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Marilyn Monroe dress sells for $6.5m

AAP logoAAP 18/11/2016

The famous dress worn by Marilyn Monroe when she sang "happy birthday Mr President" to John F. Kennedy has sold for a world-record price at auction, fetching $US4.8 million ($A6.5 million).

The sheer, flesh-coloured design, which features more than 2500 hand-stitched crystals, had a pre-sale estimate of $US3 million before it went under the hammer at Julien's Auctions in Los Angeles.

It was bought by Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum for a total surpassing the previous most expensive dress sold at auction, Monroe's white dress from The Seven Year Itch, which went for $US4.6 million.

The custom-made Jean Louis gown was so tight fitting that Monroe was said to have been sewn into it before she performed for Kennedy on May 19, 1962, ahead of his 40th birthday.

The Hollywood star was found dead less than three months later, aged 36.

Monroe sang her version of happy birthday in her trademark sultry tones in front of 15,000 guests at a Democratic fundraiser at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Actor Peter Lawford had introduced the Some Like It Hot star as the "late Marilyn Monroe", referring to the actress's reputation for tardiness.

Under a bright spotlight, Monroe walked on stage and peeled away her white ermine fur coat to reveal her dress in one of her last public appearances before her death from a drug overdose.

The performance sparked rumours of an affair between Monroe and President Kennedy, who was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

Hundreds of Monroe's items are going up for auction over three days including the beaded cocktail dress worn by the actress in Some Like It Hot, which sold for $US375,000.

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