New York City (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago tonight, May 19, 1962, President John F. Kennedy celebrated his soon to be 45th Birthday by having 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' sang to him by Marilyn Monroe*at Madison Square Garden here in New York City.
Miss Monroe, dressed in a skin-tight, flesh-colored, rhinestone studded dress, sang in a sultry, sexy voice. The show's director called the President after rehearsal for the event because he was concerned that Marilyn's style of singing would be "too steamy". JFK told him to let her go ahead and perform it the way she wanted.
Newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen supported the director's opinion as she wrote...
"It was like Marilyn...was making love to the President in direct view of 40 million Americans."
The 15,000 invited guests in attendance were left aghast by Marilyn's performance, not to mention her attire.
Miss Monroe also sang "Thanks for the Memories" but with the lyrics changed for the birthday celebration.
"Thanks, Mr. President
For all the things you've done
The battles that you won
The way you deal with US Steel
And our problems by the ton
We thank you so much."
After the singing, President Kennedy came to the podium and said:
"I can now retire from politics after having had 'Happy Birthday' sang to me in such a sweet, wholesome way."
In 1999, Paul Rudnick wrote in Time magazine...
"Marilyn Monroe's tabloid appeal is infinite. At her peak, Monroe was very much like Coca Cola or Levi's - she was something wonderfully and impressively American."
*Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was born in Los Angeles. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker, was placed in a mental hospital while Norma Jeanne was raised by foster parents.
At the age of 19, she signed with a modeling agency and later 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures.
Having changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, the young movie actress appeared on the cover of Life magazine and starred in films such as Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Bus Stop.
MM was married and divorced 3 times. Her 1st husband was James Dougherty (1942-46), her 2nd was NY Yankee star Joe DiMaggio (1954) and the 3rd was playwright Arthur Miller (1956-1961).
MM died at the age of 36 in her Brentwood apartment. The death was ruled a probable suicide by the LA Coroner's office.