Marilyn Monroe’s sultry rendition of `Happy Birthday, Mr Prez` turns 50

A number of Marilyn Monroe look-alikes gathered at Madison Square Garden for a casting call to mark the anniversary of her sultry performance at the Garden’s old home.

On May 19, 1962, Monroe crooned “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to Kennedy during a star-studded concert at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the commander in chief’s 45th birthday.

The 35-year-old chanteuse, in a skintight dress, serenaded the president, who showed up stag after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy skipped the event to visit friends in Virginia.

“I can now retire from politics after having ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way,” the New York Daily News quoted Kennedy as telling the audience of 15,000.

Though Kennedy’s actual birthday was 10 days away, Jack Benny, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin and a host of other celebrities feted Kennedy at the Garden, which then stood between 50th and 51st Streets on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.

Monroe’s breathy rendition of the birthday standard has spurred a series of spoofs, including one by Mike Myers as Wayne Campbell in ‘Wayne’s World’, and another by Madonna on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1993.

Last fall, Lady Gaga, in a blond, Marilyn-inspired do, sang a sexy ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ to former President Bill Clinton at a fundraiser in honour of his 65th birthday.