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Posts Tagged ‘biographies of first ladies’

Carla Bruni proudly parades her growing bump as she makes her way into the launch event for her foundation to combat illiteracy at Centre Pompidou modern art museum, also known as Beaubourg, in Paris (May 17, 2011)

It was confirmed today that France‘s First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy is pregnant, possibly with twins due in October. Speaking to German newspaper Bild, her father-in-law, Pal Sarkozy, 82, said, ‘I’m glad to be having a grandchild.’ He went on to say that neither his son, French President Nicolas Sarkozy nor his daughter-in-law Bruni

 ‘want to know the sex the child, but I’m sure it’s a girl who’ll be as beautiful as Carla’.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy poses with then girlfriend Carla Bruni at the Giza pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 30, 2007. They would wed on Feb. 2, 2008, having known one another for only 9 weeks.

President Sarkozy, 55, – ‘Sarko’ – has three sons, Pierre, 26, and Jean, 24, from his first marriage to Marie-Dominique Culioli, and Louis, 14, with his second wife, Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz. Bruni, 43, is already a mother to Aurelien, born in 2001. His father was her then lover, the Paris philosopher Raphael Enthoven.

The announcement ends weeks of speculation that Bruni is expecting.

Source: The Daily Mail

Read more about Carla Bruni here.

 

 

 

 

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Jackie Kennedy wears the famous pink suit in this 1962 photo. She is looking at plans for Lafayette Square.

President John F. Kennedy looked out the window of his Fort Worth, Texas, hotel suite. The November sky was dark and threatening. It looked like rain. Forecasters predicted cool weather. The president advised his wife Jackie to dress warmly for the long and demanding day and personally selected her oufit. He chose a pink wool suit with three-quarter-length sleeves and a blue underblouse. To it, Jackie added a pink pillbox hat and white gloves.   

Jackie, 34,  had worn the suit before – she called its color “raspberry” – and it was one of the president’s favorites.  He had told mutual friend Susan Mary Alsop that Jackie, his wife of ten years, looked “ravishing in it.” (1)   

President and Mrs. Kennedy at the White House, October 1962. Jackie Kennedy is wearing the pink wool Chez Ninon she wore in Dallas, November 22, 1963

Jacqueline Kennedy‘s pink suit was made in 1961 by the New York dress salon, Chez Ninon. It was a copy of a Chanel pink boucle wool suit trimmed with a navy blue collar. (1)   

   

Jackie Kennedy was a style icon. People noticed what she wore. Kennedy critics were quick to pounce when Jackie wore Paris fashions. Jack urged his wife to buy American and she did. Such a move was both financially and politically savvy. The Chez Ninon knockoff cost between $800 and $1,000 compared to over $10,000 for a custom-made Chanel suit.  Plus, he and Jackie were in Texas with Vice President Lyndon Johnson and wife Lady Bird to officially kick off their 1964 presidential campaign. They had to minimize the fallout from Jackie’s expensive French taste.   

Jackie’s pink suit was a hit at the Fort Worth breakfast that morning. The president beamed at the attention she drew, noting that “nobody notices what Lyndon and I wear.” A short plane ride later, they were disembarking at Dallas Love Field to a promising reception. Jackie was presented red roses.   

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

The sun had come out and the day had become unseasonably warm. The Kennedys climbed into the back seat of the presidential limousine to begin the winding 11-mile route through downtown Dallas where the president was to speak at a Trade Mart luncheon. Texas Governor John Connally and wife Nellie got into the jumpseat in front of the Kennedys and behind the driver and two Secret Service agents.   

The presidential limo was a midnight blue 1961 Lincoln that had been flown in from Washington, D.C. Because the weather was so nice, the plastic bubble top had been removed and the bullet-proof side windows were rolled down. This is how President Kennedy preferred to ride. At 11:50 a.m., the 12-car motorcade with its motorcycle escort and Secret Service attendants left the airport “on its rendevous with fate.” It was November 22, 1963. (2)   

The crowds lined the parade route so thickly that the motorcade moved at a crawl of only 6-7 miles an hour. The president clearly loved the warm Texas welcome, smiling and waving at all the friendly faces.   

JFK and Jackie ride in the presidential limo through the streets of Dallas, November 22, 1963. Texas Governor John Connally sits up front.

The temperature was 76 degrees. The sun was blindingly hot. Jackie was wearing wool.  She shielded her eyes from the big Texas sun with her trademark sunglasses.   

The people shouted, “Jack, Jackie!” recalled Nellie Connally. “They seemed to want her as much as they wanted him.” She could hear Jack say to Jackie,” Take your glasses off….When you’re riding in a car like this, in a parade, if you have your dark glasses on, you might as well have stayed at home.”

November 22, 1963: Up front, Texas Governor John Connally and wife Nellie ride with the President and Mrs. Kennedy through downtown Dallas.

Nellie Connally smiled to know that Texans were treating their president with such courtesy. She turned to him and said,   

Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.” (3)

Thirty seconds later, at 12:30 p.m., three shots rang out. The 35th President of the United States was shot. As the car sped toward Parkland Hospital, Kennedy slumped in his wife’s lap, his blood and brain fragments staining her pink wool suit, gloves, stockings.  Jackie crawled out the back of the limo for help from the Secret Service riding in the car behind them.

In an image from the Zapruder film, a fatally-wounded President Kennedy slumps over as Secret Service agent Clint Hill leaps onto the president’s car and pushes Jacqueline Kennedy back.

At the hospital, the doctors worked feverishly to save the president but it was futile. President Kennedy was declared dead, his once vital body loaded limply into a coffin. Jackie accompanied his body to Dallas Love Field where it was loaded onto Air Force One to be flown to Washington.

In her bedroom on board the plane, Jackie’s personal assistant had laid out a fresh outfit for the First Lady. Despite urging from staffers and handlers to “clean up her appearance,” Jackie  refused to get out of her bloodied clothes. She shook her head hard:

No, let them see what they’ve done.”  

Just hours after her husband's assassination, widow Jackie Kennedy stands next to Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One as he is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States. Although her personal assistant laid out a fresh change of clothes on her bed aboard the plane, Jackie refused to change out of her blood-spattered clothing. Also aboard Air Force One was the casket carrying the body of President John F. Kennedy, age 46.

Somehow, that was one of the most poignant sights,” Mrs. Johnson later wrote, “that immaculate woman exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood.”  

At Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., JFK's brother Attorney General Bobby Kennedy meets Jackie Kennedy when she arrives on Air Force One with the coffin carrying her slain husband's body. Note Jackie's bloodstained suit. Her left leg is caked in blood.

It was not until 5 a.m. the next morning at the White House that Jackie took off the bloodied suit, bathed, and changed outfits. Her mother put the suit in a plastic bag and stored it in her house for many years.   

The suit was never cleaned and never will be. It sits today, unfolded and shielded from light, in an acid-free container in a windowless room somewhere inside the National Archives and Records Administration’s complex in Maryland; the precise location is kept secret. The temperature hovers between 65 and 68 degrees; the humidity is 40 percent; the air is changed six times an hour. (4)  

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the pink pillbox hat remain a mystery. It has never been found.  Somewhere inside Parkland Hospital, the hat came off.  Jackie’s personal secretary, Mary Gallagher recalls:

While standing there I was handed Jackie’s pillbox hat and couldn’t help noticing the strands of her hair beneath the hat pin. I could almost visualize her yanking it from her head.”

What happened to the hat after that is unknown. Mary Gallagher lost track of it.

(1) Source   

(2) Source   

(3) Source   

(4) Source: The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 30, 2011. 

Readers: For more on Jackie Kennedy, click here.

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Imelda Marcos (b. 1929), “one of the ten richest women in the world” (Cosmopolitan magazine, December, 1975)

In December, 1975, Cosmopolitan magazine named Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Phillippines, as one of the ten richest women in the world. It even went a step further and speculated that Imelda was perhaps the richest woman in the world, richer than Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Everyone knew Imelda was rich; she made sure of that. She had an insatiable desire for expensive things and flaunted them. No one at the time really knew where she got all the money that she spent so impulsively. She was, after all, unemployed and had no independent wealth. In addition, her husband, the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, had made less than $5,000 a year for the last ten years in office.

Nonetheless, there was Imelda, spending $40,000 on a Honolulu shopping spree in 1974, without trying anything on. Her excess knew no limits and she spared herself no luxury:

“Another report had Imelda and a gaggle of friends demanding Bloomingdale’s in New York be closed for a private shopping extravaganza, then marching through the store pointing to desired items and saying, ‘Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.’”(1) She was referred to by one sales clerk as ‘the Mine Girl.’

Imelda Marcos from a Vanity Fair interview, 2007

Imelda Marcos from a Vanity Fair interview, 2007

Responding to criticism of her self-indulgence and the spending of public money for high-profile projects that did nothing to alleviate the poverty of the Filipinos, Imelda remarked that is was her “duty” to be “some kind of light, a star to give [the poor] guidelines.”

By 1981, Imelda’s personal popularity was at an all-time high. She jetsetted around the globe, shopping and hobnobbing with celebrities such as the perennially-tanned American actor George Hamilton.

After having secured the Miss Universe Pageant for the Philippines in 1974 – which necessitated the rapid construction of the 10,000-seat Folks Art Center – Imelda continued to indulge her “edifice complex,” building 14 luxury hotels, a multimillion-dollar Nutrition Center, Convention Center, Heart Center and, in 1981, the infamous Manila Film Center.

Imelda Marcos designed the Manila Film Center after the Greek Parthenon, shown here.

Imelda wanted Manila to rival Cannes as a world film capital. At the cost of $25 million, Imelda approved plans for the Manila Film Center to be built to host an international film festival. Opening night was set for January 18, 1982. The project was grandiose and expensive; the building on Manila Bay was designed to look like the Parthenon.

Delays hampered the progress. As the deadline drew nearer, it required 4,000 workers, working in 3 shifts, around the clock, if the building was going to be ready.

Then, at 3 a.m. on November 17, the upper scaffold collapsed and sent workers falling into wet cement. A witness said that some of the workers were impaled on upright steel bars.

Imelda was contacted about the accident. She was told that the recovery of the bodies would take alot of  time – time, evidently, that Imelda didn’t want to give up. She ordered the construction to continue as planned and that the bodies – maybe as many as 169 – be covered with cement. It is believed that many of those who fell into the cement may have been buried alive.

The full story has never been told, as news crews, rescuers, and ambulance teams were barred from the scene for nine full hours, while the government, under martial law, prepared its official version of events, censoring all news and silencing all witnesses.

Despite all, the festival opened on schedule on January18, 1981, and had among its guests Brooke Shields, Franco Nero, Ben Kingsley, and Robert Duvall. The first film shown in the theater was the tasteful bioepic, “Gandhi.”  Unknowingly, the stars partied atop a mausoleum of dead workers.

Brooke Shields (b. 1965) was only 16 years old when she traveled to Manila for the international film festival as the guest of First Lady Imelda Marcos.

“During opening night, Imelda ‘strode on stage in a Joe Salazar black and emerald green terno with a hemline thick with layer upon layer of peacock feathers.’ “Some said there were diamonds embedded in the skirt.

The next year, as a result of the accident scandal, the government withheld $5 million in festival funding. Imelda was in a fix. She had to pay for the festival somehow, so she ran pornography films in the festival’s second and, understandably, last year.

(1) Klaffke, Pamela. Spree: A Cultural History of Shopping.

Readers: For more on Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos on this blog, click here.   

A close-up of Imelda Marcos looking into a gold-plated compact mirror, her first name encrusted in diamonds. Called the ‘Steel Butterfly,’ Imelda Marcos was the beautiful wife and confidante of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos regime (1965-86) was marked by notorious corruption, political repression, and financial improprieties of the highest order.

For other resources, click here.

 

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J

Justine Lévy, the French author of "Nothing Serious" (titled "Rien de Grave" in France,) a thinly-veiled fictional account based on Ms. Lévy’s bad encounter with husband-stealer Carla Bruni, whom she calls "The Terminator."

“On Wednesday evening, Sept. 21, 2005, the designer Diane von Furstenberg hosted a cocktail party in honor of Justine Lévy, the author of Nothing Serious (titled Rien de Grave in France), a roman à clef based on Ms. Lévy’s recent, sensational personal life.

Ms. Lévy, 31, is the dewy daughter of the French celebrity-philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, and her book whipped up quite a scandal in France, illuminating certain universal truths about men, women and sex, and even jostling The Da Vinci Code from the best-seller list in the process.

…Ms. Lévy had a rather tragic encounter with the supermodel-cum-chanteuse Carla Bruni—the Angelina Jolie of Europe.

Ms. Lévy was married to a rising philosopher named Raphaël Enthoven, who was the son of her father’s best friend, Jean-Paul. She had a late-term abortion at the insistence of her career-obsessed husband and went through a messy two-year addiction to amphetamines.

That was before Ms. Bruni arrived on the scene. Ms. Bruni had somewhat of a home-wrecking reputation and was credited in the press with causing Mick Jagger’s split from his wife. In 2003, she remade herself into a pop singer and won the 2004 Victoires de la Musique in France.

Carla Bruni sings at the 2004 Victoires de la Musique in France

She was also, at one point, the mistress of Ms. Lévy’s father-in-law. She dumped the father for the son [Raphaël], shattering Ms. Lévy’s Raphaël Enthoven Jr. were married and have a son, Aurélien, born in 2001.]

Carla Bruni, former husband Raphaël Enthoven, and their son, Aurélien, circa 2003-2004

Nothing Serious, …published … by Melville House, is a fictionalized version of this story, with characters thinly disguised through pseudonyms. Of the Ms. Bruni–type character, the book’s femme-bot ‘Paula,’ Ms. Lévy writes:

‘I thought she was beautiful and dangerous with that immobile face, as if sculpted out of wax, when she smiled her bones sort of moved to reveal her teeth …. I thought she was beautiful and bionic, with the look of a killer,”’referring to her as the ‘Terminator.”

…(of Bruni, Lévy said):

 ‘If I see her, I kill her.’ “(1)

(1) Kolhatkar, Sheelah.  “It’s A Chattefight As Novelist Levy Nips Carla Bruni”. The New York Observer, October 2, 2005.

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Italian model Marpessa, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Carla Bruni, and Cindy Crawford at a Versace gala, 1992. Photo: Marina Garnier

Back in 1992, Carla Bruni (b. 1967) – First Lady of France, Italian heiress, international supermodel, singer – was romantically linked to Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger.

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

At the time, Jagger was married to supermodel Jerry Hall, who blamed Carla for the breakup of her marriage.

“Hall is said to be so jealous of Bruni that at a rock concert in London this summer she poured a mug of beer on Jean Pigozzi’s head and drove him from the backstage V.I.P. area, accusing him of having entertained Mick and Carla at his Cap d’Antibes compound.” (1)

Nevertheless, when interviewed by Bob Colacello of Vanity Fair that November, Bruni vigorously denied having an affair with Mick, although the press and close friends confirmed the affair.

At the time of the interview, Carla was flying high as an international supermodel, making over a million dollars a year. She had been on the covers of Harpers & Queen, Italian Elle, and Marie Claire, and was seen that month gliding down about 70 runways at the Paris, Milan, and New York ready-to-wear collections.

The video clip below shows Carla Bruni (Sarkozy) on the runway 1991-1995. Fashion designers featured include Dior, Versace, Chanel, Chantal Thomas.

Before Jagger, Bruni had been linked romantically linked to Donald Trump (when married to Marla Maples) and Eric Clapton.

Carla Bruni and Eric Clapton at a benefit for rain forests about 1992.

Clearly, the publicity had not hurt her career, Bruni confessed to Vanity Fair:

“‘A knife has two sides, the good side and the bad side. The good side is that the publicity is going to bring me more work and more money. The bad side is that it hurts….

Maybe I can get a subscription to scandals. Once a year. Every time my modeling rate goes down. Whom am I going to get next year? Hmmm.'”(1)

(1) Colacello, Bob.  “La Dolce Carla.” Vanity Fair, November, 1992.

Readers: For more on Carla Bruni, click here.

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Carla Bruni and Arno Klarsfeld at a 1995 Gianni Versace show.

First Lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was raised as the daughter of Italian concert pianist Marisa Borini and industrialist and classical composer Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi. However, in a 2008 interview published in Vanity Fair magazine, Bruni-Sarkozy revealed a bombshell: Her biological father is not really Bruni-Tedeschi.

Carla found out about her illegitimate birth in 1996, at age 28, when her legal father, Bruni-Tedeschi, was gravely ill. He summoned Carla to his deathbed and spilled the long-kept secret:  Genetically, he revealed, Carla was not his daughter. Rather, he went on, she is the love child born of an affair his wife conducted for six years with a man half her age. Carla’s biological father is the Italian-born, Brazilian grocery magnate Maurizio Remmert, who, as a young classical guitarist, met Marisa Borini when the two played in a quintet together.

How did Carla react to the news?

