Washington's Mayor for Life To Be Truly Immortalized -- in Wax

By Darragh Johnson and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

They're setting Marion Barry up again.

On a pedestal this time.

Washington's new Madame Tussauds wax museum is giving the city's Mayor for Life an extension of his seemingly endless reign.

In October, the world's premier waxworks will open its Penn Quarter franchise and unveil its "fast-track" statue of the former four-term mayor and current council member, who won the honor in a contest that pitted him against Cal Ripken, Al Gore, Denzel Washington, Carl Bernstein, Halle Berry, Martin Sheen, Marilyn Monroe, Nancy Reagan and Oprah Winfrey.

(Finally: A contest Oprah didn't win.)

This month, Tussauds staffers talked to 600 people at Union Station, on the Mall and outside the old Woodies department store at 10th and F streets NW, the site of the new museum. Offering up their "Top 10 Wish List," they asked people to choose.

"People were laughing, but they said, 'Marion Barry. Marion Barry,' " said Janine DiGioacchino, general manager for Madame Tussauds in New York and Washington. "It was overwhelming. It was a landslide."

Barry will be joining 49 others, including American forefathers -- Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln -- plus Bill and Hillary Clinton, both George Bushes, John and Jackie Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and other political names; civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X; and such media hotshots as Bob Woodward and Katie Couric.

"I'll be among the greats of the world," Barry said.

And he'll get a shot at stealing from Tony Williams the title of stiffest ex-mayor in town.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company