The only photograph showing Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe and the US President John F Kennedy together, taken moments later she sang ’Happy Birthday’ for him on May 19 1962, is up for auction.
The photograph, which survived the search by Secret Service at that time, is expected to fetch USD 23,000 at the auction.
Monroe’s alleged affair with Kennedy has been one of the most documented stories in the history but despite all the speculation and rumour, the photograph is the only picture which shows Kennedy and Monroe together.
The black and white photograph, taken by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton, shows her in the revealing, rhinstone studded dress she wore whilst singing ’Happy Birthday’ at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 19, 1962 at a Democratic fund raising event, the Daily Mail reported.
Kennedy appears to be turning his face towards the wall and away from the camera, while his brother Robert F Kennedy looks on.
The Secret Service reportedly had instructions not to allow any photographs to be taken of the President and Monroe together and the picture only survived because when agents came to confiscate it, the negatives were in the photographic dryer.
It remained out of the public eye because Stoughton was on good terms with with Jackie Kennedy, the president’s wife, and did not want to offend her, according to filmmaker Keya Morgan, who is selling the print.
"There is no other known photo of Bobby Kennedy with Marilyn or JFK with Marilyn and it’s not because they were never photographed together. In fact, they were photographed together many times, but the Secret Service and the FBI confiscated every single photograph," Morgan said.
"The Secret Service had specific instructions not to photograph President Kennedy and Marilyn together because it would have been a national scandal," he added. Morgan bought the photograph and dozens of other images for USD 50,000 for a documentary he is making about the actress. The image of her and Kennedy is one of only 10 prints from the negative.
"Marilyn died within months. President Kennedy died the next year and Bobby a few years from that. So what a haunting photograph, and it’s the only one of any of them together," he added.
Also in the picture is American historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr, who was an aide to President Kennedy. In his personal journal, which was published in 2007, he said that he and President Kennedy played a "mock competition" to see who could win Monroe’s attentions and that she was "most agreeable" to him.
Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, died in 1962 at the age of 36 following a drug overdose.