When Marilyn Monroe passed away in 1962, she was already an icon – but her legacy has surpassed any thing she could have imagined. Her visage adorns every type of paraphernalia imaginable, her impersonators crowd Times Square and Hollywood Boulevard, and of course, there was that time that superfans could buy a lock of her hair aboard a cruise ship for a reasonable $8,000.
And at an auction hosted by Julien’s, which began on Thursday and will continue through the weekend, one of the actress’s most recognizable gowns, the one she wore to wish President John F. Kennedy a very sexy happy birthday, sold for $4.81 million.
The auction of Monroe’s personal effects and mementos is hosted by Julien’s Auctions and was exhibited aboard the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship over the course of August as the boat made its transatlantic journey from London to N.Y.C. The gown in question is the skin-tight design the Seven Year Itch star wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to Kennedy on May 19, 1962 at a Madison Square Garden fundraiser, just three months before she died.
Designed by Jean Louis, the dress originally cost $12,000 and was so tight Monroe had to be sewn into it prior to her performance. According to the auction house, the piece will now belong to Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
And this isn’t the first time this exact dress has fetched a staggering price at auction either; back in 1999, the dress was sold by Manhattan-based company Gotta Have It! Collectables for $1.26 million. Julien’s has also already sold two more of Monroe’s possessions from their collection – a cocktail dress from Some Like It Hot which went for the comparably more reasonable price of $450,000 and a letter written to her by Jean Kennedy Smith which was sold for $28,000. So for anyone out there vying to get their hands on a piece of this collection, it seems it’s high time to re-watch that Marilyn classic, How to Marry a Millionaire.
Do you think her dress is worth that many millions? What would you buy from the auction? Sound off below!