Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson; June 1, 1926 – August 4, 1962) was an American actress, model and singer…..who was famous for playing comedic “blonde bombshell” characters….and became one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950’s and early 1960’s….while being emblematic of the era’s changing attitudes towards sexuality….and although she was a top-billed actress for only a decade….her films grossed $200 million (equivalent to $2 billion in 2018) by the time of her unexpected death in 1962.
By 1953, Monroe was one of the most marketable Hollywood stars….after having leading roles in the film noir Niagara….which focused on her sex appeal….along with the comedies Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire….which established her star image as a “dumb blonde”. The same year, her images were used as the centerfold and on the cover of the first issue of the men’s magazine Playboy. Although she played a significant role in the creation and management of her public image throughout her career….she was disappointed when she was typecast and underpaid by the studio. She was briefly suspended in early 1954 for refusing a film project….but returned to star in one of the biggest box office successes of her career, The Seven Year Itch in 1955…..and more than half a century later, she continues to be a major popular culture icon.
On May 19, 1962, she took a break to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” on stage at President John F. Kennedy’s early birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden in New York…..as she drew attention with the outfit tht she wore….which was a beige, skintight dress covered in rhinestones, which made her appear nude….as Monroe’s trip to New York caused even more irritation for Fox executives….who had wanted her to cancel it.
What seems very sad about watching this rare piece of video is that both Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy would both be dead by the end of 1963…..one by a self inflicted drug overdose…..and the other by an assassins bullet…..which adds to the value of this short piece of video in our treasure chest of vintage memories here at ImaSportsphile.