Ron Rosenbaum

Mary Meyer Lives! And her Secret Diary?

Well the controversy over her death lives. And the details of her life still has those who know about this alluring and engimatic mistress of JFK buzzing.

I just saw the new film An American Affair starring Gretchen Mol as the transparently obvious standin in for the beautiful socialite, painter, divorced wife of CIA big shot Cord Meyer, perhaps the most serious love affair among JFKs many one night stands (or less)– and victim of an officially unsolved murder close to a year after the president’s assassination.

I have mixed feelings about it. Mol is miscast, she suggests Marilyn Monroe; Mary Meyer was a Vassar thorobred, Kate Beckinsale has the look, the to-the-manor born manner. And the movie has a James Angleton figure burning Mary Meyer’s diary when anyone who thinks Angleton didn’t make a copy before the diary was burned by Mary Meyer’s friends doesn’t know Angleton.

I know there are depths to this story only scratched by my initial reporting (along with Philip Nobile)–reprinted in The Secret Parts of Fortune. But our belief that the acquittal of the chief suspect–yes, a lone gunman–didn’t mean he wasn’t guilty was affirmed by Nina Burleigh’s scrupulous subsequent reporting. And I know my friend Charlie Finch has a lot more to say on the subject, but I’ve yet to be convinced it was a CIA hit or connected with the JFK assassination as the movie would have you believe. But myth sems to outrun history these days and it makes a better story I guess.

And the movie does succeed, at least in my case it did, in reviving the powerful emotional impact the assassination had. Like many who live through it–no matter what dark secrets were subsequently revealed–in some way I still haven’t recovered.