The figure-hugging gown Marilyn Monroe wore to coquettishly serenade President John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday is being auctioned.
The flesh-colored dress adorned with 2,500 hand-stitched crystals, which will go on the block on November 17 in Los Angeles, is expected to fetch between two to three million dollars, Julien's Auctions said.
The dress was so tight on Monroe that the legendary actress wore nothing underneath and had to be sewn into it at the last minute before stepping on stage at Madison Square Garden in 1962 to sing "Happy Birthday Mr President" in her trademark sultry voice, the auction house said in a statement.
"It was her intimate tone and projection of the words 'Mr President' that would stun the audience, excite the press and become a milestone in popular culture," Julien's Auctions said.
"The rendition by Marilyn remains one of the most famous, delivered in her halting, breathy tone," it added. "All in all, it lasted approximately 30 seconds, but more than five decades later, it remains the most famous version of 'Happy Birthday' ever."
Monroe died less than three month later of an overdose. Kennedy died a year later. Prior to the auction, the Jean Louis dress will go on display at an arts center in New Jersey before traveling to Ireland and making its way back to Los Angeles.
First auctioned by Christie's in 1999, when it was sold to the late business mogul Martin Zweig for nearly $1.3 million, the dress is being sold by his estate.
"This dress, this story, this momentous occasion represents a defining moment in history," Julien's Auctions executive director Martin Nolan said. "This auction will remind the world why Marilyn Monroe remains an icon."
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