Before gossip magazines religiously covered presidential scandals, and way before celebrities flaunted their assets on social media, there was one provocative flesh-colored gown that kept our nation on the edge of its seat.

Read ALL About Hollywood History!

Marilyn Monroe made Hollywood history on May 19, 1962, when she seductively sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday at Madison Square Garden. Did you know Monroe continued the song with “Thanks for the Memory,” which, believe it or not, she wrote with new lyrics directed at JFK? The words were as follows:

“Thanks, Mr. President
For all the things you’ve done
The battles that you’ve won
The way you deal with U.S. Steel
And our problems by the ton
We thank you so much.”

This performance was one of her last public appearances before her tragic death on August 5, 1962.

Monroe’s Dress is Hollywood History

Jean Louis, an Academy Award winner and costume designer, famously created the tight beaded dress for Monroe. However, it was sketched by Bob Mackie at the tender age of 22. It was his first job right out of college. The flesh-colored sheer fabric has over 6,000 hand-sewn crystals! It was said that Monroe was sewn into the gown, wearing nothing underneath. Might we dare say that this incredible seamless look paved the way for all ‘naked’ dresses we see today?

Marilyn Monroe

AP Images, Eric Kayne

Kennedy’s birthday bash was a fundraising event that had a total of 15,000 guests who paid to attend. The money raised was meant to pay off the Democratic National Committee’s deficit from the 1960 campaign.

Monroe’s performance was a shock not only to JFK, but the producers of Something’s Got to Give. No one thought she would commit to such an event as she rarely even came to set, suffering of constant headaches, fevers, and chronic bronchitis.

JFK and Monroe

CC Wikimedia Commons

Monroe was ultimately fired from the film, not only because of her absences, but because of Fox’s over-budget production of Cleopatra.  Something’s Got to Give was intended to offset Cleopatra‘s cost, but with Monroe’s no-shows putting them 11 days behind schedule, the film became a money pit. Executives attempted to have Monroe’s role replaced by Lee Remick. To their chagrin, Dean Martin had final approval of who was going to play the leading the lady, and he, of course, refused to continue filming without Monroe. Oh, those darn pesky contracts!

Setting the Record

On November 17, 2016, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! set a Guinness World Record for the “Most Expensive Dress Sold at Auction.” Ripley’s purchased the dress from Julien’s Auctions for a staggering $4.8 million. Add in auction fees, and the dress cost over $5 million!

“This is the most famous item of clothing in 20th century culture. It has the significance of Marilyn, of Hollywood, of JFK, of American politics. Any museum in the world would love to have it on display, and now it belongs to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!,” said Edward Meyer, Ripley’s Vice President of Exhibits and Archives

Marilyn Monroe and Edward

Edward Meyer unveils the dress. AP Images, Eric Kayne

Want to learn more about the iconic Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday dress? Read all about it in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Shatter Your Senses!

Marilyn Monroe Spread

The dress she wore is now the world’s most expensive dress purchased at auction, and it has a new home with Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Hollywood History Comes to Orlando!

We’re elated to say that you can now view the world’s most expensive dress at our Orlando Odditorium, but for a limited time only!

Guests will have the opportunity to view the original Gala Ticket to the event, the poster, as well as the exclusive program. Also included in this incredible exhibit is Monroe’s evening stole, made from highly valued Siberian silver fox. She wore it on numerous occasions. You can find other items from her extravagant wardrobe during your visit!

AP Images, Eric Kayne

See the dress that will remind you why Marilyn Monroe continues to be a Hollywood icon!

As Marilyn Monroe once said, “The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.” Come see the dress for yourself!

AP Images, Eric Kayne

Look like Monroe?

Do you have the looks, the walk, and talk of Marilyn Monroe? Well, why not participate in Ripley’s Marilyn Monroe Look-Alike Contest? The winner will be judged on attire, presentation, personality, audience response, and overall look and feel!

Participants will be required to perform a runway walk, sing or lipsync a Marilyn Monroe song, and participate in a Q&A.

Marilyn Monroe

AP Images, Eric Kayne

First place winner will win:

  • A cash prize of $500
  • Lifetime passes to Ripley Entertainment Attractions
  • A Ripley’s basket of merchandise, up to $100 value
  • Two-night stay at Holiday Inn and Suites Clearwater Beach

Second place winner will win:

  • A cash prize of $100
  • Two-night stay Oceanside Inn-Daytona Beach

Third place winner will win:

  • A cash prize of $50
  • A Ripley’s basket of merchandise

Click here to enter!

Movie Date with Marilyn

Don’t forget to save the date and come watch your favorite Marilyn Monroe film at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando.

  • Dec. 2nd Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Dec. 9th Some Like It Hot
  • Dec. 16th The Seven Year Itch
ripley's orlando odditorium

Hollywood history comes to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando