It was 48 years ago today that Marilyn Monroe was literally sewn into a see-through gown and carried out to the stage of Madison Square Garden to serenade President John F. Kennedy for his birthday. LIFE photographer Bill Ray took this famous picture of Marilyn’s ass. And Hank Jones, the legendary jazz pianist who accompanied her breathy version of “Happy Birthday,” died on Sunday in New York at the age of 91. JFK and Marilyn Monroe didn’t make it nearly that long — she was found dead less than three months later, and his head was blown apart by assassins the following year.
Here’s the famous performance:
Jack Benny was there! So was LBJ! And so was, presumably, Kennedy’s wife, Jacqueline, who maybe did not enjoy this musical sex performance as much as the tuxedo-clad martini-swilling boys did, on this spring night in Manhattan a half-century ago. [LIFE.com]
PS — And here is Hank Jones at Carnegie Hall in 1994, playing “Willow Weep For Me” at the Verve anniversary concert: