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Goodbye Norma Jean: Palm Springs bids farewell to Forever Marilyn

Forever Marilyn set to leave Palm Springs
Forever Marilyn set to leave Palm SpringsRandy Heinitz

Parting is such sweet sorrow but the time has come to say goodbye to the Forever Marilyn Statue in downtown Palm Springs. She’s been here almost two years and has been delighting tourists and locals alike since her arrival. Forever Marilyn quickly became an icon in the downtown environment.

However, before she’s disassembled into six pieces and shipped off to New Jersey, the city of Palm Springs, which never seems to shy away from a good cocktail party, will be hosting a farewell party for the 34,000-pound, 26-foot statue this coming Thursday night during the weekly Village Fest.

Created by artist Seward Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson legacy, the Forever Marilyn is slated to join about 150 other works by the artist in a 42-acre New Jersey park for a show set to run through the end of September. The statue originally debuted in Chicago in 2011, but her move to Palm Springs created a much bigger reception. The statue which is made of stainless steel and aluminum pays tribute to Monroe's famous scene in the 1955 comedy "The Seven-Year Itch" in which her dress billows up as she stands over a New York City subway grate.

The goodbye party for the Forever Marilyn sculpture is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 27, during the weekly VillageFest at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way. A giant goodbye card to sign, cupcakes and music from Monroe films will be provided. The Desert Winds Freedom Band and the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus will entertain the crowd and it has been announced that Carol Channing, the original Lorelei Lee in the Broadway production of ``Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'', will also be in attendance according to P.S. Resorts, a nonprofit started by local hoteliers to promote Palm Springs tourism.

Although everyone may be sad to see her go, people are encouraged to share memories and photos on the official Forever Marilyn Facebook page. Photos can also be broadcast via Twitter, @PS4everMarilyn, Pinterest, @PS4everMarilyn, and Instagram, @PS4everMarilyn.