 “It was not a shock, and that is how I knew it was true, because I felt calm when he told me that,” says Carla. “I think lies are toxic for children, much more than a bad truth. Sometimes lies, when you are growing up, make you walk in a funny way to adapt. But I felt relieved. Isn’t it strange? I stopped feeling weird.”

Carla Bruni with mother Marisa Borini

Although Bruni-Tedeschi asked her not to tell her mother of their conversation, Carla did anyway, confronting her mother about a year later, after her father’s death. Her mother confirmed the truth, saying:

“What did you expect me to do? Go into the nursery to announce this to you?”

(That should tell us a little bit about Marisa, the mother….)

Carla Bruni's 2 millionnaire dads: Alberto Bruni Tedeschi (left) said on his deathbed that Maurizio Remmert (right) is Carla's real dad.

In 2008, Carla’s biological dad Remmert broke his 40-year silence on the matter and confirmed that he is Carla’s real dad. Remmert lives in São Paulo, where he is a grocery magnate, and Carla is in frequent contact with him. Since learning the painful truth, Carla has been through years of therapy.

Also check out these related posts:

“Carla Bruni Sings at Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert” and “Carla Bruni, Homewrecker?”

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Jackie and President Jack Kennedy land at Orly Airport, Paris, on May 31, 1961

It was May 31, 1961, when Air Force One, carrying  American President John and First Lady Jackie Kennedy, landed on the tarmac at Orly Airport in Paris. The president was less than five months into his term of office and this was his first European stop. The Kennedys were greeted by French President Charles DeGaulle and Madame DeGaulle. The contrast between the trim and stylist Americans and their “grizzled” counterparts was striking.

“As soon as the crowds pressed against the airport fences spotted Jackie in her navy-blue silk suit and black velvet pillbox hat, they broke into a rhythmic chant: ‘Vive Jacqui! Vive Jacqui!’ (1)

First Lady Jackie Kennedy is greeted warmly by Parisians on May 31, 1961. Her style was understated: a wool suit, double strand of pearls, and her trademark pillbox hat. The French were captivated by "Zhak-kee."

Hundreds of thousands of people followed their motorcade through the streets of Paris, waving little French and American flags as the open limousine carrying Jack and DeGaulle passed by. When the second car appeared, carrying Jackie and Madame DeGaulle, the crowd sent up a wild roar.  Later, during an official luncheon at the Palais de L’Elysée, Jackie chattered away in French about Louis XVI, the Bourbons, and French geography. DeGaulle turned to Jack Kennedy and said:

‘Your wife knows more French history than any Frenchwoman!’ [He then] turned back to Jackie and did not take his eyes off her for the rest of the meal.” (1)

The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

The next night was the big event of the three-day visit: a candlelit supper in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palais de Versailles. Jackie wanted to look extra good. But to look good, Jackie had to “feel good” – and Jackie didn’t.  She suffered from migraines and depression since her C-section 6 months earlier.  Jack didn’t feel good either. His back pain was  agonizing.  That’s why, on this trip to Europe, Jack had brought along not just his extra-firm horsehair mattress but New York physician Max Jacobson. Presidential photographer and friend Mark Shaw had referred President Kennedy to Dr. Jacobson. Jacobson’s “miracle injections” instantly stopped Jack Kennedy’s pain. Jack didn’t know what was in the shots – only that they worked.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy wore this graceful Givenchy gown to the June 1, 1961 dinner at the Palace of Versailles.

The night of the Versailles dinner, Max visited Jack Kennedy at the Palais des Affaires Estrangères. Jack occupied a suite of rooms called “the King’s Chamber” in the elegant 19th Century palace on the Quai d’Orsay. The president soaked his back in “a gold-plated bathtub the size of a pingpong table” (2) then Max gave him his customary injection. Max then ambled down the long hallway to the Queen’s Chamber and was admitted to Jackie’s bedroom.

“Jackie sat in front of a mirror, being fussed over by Alexandre, the famous Parisian hairdresser, and a bevy of his assistants….In another part of the room, Jackie’s maid was laying out two different gowns for the evening – one an American design by Oleg Cassini, and the other a French creation by Hubért de Givenchy. Earlier, Jackie had planned to wear the Cassini [Jack preferred her to wear American clothes], but then she was not so sure.”   (2)
 

Alexandre finished with Jackie’s hair and left the room so she could slip into her gown. But first Jackie motioned to Max. She was ready for her shot. The short, dark-haired man with the red cheeks and German accent reached into his black doctor’s bag and withdrew a syringe.

“He injected his magic elixir into her buttock. She was ready for Versailles. She took one last look at the two ball gowns hanging side-by-side…and chose the one she knew would attract the more favorable reaction from the French press [and play up her French bloodline]. She slipped into the Givenchy….” (2)

Jackie Kennedy with French President, Charles de Gaulle, June 1, 1961

Jackie Kennedy dazzled French President Charles DeGaulle at this June 1, 1961, dinner in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. 150 guests ate a 6-course dinner served on Napoleon's gold-trimmed china. Jackie sported an elaborate topknot with a diamond tiara. Her rhinestone-studded white satin gown with embroidered bodice was by French designer Givenchy.

Jackie dazzled everyone at the dinner, and it is no wonder. Dr. Jacobson’s shots were a mixture of amphetamines, vitamins, painkillers, and human placenta. (3)  The mysterious physician referred to his particular brand of therapy as “miracle tissue regeneration.”

“You feel like Superman,” said writer Truman Capote, one of the high-profile clients who experienced instant euphoria from Dr. Feelgood’s injections of ‘speed.’ “You’re flying. Ideas come at the speed of light. You go 72 hours straight without so much as a coffee break….Then you crash….” (2)

The crash for Dr. Jacobson came in 1969 when his patient and Kennedy friend Mark Shaw died at the young age of 47 due to “acute and chronic intravenous amphetamine poisoning.” The Bureau of Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs discovered that Dr. Jacobson was buying huge quantities of amphetamines in order to deliver high level amphetamine doses to his clients. “Miracle Max” and many of his clients had become amphetamine addicts. Dr. Jacobson’s medical license was revoked in 1975.  

