Palm Springs made a promise the day she left, “… to bring her back and this time we’re going to bring her back home forever.”

He says the statue that captures  the iconic movie moment brought the city back from the great recession of 2008, “She was the catalyst that really jump started our hospitality and knowing that now we are in the COVID -19 pandemic the board of directors of P.S. Resorts felt that the timing was right.”

He says the pandemic has wiped out a lot of the gains, and more than half of the tourists have stayed away.

He thinks “Forever Marilyn’s” magic will help, “She generated millions of dollars in publicity.”

But the Palm Springs City Council has to first find a spot for the two story 36 thousand pound statue. They will mull that over during Thursday’s city council meeting.

Dada says they’re requesting the spot in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum, the street will become a pedestrian walk.

Former Palm Springs City Councilmember J.R. Roberts doesn’t think that location is right, “For most of the art museum’s life it was hidden behind a shopping mall and it just didn’t give the honor to one of our best institutions that it really deserves and so for some including myself putting an enormous sculpture is once again putting the museum in the shadow.” 

But others say it may increase the museum’s profile.

“A lot of people don’t even know the Palm Springs Museum is back there, and what better way than to have an entrance to the museum than to say here it is,” says Cullens.

Roberts thinks the corner Alejo Rd. at Francis Stevens Park is a better location.

“We have an old aging fountain there that costs the city about $60,000 a year … it also adds a new element or exciting element to the north end of town which is where people come in to town.” 

No matter where it ends up, having the artwork back in the city, where the most famous blond got her big break, is the perfect Hollywood ending.

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