Monroe sang the traditional “Happy Birthday to You” lyrics in a sultry, intimate voice, with “Mr. President” inserted as Kennedy’s name. She continued the song with a snippet from the classic song, “Thanks for the Memory”, for which she had written new lyrics specifically aimed at Kennedy.
Thanks, Mr. President
For all the things you’ve done
The battles that you’ve won
The way you deal with U.S. Steel
And our problems by the ton
We thank you so much
Afterwards, as an enormous birthday cake was presented to him, President Kennedy came on stage and joked about Monroe’s version of the song, saying, “I can now retire from politics after having had Happy Birthday sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way,” alluding to Marilyn’s delivery, skintight dress, and image as a sex symbol.
The performance was one of her last major public appearances before her death less than three months later on August 4, 1962. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who rarely attended Democratic Party events, spent the day at the Loudon Hunt Horse Show with her children, John and Caroline.
Monroe was accompanied by jazz pianist Hank Jones.
About midday, near-total darkness descends on New England, now known to be caused by forest fires in Canada
On May 19, 1780
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