(1) Spoto, Donald. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.

(2) Klein, Edward. All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1996.

(3) Leaming, Lawrence. The Kennedy Women: The Saga of An American Family. New York: Random House, 1994.

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Jackie Kennedy holds son John F. Kennedy, Jr., born November 25, 1960, 16 days after his father, John F. Kennedy won the presidential election. He was nicknamed "John-John." Three years later on his own birthday, John F. Kennedy, Jr., would salute his father's coffin at his funeral.

Jackie Kennedy holds son John F. Kennedy, Jr., born November 25, 1960, 16 days after his father, John F. Kennedy won the presidential election. He was nicknamed “John-John.” Three years later on his own birthday, John F. Kennedy, Jr. would salute his father’s coffin at his funeral.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994) is remembered for many things, her fashion statements, her redecoration of the White House, her brave young face at the 1963 funeral of her slain husband President John F. Kennedy. There were many things she cared about. But what mattered to her most in life was raising her two children, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Caroline Kennedy (Schlossberg), to be good people. She said:

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”

She wanted so much for her children to lead normal lives. But, in the aftermath of JFK‘s assassination, it proved to be an impossible dream. She tried to continue living in their Georgetown home but tour buses added it to their route and reporters mobbed them on their doorstep. The crowds were too much to bear.

“The world is pouring terrible adoration at the feet of my children,” she’d once confided to her decorator Billy Baldwin, “and I fear for them, for this awful exposure. How can I bring them up normally?” (1)

Jackie ended up moving them all to New York where, to her dismay, she discovered her children weren’t being invited for playdates and parties by their school friends. It turned out that their parents were intimated by the Kennedy children’s fame.

Jackie Kennedy, wife of then-Senator John F. Kennedy, reads a bedtime story to daughter, Caroline, at the family home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. Jackie Kennedy loved books and passed this joy on to her children. September 13, 1960

Jackie Kennedy, wife of then-Senator John F. Kennedy, reads a bedtime story to daughter, Caroline, at the family home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. Jackie Kennedy loved books and passed this joy on to her children. September 13, 1960

In the post-JFK years, Jackie wasn’t just mobbed by tourists and reporters. The beautiful and charming young widow was besieged by male suitors, among them author Philip Roth, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and director Mike Nichols. Jackie’s friend and White House advisor Letitia Baldrige said that, even in the pre-JFK years, “she [Jackie] had more men per square inch than any woman I’ve ever known.”

Jackie Kennedy Onassis with husband Ari Onassis on June 5, 1969, at New York's Kennedy Airport

Jackie Kennedy Onassis with husband Ari Onassis on June 5, 1969, at New York’s Kennedy Airport

By 1968, Jackie’s most serious – and unlikely –  suitor was Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, “Ari,” for short. Whereas Jackie was cultured, sleek, and classy, Onassis was short, paunchy, and often rumpled and vulgar. Plus, he was 23 years Jackie’s senior. The Kennedy clan despised him. JFK’s younger brother, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, who was running for president that year, urged Jackie to break off her relationship with Onassis. She promised him that she would put off talk of marriage until after the presidential election.

Then, on June 5, 1968,  just moments after winning the California primary, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Jackie was devastated – and terrified.

I despise America,” a distraught Jackie told a friend. “If they are killing Kennedys, my children are the No. 1 targets. I want to get out of this country.”

She did, on October 20, when, in a small private ceremony, she wed Ari Onassis on the Greek isle of Skorpios. She was 39; he was 62. (1)

Readers, I’ve written several posts on the Kennedy family. Scroll down the sidebar to the right: Categories – Kennedys. Among them are:
“How to Be Jackie O”
“Did Jackie Love Bobby Best?”

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Carla Bruni's famous backside, photographed by Helmut Newton, long before she became First Lady of France
Carla Bruni’s famous backside, photographed by Helmut Newton, long before she became First Lady of France

 Bob Colacello of Vanity Fair magazine interviewed Carla Bruni for this November 1992 article titled “La Dolce Carla”:

It’s no wonder 24-year-old Carla Bruni has been linked, fairly or not, to several famous older men with names like Jagger, Clapton, and Trump. When the author caught up with the Italian model on the Riviera, he found her as smart and beautiful as she is charming and, well, beautiful.

Carla Bruni, the 24-year-old Italian-born model who may or may not have broken up Mick Jagger’s 15-year union with Jerry Hall, comes to the door of her parents’ house near Saint-Tropez wearing a bathing suit of van Gogh sunflowers on a blue Lycra field, cut extra high in the rear, making her long and sinuous legs seem even longer and more sinuous.

Carla Bruni Sarkozy's family home: the 40-room Castello di Castagneto Po, near Turin, Italy

Carla Bruni Sarkozy's family home: the 40-room Castello di Castagneto Po, near Turin, Italy

The handsome Art Deco villa of the Bruni-Tedeschi family stands amid cypresses and pines atop a private peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean, which can be seen and heard slapping the rocky coast a few hundred feet below. On one side of the dahlia-lined gravel driveway, her brother Virginio’s vintage Citroëns gleam in the afternoon sun. It is a scene straight out of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis—until Carla Bruni picks up my not-so-light suitcase, throws it over her shoulder, and carries it up the stairs.

