May 19, 1962. At a birthday tribute to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in New York, Marilyn Monroe sings her famously breathless version of ‘Happy Birthday’. The concert was 10 days before Kennedy’s actual 45th birthday. Part of what has made Monroe’s performance so memorable are the rumours that she had had an affair and was even in love with Kennedy. It was also one of her last performances in public; she was found dead in her home less than three months later. The dress she wore at the birthday tribute sold for more than one and a quarter million dollars at an auction in 1999.
Also on May 19: Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII of England’s second wife is beheaded for adultery, treason and incest (1536); start of the Turkish War of Independence (1919); death of Lawrence of Arabia (1935).
Born on May 19: Ho Chi Minh (1890), Malcolm X (1925), Pol Pot (1925), Grace Jones (1948).