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Secret Birthday Photo of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe Goes on Sale

4 years ago
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It's like a surprise party for gossip columnists and Camelotphiles: A rare photograph of Marilyn Monroe and President John F. Kennedy is up for sale.

Just hours after Monroe sang her sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday" to then president Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, the film star attended a private party with the commander-in-chief where White House photographer Cecil Stoughton snapped the shot that has remained secret until now.
Robert F. Kennedy, left, Marilyn Monroe and President John F. Kennedy in 1962 photo taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton
Taken at the home of Arthur and Matilda Krim on May 19, 1962, the photo also shows Kennedy's brother, Bobby, chatting with Monroe and the president. Harry Belafonte and his wife can also be seen.

According to Kaya Morgan, the man selling the picture, Jackie Kennedy did not attend the party.

"The photographer told me that when she heard Monroe would be there, [she] said 'screw this,' and left," Morgan told the Surge Desk.

That the photo still exists may be the result of a Secret Service error. When Stoughton was developing his negatives from the famous party, the story goes, agents confiscated all those that showed Kennedy and Monroe together. But they missed one, Morgan said.

The price for a previously secret piece of history? "A 30-inch signed original print will go for $23,000," said Morgan, who unveiled the photo on Tuesday in Los Angeles in part to commemorate Monroe's birthday.
Filed Under: Surge Desk

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115 Comments

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Bonbon

What's so secretive about it, she sang at the birthday and everyone knows she dated John and Bobby both.

June 08 2010 at 12:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
David Mitchell

I believe the man on the right with the cocktail and cigar (across from Bobby) was presidential advisor and historial Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

June 07 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wondermillions

This photo is definitely not a secret. It has been posted on the internet for years.

June 02 2010 at 7:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wondermillions's comment
mary

But it was the Kennedy Family that made "womanizing" a Political past time...well, that and if a "gal" happens to die, this family always claims, "Not there." Oh, and for money, bootlegging...Leave it to ole Joe...

June 08 2010 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RivrWlker

I was 15 years old and in high school when Kennedy took office. I was 18 and a freshman in college when he was assassinated. I was also very politically aware. Marilyn Monroe was and is my favorite actress, by far, and I was a big fan of the Kennedy's and still am. No one in America but a select few had any idea there was anything other than a friendship between Marilyn, John and Bobby. History couldn't possibly ignore something as interesting as their relationships, if only as a side note, considering that all three were/are bigger than life to so many people and that all three died so tragically and so young. Camelot? Absolutely! It's still Camelot to me. The John Birch Society and the far right of the times, hated the Kennedys, and Earl Warren's Supreme Court for that matter, but in the middle of one of the most fearful times of the Cold War, much of America loved the Kennedys and their youthful enthusiasm and Jackie and their two little kids in the White House. I'm not sure who named it "Camelot," but that didn't happen until after John's assassination. Nothing is perfect, no person, no place in time or geography, but in the tragedy, sorrow and confusion of the times after, Camelot was the perfect way to remember that White House for much of America. Of all people, Jackie Kennedy in the midst of her own personal tragedy, somehow understood the Nation's tragedy and displayed a courage that set an example for most Americans. Among several other courageous acts, including standing plainly beside Lyndon Johnson in her bloody pink suit on Air Force 1 as he was being sworn in as President on the way back to Washington with her dead husband's casket on board, was her planning and encouragement of John John's salute to his passing father's casket on the Civil War caisson that carried it. Anyone who doesn't understand how Camelot came to be, either wasn't there or his/her personal prejudices were too blinding to witness its birth. I watched Marilyn sing Happy Birthday to the President on the TV News the same night she sang it, and it was classical Marilyn, a superb rendition that blended her bigger than life sexual aura with the subtle humor of her sexy female tease that only Marilyn Monroe could have pulled off. Most of the country and half the world grinned watching her sing it. Every man in America imagined she was singing it to him. Camelot? You bet your butt it was and I refuse to destroy it by cluttering it up with human imperfection. I don't mind the facts of history. I like to know them, actually, but facts often compete with other facts in establishing the over riding affect and importance of historical events. Some people belittle Marilyn's entire life because of the way she died, and some belittle the Kennedys' obvious positive contributions to their times and to history because they weren't perfect enough. It's hypocrisy to cast the first stone, and nothing but!

June 02 2010 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RivrWlker's comment
gretagthompson

I see it and feel it exactly the same way as you do, except that I was 5 years younger than you. I have often wished that JFK had been able to finish out his term. What would have happened? I have often wished that his darling children could have enjoyed a much more "regular" life. I respect all of the Kennedy's for working so hard for our country. California Native

November 08 2010 at 10:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kenweld

Sad that we even care!

June 02 2010 at 10:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mezl

marilyn wasn't the "best" actress - the actors and actresses who came before her were pretty talented. she was equal to them in acting ability, but one can't say any one of them was "the best".

and "camelot"? that's from the legend of king arthur - got nothin' to do with the kennedys. who i really don't care for, any way. one politician is as bad as any other. please, let's not give credit to thieves and liars. not to mention users - as in, how the kennedy brothers both used marilyn monroe horribly. true politicians in every sense of the word.

June 02 2010 at 7:03 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Joseph Giancola

Marilyn was truly one of a kind; I still love her to this day. The Kennedys have been much maligned, but Jack saved us from a nuclear war with the Soviets and Bobby fought vigorously against the Viet Nam War. We might be living in a better world if they had lived.

June 02 2010 at 5:26 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
jwsexton9

Get with History folks,,,almost every president including good old George Washinton had there gal pals on the side,,some even had them in the closet or upstair maids,,,lol

June 02 2010 at 3:00 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Chris

Interesting story about the picture. But the picture itself doesn't look any scandalous. It just looks like a casual conversation.

June 02 2010 at 2:36 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Get real.

On what grounds did the Secret Service seize the photographs? How was Kennedy being in the same room with Marilyn Monroe a threat to national security?

June 02 2010 at 1:59 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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