- Rishi Sunak.
- Boris Johnson.
- Kim Jong-un
- Justin Trudeau.
To which future world leader did First Lady Pat Nixon give a Snoopy stuffed animal in 1972?
“At Orry Kelly’s dinner in honor of Mrs. Dorothy Hammerstein, Jack Warner overheard Hedda disparaging John F. Kennedy within earshot of Mrs. Hammerstein, a Kennedy supporter. Warner, whose studio was then filming a JFK biopic, PT 109, intervened when Hedda declared she could not even stand to look at the President. Jack smiled, ‘You’d rather look at Dick Nixon than Jack Kennedy?’ ‘Yes, by God, I would!’ replied Hedda. Responded Jack, ‘Then I’m glad of one thing … That you’re not a casting director at Warner’s.’ Everyone laughed—Hedda as loud as the others.”
George Eels, Hedda and Louella, A Dual Biography of Hedda and Louella
Image Credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
Oona O’Neill, the daughter of the playwright Eugene O’Neill, was a Hollywood ingénue when society photographer Jerome Zerbe snapped this photo. The story goes that about this time, she was dating Orson Welles. Upon reading her palm, the young Orson prognosticated her love line led elsewhere—to a much older man. And, he knew the name of this man: genius filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, thirty-six years Oona’s senior.
Oona had yet to meet Chaplin, but she did soon after. Incredibly, Orson Welles’ unlikely prediction came true. Naysayers noted Chaplin’s penchant for robbing the cradle and his previous failed marriages. They predicted the May/December union would quickly self-destruct. Time proved them wrong and Orson Welles. Oona and Charlie went on to produce a brood of eight children, and they were separated only by his 1977 death.
Oona was fiercely loyal and stood by Charlie when he was persecuted by Senator Joseph McCarthy, who accused him being a Communist sympathizer. Richard Nixon, for political gain, was among those fanning the flames. Chaplin was barred from the United States in 1952 and not permitted to re-enter until 1972, when, as an old man, he returned with great fanfare to accept a lifetime achievement award at the Academy Awards. Nixon—by this time, President Nixon--shunned Chaplin, refusing an invitation to appear at a Lincoln Center gala saluting to him.
Oona O’Neill Chaplin ultimately exacted revenge on President Richard Nixon. What did she do?
The answer is after the JUMP.
“I just don’t know what happened. He studied law, women, and booze and hasn’t made a success of any of them.”
President Lyndon Johnson, on His Dissolute Younger Brother
This is but one tidbit in the surprisingly gossipy Dog Days at the White House, The Outrageous Memoirs of the Presidential Kennel Keeper. The book's innuendo about the the Kennedy White House soon became common knowledge. What remains in the closet is its suggestion of another President's homosexuality. The book also goes where even the great Robert Caro dared not tread, adding context to that historic New Year's Eve when Lyndon Johnson took it upon himself to desegregate the Forty Acres Country Club in Austin, Texas.