Byline: Aileen Mehle
It is almost a maxim that the best fiction is nonfiction. And that is what the rebirth of interest in the unsolved Oct. 12, 1964, murder of Mary Meyer, President John F. Kennedy’s last romantic interest, is all about.
Although several writers are poring through files and requesting release of material under the Freedom of Information Act, John H. Davis, the well-known biographer (“The Kennedys: Dynasty and Disaster”), is said to be on top of the story. Davis is continuing the research into the mystery that was begun by the late Leo Damore several years ago. Damore, who wrote “Senatorial Privilege,” an investigative work on Senator Ted Kennedy’s role in the tragedy at Chappaquiddick — it was on the bestseller list for a year — committed suicide earlier this month, but not before he had amassed several hundred pages of information including sensitive interviews for “Burden of Guilt,” an account of the secret life and subsequent murder of Mary Meyer, the Washington socialite whose former husband, political columnist Cord Meyer Jr., had been a high-ranking CIA operative. During her year-long affair with Kennedy, Mary’s brother-in-law, Ben Bradlee, a Kennedy pal, was Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief, later to be editor in chief of the Washington Post.
One of Mary’s curious legacies that came to light following her murder — almost a year after Kennedy’s assassination — was the highly explosive diary alleged to have documented every one of her 40 clandestine meetings with Kennedy. In his memoirs, “A Good Life,” Ben Bradlee mentions the incendiary diary, which he claims was returned to his then-wife Tony Meyer Bradlee, Mary’s sister, by James Jesus Angleton, the CIA chief of counterintelligence to whom Tony Bradlee had entrusted it after her sister’s murder. Tony knew that the diary was crammed with explosive Kennedy pillow talk and allegedly burned it right away.
The thrust of Damore’s quest was Mary’s carefully annotated account, reportedly Xeroxed by the late Angleton, and if so, who had the Xeroxes? What secrets had she and JFK discussed? Certainly, considering her friendship with James Angleton and his wife, Cicely, her kinship to the Ben Bradlees and, of course, her ex-CIA husband, Cord Meyer Jr., her trysts with JFK in the White House and at her Georgetown studio (recorded by the Secret Service), Mary Pinchot Meyer was in the middle of it all.
Leo Damore had delved beyond the tip of the iceberg and uncovered why Mary Meyer was so ignominiously killed after JFK’s death — and who was responsible, who was the hit man who shot her in the head as she walked along a Georgetown tow path one afternoon. Damore’s son has released his father’s notes to John Davis, who has begun work on a book. Since research has shown that Mary, a teenage pal of JFK’s since his days at Choate School, could well have been the love of his life, Davis’s working title is: “A Tale of Two Murdered Lovers: Mary Pinchot Meyer and John F. Kennedy.” Stand back.
The beautiful blonde model Vendela is getting married in August to Olaf Thomassen, a Norwegian businessman who has given her a nice, big, diamond ring. The big, white, elaborate wedding will take place in Sweden, Vendela’s native soil. You can catch the superbeauty in the flesh, sitting front and center, at Barney’s Beverly Hills tonight taking in the bridal fashion show at the Vera Wang in-house boutique, there to pick up ideas on her dress, her four bridesmaids’ dresses and frocks for her eight little flower girls. Afterwards, she and Vera will finalize it all down to the last shimmering button. You should know that the first model-bride will scoot down the runway on a minibike. What will they think of next? The bottom line is that Olaf is one lucky Norwegian. And that Vendela is one lucky Swede, especially when you think what she’s been through in the boyfriend department.
If Tom Cruise presents the Best Actress in a Comedy Award at the Golden Globes on Sunday, wouldn’t it be fun if the winner is his wife, Nicole Kidman, for her to-die-for performance in “To Die For.” That Tom is one lucky American. And that Nicole is one lucky Australian.
It ain’t Streisand, but it’s all in the family. Roslyn Kind, B. Streisand’s kid sister, has dropped her fiancA, Philadelphia lawyer Bob Rovner, after she found out he’d been dating others, as in cheating on her. Why, Bobbyboy even had to nerve to take one of his girlfriends to Roz’s concert! When Roz found out, she dumped him before he could hum “The Way We Were.” Now, Roz is threatening that if Rovner doesn’t stop calling and sending her letters, she’ll set her lawyers on him. Hell hath no fury like a woman two-timed.
Daniel Day-Lewis may be a daddy, but only at Christmas. Poppa Dan popped over to Paris to visit the beautiful star Isabelle Adjani, once a big thing in his love life, and their little son, Gabriel. Then he popped right out again — before Izzy could hum “The Way We Were.”
There’s still another contender in the exciting “Who’s the father?” stakes riveting the beau monde in Paris. Father, that is, of the baby expected by France’s President Jacques Chirac’s daughter, Claude. The newest maybe-daddy is Christopher Lambert, who joins the ranks of such other maybe-daddies as Nicholas Sarkrozy, Thierry Rey and Vincent Lindon. Here are four gentlemen who have all been more less stuck on Claude — and when you think some girls can’t even get a date. Whatever, the paternity question is moot, as Claude has already announced that she will bring up l’enfant all by herself.
Those cosmetics giants, the Lauder family, male and female, assembled at the Museum of Modern Art to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the great company begun by the matriarch, Estee Lauder, and bearing her name. Though Estee couldn’t be there, she sent a wonderful letter read by her son Ronald, there with his wife, Jo Carole, and his daughters Aerin and Jane. Also speaking about his marvelous mamma was Leonard Lauder, there with his wife, Evelyn, and his sons William and Gary and their wives, Karen and Laura. Then there were the new Lauder Girl, model/actress Elizabeth Hurley, and her boy, Hugh Grant. (But more of all this in Friday’s column, so keep reading.)