Why Marilyn Monroe Endures in Palm Springs

Nov 03

For over 50 years, Palm Springs has enjoyed close ties to Hollywood and remains a favorite spot for celebrities today. The biggest names in movies, television, stage and music have been drawn to the tranquility of our fair desert. Perhaps the biggest Hollywood icon who frequented Palm Springs was the legendary Marilyn Monroe, whose presence is felt here more than ever before, thanks to the ‘Forever Marilyn” statue in downtown Palm Springs. The painted bronze statue was created by artist Seward Johnson, capturing the iconic visual of Marilyn Monroe from the 1955 comedy “The Seven Year Itch” where her dress blows upward.

The backdrop of the beautiful San Jacinto mountains against the azure blue sky provides the ideal setting for Marilyn Monroe. After all, she was somewhat of a fixture here in Palm Springs. She was known to spend time here early in her career at the direction of her agent and manager, and later at the specific direction of the movie studio bosses. Palm Springs was a mecca for directors, producers, writers and other actors who escaped the hectic pace of Los Angeles to frolic in the sun and relax.

As a young Hollywood starlet, Miss Monroe knew how to mix and mingle with elite crowd who frequented hot spots like the Palm Springs Racquet Club. Here in this photo, Marilyn is perched on the end of a diving board at the pool. She certainly knew how to make the camera work for her. The influential studio bosses from Hollywood were also known to spend time in the desert, many owned homes here as seasonal residents. The combination of a relaxed resort community with idyllic weather, with plenty of “power players” spending time here afforded ample opportunity for many starlets to be seen by the people who wrote, directer and produced film projects.

Photo is from an article featured on SF Gate.com about Susan Bernard, daughter of Bruno Bernard, the photographer who “discovered” Monroe in July 1946, is the author behind “Marilyn: Intimate Exposures.

Hollywood works a bit differently today, but it is safe to say that Palm Springs has enjoyed a resurgence of Hollywood attention, in part due to the incredible Palm Springs International Film Festival which has attracted mega-watt stars back to the desert. Palm Springs caught the attention of a new generation of Hollywood filmmakers, from studio execs to Independent filmmakers as well.

Legends like Marilyn Monroe are part of the fabric of Palm Springs history in more ways than one. Visitors often ask to see the homes Marilyn Monroe lived in or visited. They want to walk Palm Canyon Drive and see her star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. And now, of course people come to see the famous ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue that has its temporary home here in Palm Springs. Marilyn Monroe endures in Palm Springs because she brought the type of glamor and star power to this community that people never forget. Celebrities of every generation are still drawn to Palm Springs and enjoy doing exactly what Marilyn loved to do most while she was here, enjoy life and live in the moment.

Marilyn Monroe star has its home on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars

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