Forever Marilyn

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Forever Marilyn
Forever Marilyn in Palm Springs.jpg
Forever Marilyn in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2021
ArtistSeward Johnson
TypePainted steel and aluminum
Dimensions7.9 m (26 ft)
LocationChicago, IL (2011–12)
Hamilton Township, NJ (2014–15)
Bendigo, Australia (2016)
Stamford, CT (2018)
Palm Springs, CA (2012–2014, 2021-)
OwnerPS Resorts[1]

Forever Marilyn is a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe designed by Seward Johnson. The statue is a representation of one of the most famous images of Monroe, taken from Billy Wilder's 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. Created in 2011, the statue has been displayed in a variety of locations in the United States, as well as in Australia.

Design and locations[edit]

The 26-foot-tall (7.9 m) 34,000-pound (15,000 kg) sculpture, manufactured of painted stainless steel and aluminium,[2] is a super-sized tribute to Marilyn Monroe's iconic scene from Billy Wilder's 1955 infidelity comedy, The Seven-Year Itch, with the figure capturing the instant a blast of air from a NYC subway grate raises her white dress.[3]

The statue was displayed at Pioneer Court part of the Magnificent Mile section of Chicago, Illinois, before it was moved in 2012 to the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, California.[4]

It was given a farewell sendoff during the Palm Springs Village Fest on March 27, 2014,[5] and was then relocated to the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, New Jersey as part of a 2014 retrospective honoring Seward Johnson.[2][6] Due to its popularity, the statue remained on display at the GFS until September 2015, after the official end of the retrospective.[7]

The statue was then displayed in 2016 in Rosalind Park in the Australian city of Bendigo in connection with the Bendigo Art Gallery's Marilyn Monroe exhibition.[8]

In 2018, the statue was displayed at Latham Park in Stamford, Connecticut, as part of a large public art exhibition honoring the works of Seward Johnson. Thirty-six sculptures were placed throughout streets and parks in Downtown Stamford, with Forever Marilyn being the highlight of the exhibit.[9] The statue sparked controversy when it was placed in Stamford with complaints arising due to her appearing to flash her underwear at the First Congregational Church in .[10][11][12][13]

On 25 September 2019 Palm Springs mayor Robert Moon announced the statue's return to Palm Springs as a permanent fixture.[14] On 3 February 2021 it was announced that the statue – long stored in a dismantled state in New Jersey – would be erected on Museum Way just east of the Palm Springs Art Museum with an unveiling date of 18 April 2021. According to the announcement, Forever Marilyn is set to remain in Palm Springs for up to three years: in two years time the statue's local economic impact is scheduled to be reviewed and its future decided.[15][16] As of June 2021 litigation seeking to block the erection of Forever Marilyn continued in the California courts:[17] however the statue was "unveiled" - albeit two months behind schedule - on 20 June 2021,[18] with the Riverside County Superior Court dismissing four of the Committee to Relocate Marilyn's purported causes of action on 18 July 2021, with the Committee's remaining two purported causes being dismissed by the Riverside County Superior Court on 9 September 2021.[19]


In August and September 2011 the statue was vandalized three times, most recently being splashed with red paint. According to the executive director of the Chicago Public Arts Group, "In our society, we have little room for sexually expressive images ... The social contract doesn't work, because it is itself laden with political meaning, and provocative meaning and sexual meaning."[20]

The public, however, remains enthusiastic: "Forever Marilyn journeyed back to Hamilton in April 2014, arriving at the Grounds for Sculpture on a truck as two dozen people cheered and took pictures. During the cross-country journey, people snapped photos of the sculpture in parking lots and along highways and posted them on social media."[7]

At least one full size counterfeit is known to have been created and displayed, as a discarded sculpture was photographed in a dump after being displayed outside a business center in Guigang, China.[21] A full-size counterfeit is used in the 2017 Chinese drama film, Angels Wear White.[22]

In 2021, the statue was debated on the TV programme Good Morning Britain. The statue was defended from accusations of misogyny by Monroe impersonator Suzie Kennedy.[23]


  1. ^ Cassady, Daniel (28 February 2023). "26-Foot Marilyn Monroe Statue Still Causing a Stir Among the Palm Springs Elite". ARTnews. Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  2. ^ a b "The Retrospective Site Map (See: Icons Revisited Series)" (PDF). Grounds for Sculpture. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  3. ^ "The Seven Year Itch (Trivia)". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Forever Marilyn: Palm Springs sets goodbye party". The Desert Sun. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Business News: Forever Marilyn to Stay in Palm Springs until Mid-November". The Public Record. 37 (32): 3. 30 July 2013. ISSN 0744-205X. OCLC 8101482.
  6. ^ "Seward Johnson: The Retrospective". Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. ^ a b "Goodbye Norma Jean: Forever Marilyn sculpture comes down". 29 September 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  8. ^ "American crew assemble Marilyn sculpture that gallery director Karen Quinlan says will be a conversation-starter", Bendigo Advertiser, February 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Timeless – The Works of Seward Johnson". Stamford Downtown – This is the place!. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  10. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol (11 June 2018). "Church Is Taking Appearance Of Gigantic Marilyn Monroe Statue In Stride". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Statue of Marilyn Monroe famously exposing her rear displayed near church". New York Post. 8 June 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  12. ^ Cromley, Janet (9 June 2018). "Marilyn Monroe Statue Outside Church Gets Tongues Wagging". Newser. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  13. ^ "The day in pictures : 15 photographs that made today's news". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  14. ^ "'Forever Marilyn' statue to return to Palm Springs".
  15. ^ "'Forever Marilyn' Sculpture Nears Return to Downtown Palm Springs". 4 February 2021.
  16. ^ "'Forever Marilyn' unveiling pushed back to April 18".
  17. ^ Rode, Erin (1 June 2021). "Court denies latest effort to block Forever Marilyn installation". Desert Sun. USA Today Network.
  18. ^ </
  19. ^ "Palm Springs' 'Forever Marilyn' statue case dismissed by court, opponents plan appeal".
  20. ^ Reese, Ronnie. Vandals splash Monroe statue with red paint. Chicago Tribune. September 28, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2011.
  21. ^ "A 26-Foot Marilyn Monroe Sculpture Meets Its End in a Chinese Dump". 19 June 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  22. ^ Ng, Natalie (13 June 2018). "Review: Angels Wear White". Filmed in Ether. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  23. ^ Griffin, Louise (26 May 2021). "Marilyn Monroe impersonator hits back at claims statue 'encourages upskirting'". Metro. Retrieved 28 May 2021.

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