Monroe's dress from JFK birthday sells for $4.8 million at auction

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Nov 17 (Reuters) - The skin-tight dress Marilyn Monroe wore for her sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday" before then U.S. President John F. Kennedy at a 1962 gala was sold on Thursday for $4.8 million at an auction in Los Angeles.

Ripley's Believe it or Not purchased the Jean Louis designed dress covered in sequins, the Beverly Hills-based Julien's Auctions said in a statement.

With its color matching her skin tone, the dress, which was so tight that Monroe had to be sewn into it, gave the impression she was nude.

"Marilyn Monroe singing 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' is certainly one of the most famous impromptu performances in American history," said Darren Julien, President and CEO of Julien's Auctions.

Monroe, one of the 20th century's most famous sex symbols, wore the dress as she sang "Happy Birthday to You" to Kennedy in a breathy performance at a May 19, 1962 fundraiser for the Democratic Party in Madison Square Garden in New York.

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Marilyn Monroe's 'Happy Birthday' dress goes to auction
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Marilyn Monroe's 'Happy Birthday' dress goes to auction
The sheer gown Marilyn Monroe wore when she serenaded John F. Kennedy with a breathy version of "Happy Birthday to You" on May 19, 1962 is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at Mana Contemporary dedicated to the iconic Hollywood star. Whoopi Goldberg curated the exhibit, "Marilyn: Character Not Image," which opens to the public on Sunday. Goldberg visited the art complex today to kick off the month-long show and talk about the emotional connection she feels with the star of "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like it Hot." Jersey City, NJ, USA, September 22, 2016.
The flesh-colored dress Marilyn Monroe wore during her famous birthday tribute to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 is displayed at Christie's auction house in New York on June 3. The personal property of the actress will be sold there on October 27-28. The sale of approximately 1000 lots will feature Monroe's wardrobe as well as personal drawings, books, letters. furniture, and decorative arts.
Former actress Marilyn Monroe's iconic 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' dress is viewed during a press preview at MANA Contemporary Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 22, 2016. Julien's Auctions is offering the sequined dress for auction in Los Angeles on November 17, 2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Actress Marilyn Monroe sings 'Happy Birthday' to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday.
In this May 19, 1962 photo provided by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, actress Marilyn Monroe wears the iconic gown that she wore while singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, during a reception in New York City. Standing next to Monroe is Steve Smith, President Kennedy's brother-in-law. Julien's Auctions will offer Monroe's gown at auction in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 2016. (Cecil Stoughton/White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum via AP)
The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe when she sang 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' to US President John F. Kennedy in May 1962, is displayed in a glass enclosure at Julien's Auction House in Los Angeles, California on November 17, 2016, ahead of its auction this evening. / AFP / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
US actress Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien's Auctions speak next to the Marilyn Monroe iconic 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' dress during a press preview at MANA Contemporary Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 22, 2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Former actress Marilyn Monroe's iconic 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' dress is viewed during a press preview at MANA Contemporary Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 22, 2016. Julien's Auctions is offering the sequined dress for auction in Los Angeles on November 17, 2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
In this May 19, 1962 photo provided by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, actress Marilyn Monroe sings "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy at his 45th birthday celebration at New York's Madison Square Garden. Julien's Auctions will offer the barely-there dress Monroe wore at the performance at an auction in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 2016. (Cecil Stoughton/White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum via AP)
The sheer gown Marilyn Monroe wore when she serenaded John F. Kennedy with a breathy version of "Happy Birthday to You" on May 19, 1962 is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at Mana Contemporary dedicated to the iconic Hollywood star. Whoopi Goldberg curated the exhibit, "Marilyn: Character Not Image," which opens to the public on Sunday. Goldberg visited the art complex today to kick off the month-long show and talk about the emotional connection she feels with the star of "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like it Hot." Jersey City, NJ, USA, September 22, 2016.
The sheer gown Marilyn Monroe wore when she serenaded John F. Kennedy with a breathy version of "Happy Birthday to You" on May 19, 1962 is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at Mana Contemporary dedicated to the iconic Hollywood star. Whoopi Goldberg curated the exhibit, "Marilyn: Character Not Image," which opens to the public on Sunday. Goldberg visited the art complex today to kick off the month-long show and talk about the emotional connection she feels with the star of "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like it Hot." Jersey City, NJ, USA, September 22, 2016.
The sheer gown Marilyn Monroe wore when she serenaded John F. Kennedy with a breathy version of "Happy Birthday to You" on May 19, 1962 is the centerpiece of a new exhibit at Mana Contemporary dedicated to the iconic Hollywood star. Whoopi Goldberg curated the exhibit, "Marilyn: Character Not Image," which opens to the public on Sunday. Goldberg visited the art complex today to kick off the month-long show and talk about the emotional connection she feels with the star of "The Seven Year Itch" and "Some Like it Hot." Jersey City, NJ, USA, September 22, 2016.
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The star of the films "Some Like it Hot" and "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" died of a drug overdose less than three months later. Monroe's song was to mark Kennedy's 45th birthday, which was to occur a couple weeks later. The president was assassinated the following year.

