Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” Dress Sells for $4.8m at an Auction

The skin-tight dress Marilyn Monroe wore for her sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday’’ before then U.S. President John Kennedy at a 1962 gala was sold on Thursday for $4.8 million at an auction in Los Angeles.

Darren Julien, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions, made this known in a statement.

Julien said “Ripley’s Believe it or Not purchased the Jean Louis designed dress covered in sequins”.

“With its colour matching her skin tone, the dress, which was so tight that Monroe had to be sewn into it, gave the impression that she was nude. Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ is certainly one of the most famous impromptu performances in American history,” he said.

He explained that Monroe, one of the 20th century most famous sex symbols, wore the dress as she sang “Happy Birthday to You’’ to Kennedy in a breathy performance at a May 19, 1962 fundraiser for the Democratic Party in Madison Square Garden in New York.


Actress Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday.

The star of the films “Some Like it Hot’’ and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’’ died of drug overdose less than three months later.

Monroe’s song was to mark Kennedy’s 45th birthday, which was to occur a couple of weeks later; the president was assassinated the following year.

“The late fund manager Martin Zweig bought the dress in 1999 for 1.26 million dollars at a Christie’s auction. Zweig, who saw the dress as an investment, kept it in a climate-controlled display case mounted on a mannequin,’’ Julien said.

The dress was one of many items from Monroe’s life which Julien’s Auctions was offering during a three-day auction.

Monroe would have been 90 years old this year.

Photo Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images

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