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

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

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.

11 PHOTOS
Marilyn Monroe's 'Happy Birthday' dress goes to auction
See Gallery
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.
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)
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.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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.

10 PHOTOS
Marilyn Monroe's most iconic looks throughout the years
See Gallery
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)
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)
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)
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, 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)
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)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going
Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts Don't Get Too Close To a Newborn Giraffe Unless You Want to Get Kicked in the Nuts