Marilyn Monroe's 'Happy Birthday Mr. President' dress auctions for $4.8M

The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she famously sang Happy Birthday to U.S. President John. F. Kennedy sells for nearly $5 million at a Los Angeles auction.

Flesh-coloured and form-fitting outfit covered with over 2,500 hand-stitched crystals

Marilyn Monroe wears the iconic gown that she wore while singing Happy Birthday to U.S. President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, during a reception in New York City on May 19, 1962. Standing next to Monroe is Steve Smith, Kennedy's brother-in-law. (Cecil Stoughton/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library/Associated Press)

Officials say a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she famously sang Happy Birthday to U.S. President John. F. Kennedy has sold for nearly $5 million at a Los Angeles auction.

Julien's Auctions says that the iconic, form-fitting gown was sold for $4.8 million Thursday night to Ripley's Believe It or Not.

The company says in a news release that the actress wore the Hollywood designer Jean Louis creation — flesh-coloured and sparkling with over 2,500 hand-stitched crystals — on May 19, 1962, for an early 45th birthday celebration for Kennedy at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Monroe's breathy rendition of the birthday song has been broadcast repeatedly since, adding to the lore surrounding the screen icon.

It was just a few months later on Aug. 5, that the 36-year-old Monroe was found dead from what the Los Angeles district attorney's office ruled was an overdose of barbiturates.

Monroe's famous dress is displayed at Christie's auction house in New York in 1999. (Reuters)