25 January 2014

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

On 19 May 1962, Marilyn Monroe was invited to appear at President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday party. At Madison Square Garden, Marilyn (in her last public appearance) gave a memorable performance singing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President". Apart from the President and his wife Jackie, some 15,000 guests (amongst them many VIPS and politicians) attended the gala evening. President Kennedy later said of Marilyn's performance: "I can now retire from politics after having had "Happy Birthday" sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way." 

Robert F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy
Left photo: Marilyn for the last time in public. Right: Maria Callas and Marilyn at the party.
The following letter comes from the White House and is addressed to Marilyn. Dated 11 April 1962, the letter was written by Kenneth O'Donnell (special assistant to the President), thanking Marilyn for accepting the invitation to the President's birthday party.

 Via: 2000 magazine


April 11, 1962

Dear Miss Monroe,

Many, many thanks for your acceptance of the invitation to appear at the President's Birthday Party in Madison Square Garden on May 19.

Your appearance will guarantee a tremendous success for the affair and a fitting tribute to President Kennedy.

With every good wish,

Kenneth O'Donnell (signed)
Special Assistant to the President

Miss Marilyn Monroe
12-305 Fifth Helena Drive
Los Angeles 49, California

*If you'd like to see Marilyn's performance, click here to watch the clip on YouTube. In the clip we see Peter Lawford (brother-in-law to the President) introduce Marilyn, who arrived late.


  1. Unfortunately your video clip is missing. I'd love to have seen it.

    1. Hi Vienna, thanks for letting me know. I don't know why the clip doesn't work. Anyway, I've removed it and added the link to YouTube.