Retro | Vintage

A Journalist Believed She'd Discovered The Truth Behind JFK's Murder, Then She Turned Up Dead

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You probably remember Dorothy Kilgallen from the show What's my Line?. No, it's not an early version of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. This show was a long-running panel game show where celebrities would ask a contestant questions so they could guess his or her line of work.

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The night before she was murdered, Kilgallen appeared on the show and correctly guessed the occupation of a mystery guess. It's these keen investigative skills that most likely got her killed.

What She Knew

Dorothy Kilgallen was an investigative reporter, who had been working for 18 months on gathering information on the JFK assassination.

“I’m going to break the real story and have the biggest scoop of the century,” she told her ­lawyer.

Kilgallen and Kennedy were close friends, so when he died she took it very personally.

“The American people have just lost a beloved president,” she wrote in her column. “It’s a dark chapter in our history, but we have the right to read every word of it.”

Kilgallen was killed just two weeks before a meeting with a secret informant, referring to the gathering as "very cloak and daggerish."  The journalist always believed that theories of Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone were "laughable." She kept digging, pissing off then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover when she obtained and published the testimony of Jack Ruby, who shot Oswald at Dallas police headquarters. Kilgallen never released her source, saying "I’d rather die than reveal the source.”

Rock Hudson with Dorothy Kilgallen (left) and Tallulah Bankhead (right) in 1959.AP

“If the wrong people knew what I know about the JFK assassination, it would cost me my life," Kilgallen said to a close friend.

Little did she know, she was right.

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