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Marilyn Monroe Sings "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"
Less than three months before her death, Marilyn Monroe makes one of her last public appearances at President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration, where she famously sings "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" in his honor.
Doubling as a fundraising gala for the Democratic Party, the event is held ten days before the president's actual birthday at the third Madison Square Garden indoor arena in New York City, where over 15,000 guests attend. After an introduction by Peter Lawford making light of her notorious tardiness, Marilyn finally takes the stage wearing an ermine fur coat, which she quickly sheds to reveal a skin-tight, flesh-colored gown covered with 2,500 shimmering rhinestones. Accompanied by jazz pianist Hank Jones, she eases into a breathy rendition of "Happy Birthday to You," including a snippet with new lyrics to the tune of "Thanks For The Memory":
Thanks, Mr. President For all the things you've done The battles that you've won The way you deal with U.S. Steel And our problems by the ton We thank you so much
The event is produced by Broadway composer and lyricist Richard Adler and choreographed by Carol Haney, both known for the popular Broadway production The Pajama Game. Marilyn dies months later, on August 5, of a barbiturates overdose at age 36. Her famous Jean Louis gown from the iconic performance is sold for over $1.26 million at a New York auction in 1999.