The Skin-Tight Dress Marilyn Monroe Wore For Kennedy's Birthday

By | March 15, 2018

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Actress Marilyn Monroe sings "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday. Source: Bettmann / Getty

On May 19, 1962, ten days before the President's actual birthday, Marilyn Monroe sang John F. Kennedy "Happy Birthday" in a scandalous performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City. There had been plenty of speculation that Monroe and Kennedy, two of the most famous and attractive people in the country, were romantically involved, and the performance only kept the rumors swirling.

Rumors aside, Monroe's flirtatious and sexy performance, in a skin-tight, sequined, backless dress, was in questionable taste. Kennedy himself laughed it off, saying "I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way."

A Legendary Hollywood Dressmaker

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Designer Louis designed and created the gown Rita Hayworth wore in the movie 'Gilda.'

The dress that Marilyn Monroe wore for that special occasion was created for her by the designer, Jean Louis. She paid the handsome price of $1,440.00 for that dress. That was an unheard-of amount of money for an article of clothing in the 1960’s. Also unheard of at the time was the fit of the dress. It was literally skin tight. The dress had to be sewn onto her body. Needless to say, it left little to the imagination.

Jean Louis was born in France and later came to the United States. As his designing career evolved, he was considered a “top talent,” designing gowns for the likes of the Duchess of Windsor and for Hollywood royalty such as for Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth.