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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. President (1962)

Star of the month... Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn sings "Happy Birthday"
Although not a film, "Happy Birthday Mr. President" it is a very significant moment and still an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe fifty years after her death, so I thought it only appropriate to write a short blog about it, so here it goes...

On Saturday 19 May 1962, at the suggestion of actor Peter Lawford, Marilyn Monroe attended the early 4th birthday celebration of President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

Marilyn performed "Happy Birthday"in a sultry voice, with a specially written verse based on the Bob Hope song, "Thanks for the Memory". 

JFK thanks Marilyn
The dress Marilyn wore
 to the event
At the end of the performance, Kennedy responded with: "Thank you. I can now retire from politics after having had 'Happy Birthday' sung to me in a such a sweet, wholesome way."

Over 15,000 people attended the event - JFK's wife Jackie was not in attendance

The event is significant for two reasons...
  • it was one of Marilyn's final public appearances, before her death on 5 August 1962
  • there are rumours Marilyn and Kennedy had an affair, giving the performance a new layer of meaning

In 1999, the dress Marilyn wore (designed by Jean Louis) sold at auction for US$1.26 million.

Watch the performance on YouTube:

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