An enormous sculpture depicting Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress-flying pose from the 1955 romantic comedy “The Seven Year Itch” is expected to return to Palm Springs early next year, tourism officials said Wednesday.
PS Resorts, a nonprofit tourism organization, is in the final stages of purchasing the 26-foot-tall sculpture dubbed “Forever Marilyn” for about $1 million, according to Aftab Dada, the organization’s chairman.
“The contract will be signed very, very soon,” he told City News Service.
Dada said he expects the statue to be installed at the corner of Belardo Road and Museum Way, just east of the Palm Springs Art Museum, sometime in the first quarter of 2021.
The Palm Springs City Council recently approved a location agreement with PS Resorts. The agreement includes a term of up to three years, and requires periodic updates back to the council.
Dada said he would like to see the statue remain permanently.
After two years, the statue’s local economic impact will be measured by an outside firm, he said.
The 17-ton Marilyn statue crafted of steel and aluminum was first unveiled in Chicago in 2011 before moving to the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Taquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs in 2012, where it resided for about two years.
The statue’s looming return has drawn the ire of some residents, both for its possible infringement of views of the surrounding natural landscape, and for allegations that the statue is sexist and inappropriate, the Desert Sun reported.
Dada, meanwhile, lauded it for being an economic powerhouse that previously brought the city millions of dollars of free publicity during its first rendezvous in Palm Springs.
“She really put Palm Springs on the worldwide map,” he said. “She is definitely a huge draw and an unbelievable magnets to tourists.”
City Manager David Ready previously said the statue was a “tourism phenomenon” during its first appearance in the city.
Dada said “Forever Marilyn” helped jumpstart the local economy during the Great Recession, and that he hopes the statue can work that same magic again amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Forever Marilyn” was designed by artist Seward Johnson, who died in March.
The humongous sculpture recreates the moment in “The Seven Year Itch” where Monroe’s white dress surges up toward her waist as she stands on a windy Manhattan subway grate.
“Marilyn has come to represent beauty, and the white dress blowing up around her is a type of teasing sensuality,” Johnson once said.
“There is something about her pose, the exuberance for life without inhibition, it expresses an uninhibited sense of our own vibrancy.”