50 Years of Stars Copying Marilyn Monroe's Sultry Birthday Song
Everyone from Madonna to the stars of Smash have paid homage to the iconic performance
It’s been 50 years since Marilyn Monroe offered a sultry musical greeting to then President John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday. The song, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” has become iconic – parodied and celebrated in pop culture for the past five decades ever since it was performed on May 19, 1962.
PEOPLE.com is paying homage to the cultural moment with this roundup of equally star-studded renditions – from Mike Myers in character as Wayne Campbell to Madonna‘s 1993 version on SNL to the stars of Smash, vying for a role in a Marilyn-themed musical, this year.
And then there’s Marilyn’s version, sung at a celebration for Kennedy 10 days before his actual birthday: It was followed up with a snippet of the song “Thanks for the Memory,” which she amended with lyrics written specifically for Kennedy.
And her performance earned rave reviews from the man of the hour.
Kennedy reportedly told the audience afterward, “I can now retire from politics after having ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to me in such a sweet, wholesome way.”