The late fund manager Martin Zweig bought the dress in 1999 for $1.26 million at a Christie's auction, Julien's Auctions said. Zweig, who saw the dress as an investment, kept it in a climate-controlled display case mounted on a mannequin, Julien said.

The dress is one of many items from Monroe's life which Julien's Auctions is offering during a three-day auction. Monroe would have been 90 years old this year.

22 PHOTOS
Marilyn Monroe's most iconic looks throughout the years
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Marilyn Monroe's most iconic looks throughout the years
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - MAY 1962: Actress Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday at the Democratic rally for President John F. Kennedy's birthday. (Photo by Yale Joel/Life Magazine/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
In this May 19, 1962 publicity photo provided by Running Press, Peter Lawford, right, tends to Marilyn Monroe's fur as she prepares to sing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at a Madison Square Garden gala in New York. (AP Photo/Courtesy Running Press)
Marilyn Monroe's 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' Dress Is Displayed At A Christie's Auction August 13, 1999 In Beverly Hills, Ca. (Photo By Getty Images)
Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of New York subway grating while in character for the filming of "The Seven Year Itch" in Manhattan on September 15, 1954. The former Norma Jean Baker modeled and starred in 28 movies grossing $200 million. Sensual and seductive, but with an air of innocence, Monroe became one of the world's most adored sex symbols. She died alone by suicide, at age 36 in her Hollywood bungalow. (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman)
Marilyn Monroe has held a variety of jobs, from making five cents a week in an Orphan home to a stock contract at a studio. She clicked as the sexy girl in "Asphalt Jungle", and the roles got better. She has been named to Miss Cheesecake of 1951 by stars and stripes, a service paper. (04/17/1951)(AP Photo)
Marilyn Monroe learns the English way to make a movie as her director and co-star, Sir Laurence Olivier gives her advice in London on Aug. 14, 1956. In "The Prince and the Showgirl", Miss Monroe plays the part of an American show girl starring in a London musical in 1911. (AP Photo)
In this June 2, 1955 file photo, actress Marilyn Monroe, right, dressed in a glamorous evening gown, arrives with Joe DiMaggio at the theater. DiMaggio's love letter to Marilyn Monroe has sold for $78,125 at a Beverly Hills auction. Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills says the letter, written by the baseball great after Monroe announced she was divorcing him, was sold Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, to an undisclosed buyer.(AP Photo, File)
Marilyn Monroe poses in a bathing suit, left, in 1947 at age 18 at the start of her carreer and in a gown designed for her, right, in 1958 in the movie "Some Like It Hot." (AP Photo/files)
Tousled after all-night plane ride from Hollywood, actress Marilyn Monroe smiles in a car at Idlewild Airport, N.Y., June 2, -year unknown-. She said she planned to rest in New York before going to England to make a new movie with Sir Laurence Olivier. Sidestepping questions as to whether she and playwright Arthur Miller plan to wed, she said: "No comment, were really good friends". (AP Photo)
American film star Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) shares a joke with Jack Benny, comedian of radio, television and occasional films. Original Publication: People Disc - HW0707 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Blonde actress Marilyn Monroe flashes radiant smile behind microphones of newsmen as she is questioned at #2 Sutton Place in New York City on June 21 concerning reported forthcoming marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Marilyn confirmed report in June 20 New York newspaper story that she will wed Miller. However, the actress and the 41-year-old playwright refused to pose for pictures together at the scene of the news conference. (undated) (AP Photo)
American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) stands in a staircase alongside a wall with a floral-motif pattern, late 1950s. She wears a black cocktail dress and dangling earrings. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Marilyn Monroe is shown in this undated publicity photo. (AP Photo)
An undated picture shows Marilyn Monroe, smiling in car. (AP Photo)
In this January 1, 1947 file photo, starlet Marilyn Monroe plays at the beach with her dog Ruffles. (AP Photo, File)
Marilyn Monroe, David Wayne, on-set of the Film, "How to Marry a Millionaire", 1953. (Photo via Alamy)
SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959) MARILYN MONROE, TONY CURTIS SLH 047P MOVIESTORE COLLECTIO LTD. (Photo via Alamy)
In this March 25, 1991 file photo, Madonna performs "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" from the film "Dick Tracy" during the 63rd Annual Academy Awards show at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles. The song won an Oscar for best song. Madonna has famously appropriated Marilyn Monroe's look into her image. Monroe passed away a half-century ago this week, a murky death that remains one of Hollywood's most tantalizing mysteries. But look around: Her legend lives on, more vibrantly than ever. In a twist she surely would have appreciated, this 1950's bombshell has become a 21st-century pop culture phenom. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
Marilyn Monroe, on-set of the Film, "There's No Business Like Show Business", 1954, TM and Copyright (c) 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved. (Photo via Alamy)
American actress Marilyn Monroe (L) with her husband baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. (Photo via AFP/Getty Images)

Marilyn Monroe with Joe di Maggio, 1953.

(Photo via Alamy)

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