Marilyn Monroe sang her unforgettable rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the late President John F. Kennedy at a Madison Square Garden rally on May 19, 1962, 10 days before he turned 45. No photo was believed to have been taken of the two together that night — or ever — until one was discovered after the death of Kennedy’s official White House photographer, Cecil W. Stoughton, in 2008.
Now Long Island auction house Lelands is selling what it claims “very well could be the one and only print from the original negative.”
Stoughton took the picture of the two, along with Robert F. Kennedy, the late president’s brother and U.S. attorney general, during an after-party at Hollywood executive Arthur Krim’s Manhattan townhome, according to Lelands’ description of the photo. It was just months before Monroe’s death on Aug. 5.
Lelands founder and chairman Josh Evans told the Globe from the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, where he was displaying the photograph, that the fact that it came from Stoughton’s family was a major indicator of its validity.
The picture appears to have been developed “at least 10 years” after it was taken, according to Evans. The starting bid for the photograph is $2,500, and the auction runs through Aug. 17.