Carla Bruni is not your typical high-priced international mannequin—all pouts and poses—though she does make a million dollars a year, has been on the covers of Harpers & Queen, Italian Elle, and Marie Claire, and can be seen this month gliding down some 70 runways at the Paris, Milan, and New York ready-to-wear collections. Nor is she your typical highborn Northern Italian heiress—all yips and orders. Her family is rich; their lire come from the CEAT electric-cable company of Turin. But her father, Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi, is a composer of atonal music; her mother, Marisa, is a concert pianist. “They were more original, eccentric, and open than the real bourgeoisie of Turin. They could have been like that, but they weren’t, because they were artists before everything,” says Carla, curled up after dinner in their impressively well-stocked library, smoking a cigarette and stroking her cat George Sand. She has changed into a teal-blue neo-hippie macramé sweater and black semi-see-through Azzedine Alaïa bell-bottoms, but she is still barefoot, and with her straight, tawny hair, parted in the middle, she is a bit Julie Christie, a bit Pilar Crespi.

Carla Bruni as international model

Carla Bruni as international fashion model

When Carla was five, the family moved to Paris, where she now has an apartment of her own facing the Bois de Boulogne. At 19, she dropped out of art-and-architecture studies at the University of Paris and signed up with City, the modeling agency. “The first ad campaign I did was Guess? jeans. It was scandalous, because I was sitting on the knee of this old man,” she notes in a low, throaty tone that is all the more seductive because it is so matter-of-fact.

She prefers older men in real life, “men who are superior to me,” as she puts it, and has been linked in the media to three very different men in their 40s: Eric Clapton, Donald Trump, and now Mick Jagger. She admits that she had a “strong relationship” with Clapton three years ago, but is cutting on the subject of the financially troubled real-estate developer. She maintains that she only had tea with Trump three times (always chaperoned by His Royal Highness Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia) before awaking one morning to the People-magazine headline trump says goodbye marla, hello carla. “I didn’t have even any thought of the beginning of an affair with him. Nothing, nothing, nothing. That’s why I’m so rude in my denials. I don’t know what clicked in his head. I think it’s about the need for constant publicity. It was really disturbing.… It gives me the reputation of this woman who is running after married men.”

Mick Jagger and wife Jerry Hall. Hall filed for divorce from Jagger in 1992, calling him Jagger is a "lying, cheating, no-good slimeball." Jerry Hall is a Texas native.

Mick Jagger and wife Jerry Hall. Hall filed for divorce from Jagger in 1992, calling him a "lying, cheating, no-good slimeball." Jerry Hall is a Texas native.

She is absolutely mum on Mick, though the press has reported, and close friends of the Jaggers’ claim, that she has been having an affair with him for well over a year. “I’m using the old Japanese proverb,” she tells me with open-eyed insouciance, “ ‘Turn your tongue a hundred times in your mouth before saying anything.’ ” Has she met Mick? “Once.” Did she rendezvous in Thailand with him the day after Jerry Hall gave birth to their third child? “No.” Then why has Hall publicly denounced Bruni as the cause of her problems with Mick? (Hall is said to be so jealous of Bruni that at a rock concert in London this summer she poured a mug of beer on Jean Pigozzi’s head and drove him from the backstage V.I.P. area, accusing him of having entertained Mick and Carla at his Cap d’Antibes compound.) Bruni’s reply: “Ask her.” I try a different tack. What is her favorite Rolling Stones song? “Who? What are you talking about?” She lowers her lids over her cool blue eyes, then raises them again and whispers, “ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ ”

Although she’s being coy about Jagger, what’s refreshing about Carla Bruni is her frank intelligence. She is as convincing on Stendhal’s “crystallization of love” as she is on the essential silliness of modeling (“Most of my work is about moisturizing”). And after three scandals in as many summers, she knows what the fame game is all about. “A knife has two sides,” she says, “the good side and the bad side. The good side is that the publicity is going to bring me more work and more money. The bad side is that it hurts.” She concludes playfully, “Maybe I can get a subscription to scandals. Once a year. Every time my modeling rate goes down. Whom am I going to get next year? Hmmm.””

For more on Carla Bruni on this blog, click “Carla Bruni Sings at Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert” and “Carla Bruni, Love Child.”

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Jackie looking good in a trench coat. What is the Jackie O look? classic and refined

Jackie looking good in a trench coat. What is the Jackie O look? classic and refined

This is the week of what would have been Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ (1929-1994) eightieth birthday. Blogs, magazines, newspapers, and TV programs are celebrating her life and style – particulary her style. She was – and is – a fashion icon. Those of you in doubt of her lasting appeal need only to google the phrase, “the Jackie Kennedy Look,” and see how many sites are dedicated to this ideal.

What is her attraction? Exactly what is “the Jackie Kennedy Look”? Is it a hairstyle? It couldn’t be that; Jackie’s hairstyle over the years changed radically, going from a curly, soft, and cropped bob on her wedding day (shown below)

They were married on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island. The wedding was performed by Archbishop Richard Cushing. The wedding was considered the social event of the season with an estimated 700 guests at the ceremony and 900 at the lavish reception that followed at Hammersmith Farm.

Jacqueline Bouvier and then-Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy were married on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island. The wedding was performed by Archbishop Richard Cushing. The wedding was considered the social event of the season with an estimated 700 guests at the ceremony and 900 at the lavish reception that followed at Hammersmith Farm.

to a crisp bouffant at her husband John Kennedy‘s inauguration as the 35th President of the United States (below)

 

First Lady Jackie Kennedy at President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inauguration. Seen here with, at left, then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and, at right, her husband, President Kennedy.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy at President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inauguration. Seen here with, at left, then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and, at right, her husband, President Kennedy.

to a long, loose, and straight un-style when island-hopping with Greek shipping tycoon husband #2  Ari Onassis. (below).

Jackie and Ari Onassis in 1969, Jackie, in a festive summer print, and husband Aristotle Onassis leave an Athens nightclub at 7 a.m. after celebrating Jackie's 40th birthday.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis, in a festive summer print, and husband Aristotle Onassis leave an Athens nightclub at 7 a.m. after celebrating Jackie's 40th birthday, 1969.

