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President Kennedy Enjoys Premature Birthday Celebration in NYC

May 24, 1963 - President Kennedy spent a pleasant evening last night at a premature birthday dinner given for him in New York City by the President’s Club of New York. Mr. Kennedy (pictured with singer Barbra Streisand last night), who turns 46 on May 29, heard a show-stopping performance of “When The Saints Go Marching In” by Louis Armstrong and a dozen other stage, screen, and television personalities; heard Audrey Hepburn — reportedly his favorite actress — sing “Happy Birthday” to him; and responded with a brief speech of thanks. The President said the Democrats were “the party of hope” and it was natural that theater people “should find themselves at home in the party of hope.” More than 600 members of the President’s Club, each of whom had obtained his membership by giving $1,000 or more this year to the Democratic National Committee, attended the party in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The show portion of the evening was produced and directed by Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote the book and lyrics for “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot.” Carol Channing opened by singing “Little Girl from Little Rock” and impersonating Ethel Merman and Rosalind Russell. Then Bob Newhart satirized television and the tobacco industry in monologues. Ann-Margaret sang “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home,” and Jimmy Durante, wearing a Kennedy-style wig, followed with “Start Off Each Day With a Song.” Then Peter Lawford, the President’s brother-in-law, sang to Mr. Durante, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face.” In the finale, Mitch Miller’s male chorus entered, singing “Together.” The chorus was made up of Eddie Fisher, Henry Fonda, Robert Preston, Van Johnson, Mr. Lawford, Mel Ferrer, Tony Randall, Donald O’Connor, Bobby Darin, Ed Sullivan, and David Susskind. They were followed by the entire cast, led by Louis Armstrong, singing “The Saints” and dancing impromptu shuffles and twists. Then Miss Hepburn sang “Happy Birthday.”


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