Marilyn Monroe’s sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung for President John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday celebration marked the actress’ last major public appearance before her mysterious death in August 1962.
Tuesday, which would have been Monroe’s 84th birthday, marks the public debut of a rare image of Monroe with Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy together after the May 19, 1962, party.
The black-and-white photo, taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, showed Monroe still wearing the infamously tight-fitting, sheer rhinestone-studded dress she wore when singing earlier at Madison Square Garden.
“There is no other known photo of Bobby [Kennedy] with Marilyn or JFK with Marilyn, and it’s not because they were never photographed together,” said filmmaker Keya Morgan, who now owns the only original prints of it. “In fact, they were photographed together many times, but the Secret Service and the FBI confiscated every single photograph.”
Stoughton, who sold the prints to Morgan a year before his death in 2008, told him agents missed one negative in their search, he said.
“The Secret Service came in when he was developing the negatives and basically confiscated all the ones of Jack, Bobby with Marilyn,” Morgan said. “The only one that survived is the one that was in the dryer.”
Stoughton…told Morgan the story behind the first lady’s refusal to attend her husband’s birthday gala.
“He’s the one who told Jackie that Marilyn was going to be at the celebration, and her exact words were ‘Screw Jack,’ and she left the room and she did not go to the famous celebration,” Morgan said.
Presidents used to have the sort of privacy that facilitated all kinds of low-life behavior -equalled only by the ethics and behavior of Congress. Then – and now.