In a letter written a month before his 1963 assassination, then-President John F. Kennedy had a heartfelt message for one of his alleged mistresses who later died under suspicious circumstances. Kennedy’s much-talked about affairs have become synonymous with his legacy and biographers and historians are still trying to separate rumor from fact when it comes to flings with stars like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and more. But some of the affairs have been as good as confirmed by witness accounts, diary entries and, in the case of Mary Pinchot Meyer, letters.
Mary Pinchot Meyer first met JFK when the two were prep school students but allegedly began an affair in the 1960s. Pinchot Meyer was marred to a CIA agent named Cord Meyer and the couple were friends with JFK and Jackie Kennedy, even living near the future President and First Lady in Washington D.C.
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Their affair allegedly carried on until JFK’s death in 1963 and, a year later, Pinchot Meyer also met a tragic end when she was murdered while walking in Georgetown.
A 2016 auction resurfaced a 1963 letter allegedly written by JFK but never sent to Pinchot Meyer. “Why don’t you leave suburbia for once – come and see me – either here – or at the Cape next week or in Boston the 19th,” Kennedy allegedly wrote, per People, in the four-page letter. “I know it is unwise, irrational, and that you may hate it – on the other hand you may not – and I will love it.” He continued: “You say that it is good for me not to get what I want. After all of these years – you should give me a more loving answer than that. Why don’t you just say yes,” signing the letter off with a simple ‘J.’ On November 22 of the same year the President was shot dead while on an official visit to Dallas, Texas.
On October 12, 1964, Pinchot Meyer was shot in the head while taking an afternoon walk, People reports. Her murder remains unsolved. Nina Burleigh, who wrote a 1999 biography about Pinchot Meyer, says, “Passersby heard screams and a witness looked over the wall and saw a man standing near her body. The police came and shortly arrested a Black male [Ray Crump Jr.] soaking wet who said he fell into the Potomac while fishing. … No gun was ever found.” Crump plead not guilty and was acquitted at trial because of a lack of evidence. “The theory is that she had to die because she knew too much,” says Burleigh.
”Her murder just ten days after the Warren Commission report was released makes a lot of people suspicious that she had to be silenced,” Burleigh notes with reference to the investigation into JFK’s assassination. She adds: “She lived in a world of secrets … the secrets of spies running complicated international plots, trying to control a dangerous world at the dawn of the nuclear age.”
Adding to the suspicious nature of her death is claims from Pinchot Meyer’s brother-in-law, Ben Bradlee, who alleges that he caught chief of CIA counterintelligence James Angleton breaking into Pinchot Meyer’s artist studio on the night of her murder to retrieve her diary.
Bradlee allegedly claimed that Angleton told him he was concerned for JFK’s reputation and, consequently, broke in to hide the evidence that was stored the diary. Bradlee claims he later took the diary back from Angleton after learning he had kept it. “Despite the braying of the knee jerks about some public right to know,” Bradlee claims his wife, Pinchot Meyer’s sister Antoinette “Tony” Pinchot, burned the diary.
The diary allegedly contained references to her affair with the President without explicitly using his name.
Burleigh notes that JFK and Pinchot Meyer’s affair likely began sometime between 1961 and 1962. “Her name first appears on the White House logs in October 1962,” she says. “She was by his side… She was often signed in when Jackie was away…” It is unclear whether Jackie was aware of the alleged tryst. “Maybe, nobody knows,” says Burleigh. “She would sometimes seat them together. Either that meant she trusted her or she thought Mary was keeping Kennedy entertained in a good way.”
Before you go, click here to see photos of JFK and Jackie O.’s grown-up grandkids.
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