Not that Jackie Kennedy’s hairstyles didn’t set fashion trends. Her 1961 inauguration hairdo, the bouffant, defined by the Oxford Dictionary, as [hair] “styled so as to stand out from the head in a rounded shape,” from the French word for ‘swelling,’ swept the nation in popularity. Her short, dark locks were teased, sprayed, and curled by her hairdresser, Mr. Kenneth of Lilly Dache, New York.

When Jackie Kennedy was First Lady (1961-1963), a rumor spread that she wore wigs from time to time, which Jackie’s spokespeople denied vehemently. Unfortunately, though, the rumor was proved true when sister-in-law Joan Kennedy blurted out in an interview:

“You know, Jackie talked me into wearing a wig. She has three of them, and she wears them a lot, especially for traveling. I tried one, but it just felt silly.”

Then, if it wasn’t her hair that defined the Jackie Kennedy look, perhaps it was her clothes. Consider her signature look…

 

First Lady Jackie Kennedy displays her trademark chic - pillbox hat, pearls, and stylish suit

First Lady Jackie Kennedy displays her trademark chic - pillbox hat, pearls, and stylish suit

formal, for day: the pillbox hat, pearls, the three-quarter length sleeves, the boxy Chanel suit jacket with A-line skirt

First Lady Jackie Kennedy at home in the White House. She is remembered for her love for all things French which found expression in her dedicated and loving restoration of the White House.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy at home in the White House. She is remembered for her love for all things tasteful (and French) which found expression in her dedicated and loving restoration of the White House.

 informal, for day: the sleeveless silk sheath accented by a single strand of pearls at the throat

on their way to a dinner with the French cultural minister, April 1962. Mrs. Kennedy wears a gown designed by Oleg Cassini.

First Lady Jackie Kennedy as she was dressed for dinner with the French cultural minister, April 1962. Mrs. Kennedy wears a gown designed by Oleg Cassini.

informal, for night: a fabulous gown by designers such as Oleg Cassini completed by elbow-length white gloves and a clutch bag

But these were Jackie’s looks from the White House years, when she posed, posture perfect like a princess, beaming a happy smile. But then her husband was murdered and Camelot was no more. Her life changed and, with it, her wardrobe.

After she married Onassis, she became “Jackie O” and was photographed strolling the streets of Europe, slumming in casual attire -sexy capri pants with flat, strappy sandals. After Onassis’ death, she moved to New York to become a book editor for Doubleday. When she was seen on the streets, she kept her head down to avoid recognition, ducking the press, hiding behind those ubiquitous, bug-eyed, dark glasses and sometimes concealing her famous head under a scarf.

Jackie O in 1975, the year her second husband Aristotle Onassis died

Jackie O in 1975, the year her second husband Aristotle Onassis died

No, the Jackie Kennedy Look can’t be summed up by pointing to a hairstyle or style of dress – they were too variable.  Granted, whether First Lady, international playgirl, New York socialite, or career publisher, Jackie Kennedy had style, to be sure, a strong fashion sense, showing up largely as a preference for clean, uncluttered lines and simplicity. But she had an indescribable personal quality, too, a  je ne sais quoi, the French would say, a quality that transcended all the changes she made to her wardrobe and hair – the quintessential Jackie O – that keeps us fixated on her well into another century.

What was it that made Jackie such an icon that we still want to look at photos of her, though she has been gone so long?

One need only consult the TV comedy “Seinfeld” for the answer to this little conundrum. In the 87th episode known as “The Chaperone,” character Elaine Benes (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) seeks a job at Doubleday as a book editor, following in the steps of Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

 Elaine does not get the job. Read the Seinfeld script below to find out why Elaine was rejected by Doubleday:

New scene – Elaine at her job interview at Doubleday with Mrs. Landis.

LANDIS: Of course, Jackie O. was a great lady. Those are going to be some tough shoes to fill. Everyone loved her. She had such…grace.

ELAINE (gushing): Yes! Grace!

LANDIS: Not many people have grace.

ELAINE: Well, you know, grace is a tough one. I like to think I have a little grace…not as much as Jackie –

LANDIS: You can’t have “a little grace.” You either have grace, or you…don’t.

ELAINE: O.K., fine, I have…no grace.

LANDIS: And you can’t acquire grace.

ELAINE: Well, I have no intention of “getting” grace.

LANDIS: Grace isn’t something you can pick up at the market.

ELAINE (fed up): All right, all right, look – I don’t have grace, I don’t want grace…I don’t even say grace, O.K.?

LANDIS: Thank you for coming in.

ELAINE: Yeah, yeah, right.

LANDIS: We’ll make our choice in a few days, and we’ll let you know.

ELAINE (stands up): I have no chance, do I?

LANDIS: No. <They shake hands.>

 

Elaine Benes (Seinfeld) has no grace.

Elaine Benes (from TV series" Seinfeld) has no grace. Jackie Kennedy Onassis had grace.

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France's First Lady, Carla Bruni, is also a singer, model, and actress. Her dating resume, prior to her marriage to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, includes rock stars Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.

France's First Lady, Carla Bruni, is also a singer, recording star, model, and actress. Her dating resume, prior to her marriage to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, includes rock stars Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.

From the BBC:

Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has taken part in a New York concert to celebrate the 91st birthday of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the event at Radio City Music Hall also featured performances by Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and Will.I.Am.

Click below to hear Carla sing.

For more on Carla Bruni Sarkozy, you might enjoy reading this post: “Carla Bruni: Homewrecker?” and “Carla Bruni, Love Child.”

