Marilyn Monroe’s sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” to President John F Kennedy in 1962 is an iconic moment in American history. At Madison Square Garden, more than 15,000 people, including politicians and Hollywood stars, watched as Monroe took to the stage in a sheer, flesh colored dress for her performance.
The sex symbol and movie star sang “Happy Birthday, Mr President” in honor of Kennedy’s 45th birthday followed with a snippet front the song “Thanks for the Memory,” for which Monroe had written new lyrics just for the president.
Monroe would not be the only star to sing for President Kennedy that night. Singer and actress Diahann Carroll did as well. She spoke about being there that night on “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”
“It was a very exciting night. Everybody in the world was there,” Carroll said.
“Marilyn was hysterical, but very good,” Carroll says. “It was good to watch her at work. I think we all enjoyed it.”
Carroll sang for President Kennedy later that evening at a smaller, private reception held at what Carroll described as a “beautiful home.”
“I can see what I’m wearing before I see Jack Kennedy,” she chuckles. “On the few social occasions that I met him, he was extremely pleasant. He was a very entitled human being, but you had to forgive him for that.”