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Jackie Kennedy during the White House years

Jackie Kennedy during the White House years

From USA Today Online, July 6, 2009:

Book: Jackie, RFK had four-year affair

The New York Post, quoting a new book, reports that Jackie Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy had a four-year love affair that began shortly after President Kennedy was killed.

Author C. David Heymann says Bobby was Jackie’s “true love” and that the affair was well known among family members. When Bobby was shot after winning the California presidential primary, Jackie — not Bobby’s wife Ethel Kennedy or his brother Ted Kennedy — ordered that he be removed from a respirator, the book says.

The book, Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story, arrives in stores this month. The Post says it “includes recollections of the steamy affair” from Kennedy family intimates, including Pierre Salinger, Arthur Schlesinger, Jack Newfield, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote and Morton Downey Jr. Heymann told the paper he spent nearly two decades researching the book and had access to FBI and Secret Service files. Tapes of his interviews are available at the SUNY Stony Brook library.

The Kennedy family at their home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts on the night after John F Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election. Front row from left: Eunice Shriver, Rose Kennedy , Joseph Kennedy , Jacqueline Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy. Back row, from left: Ethel Kennedy, Stephen Smith, Jean Smith, John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy, Pat Lawford , Sargent Shriver, Joan Kennedy, and Peter Lawford

The Kennedy family at their home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts on the night after John F Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election. Front row from left: Eunice Shriver, Rose Kennedy , Joseph Kennedy , Jacqueline Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy. Back row, from left: Ethel Kennedy, Stephen Smith, Jean Smith, John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy, Pat Lawford , Sargent Shriver, Joan Kennedy, and Peter Lawford

Among the book’s revelations:

— Six months after JFK’s death, during a May 1964 dinner cruise on the presidential yacht the USS Sequoia, Bobby and Jackie “exchanged poignant glances” before disappearing below deck, leaving Ethel upstairs. “When they returned, they looked as chummy and relaxed as a pair of Cheshire cats,” according to Schlesinger.

— At one point, Ethel Kennedy implored family friend Frank Moore to “tell Bobby to stop sleeping with Jackie.” Instead, Moore told her to find a marriage counselor.

— Shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis — RFK’s rival for Jackie’s attention — once threatened to “bring down” Bobby by going public with details of the affair. “I could bury that sucker,” Onassis said, “although I’d lose Jackie in the process.”

The New York Daily News reports that the book already is generating criticism:

“It’s a new low, and you just wonder how far people are willing to go,” Laurence Learner, author of The Kennedy Men, The Kennedy Women and Sons of Camelot told the paper.

“[Heymann] is just trying to make a buck. Yes, Bobby and Jackie had a relationship as friends, but [the romance] is a total exaggeration. I feel sorry for Heymann,” he said.

 

To read more on Ethel Kennedy, read “Mama Remembers Ethel Kennedy.”

To read more on Jackie Kennedy Onassis, click “How to be Jackie O” and “Why Jackie Kennedy Married Ari Onassis.”

 To read more on the Kennedys, scroll down the right sidebar to “Categories – People – Kennedys.”

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(Read “Imelda Marcos Almost Gets the Beatles Killed Part 1” first.)

Hear what the Fab Four had to say about their brush with death in Manila:

 

*For other related posts on this site, see:
“Imelda Marcos: 2000 Shoes”
“Ferdinand Marcos’ Restless Corpse”
“Imelda Being Imeldific*”

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Imelda Marcos being Imeldific, June 20, 2009, Manila.

Imelda Marcos being Imeldific, June 20, 2009, Manila.

“Filipinos are brainwashed to be beautiful. We’re allergic to ugliness,”

said Imelda Marcos as as she greeted reporters this weekend in her swank two-story Manila penthouse. Approaching her 80th birthday on July 2, she complained about her lot in life, saying she is penniless and struggling to still look presentable. Her claim is hardly believable, since she and her husband, the late President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, stashed away billions during his dictatorship. Meanwhile, a 22-carat diamond engagement ring still adorns the former beauty queen’s finger.

“Despite some 900 civil and criminal cases she had faced in Philippine courts since 1991 _ cases ranging from embezzlement and corruption to tax evasion _ she has emerged relatively unscathed and never served prison time. All but a handful of the cases have been dismissed for lack of evidence and a few convictions were overturned on appeal….

Imelda Marcos penniless yet jeweled

Imelda Marcos penniless yet jeweled

Imelda, her hair coifed and cheeks rouged, teared up as she complained she had to withdraw money from her husband’s meager war pension to post bail so she could travel to Singapore earlier this month for an eye checkup paid for by her children.“I was first lady for only 20 years. All the beautiful things I gave to the Philippines, am I being persecuted for that? I didn’t know you can inherit a crime from your husband.”

Her husband and his cronies allegedly amassed ill-gotten wealth estimated at $5 billion to $10 billion during Marcos’ 20 years in power, but the Presidential Commission on Good Government, created to recover the Marcos billions, says the government has only found cash and assets totaling $1.63 billion.

The assets include three separate sets of diamond tiaras, ruby brooches, emerald necklaces and other jewels.

She remains unashamed of her past, when she shopped in the world’s richest boutiques and launched lavish beautification projects at home in the midst of the Philippines’ extreme poverty.”

*Imeldific is a word coined after former First Lady Imelda Marcos. It means “ostentatious extravagance” as in this example:

She had a shoe collection that met Imeldific standards.

I’ve written more posts on the Marcoses:

“Ferdinand Marcos’ Restless Corpse”

“Imelda Marcos Almost Gets the Beatles Killed”

“Imelda Marcos: 2000 Shoes”

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For background information, read my previous post, “Eva Peron’s Restless Corpse.”

Here is part 5 0f 5 of the 1996 A & E “Biography” series on Eva Peron, “Evita: The Woman Behind the Myth.”  Halfway through the tape, you will get an eyeful of Evita.

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