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This Day In History: 11/21/1980 - Who Shot J.R.?

This Day In History: 11/21/1980 - Who Shot J.R.?



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Find out what happened on November 21 in our This Day in History video. On November 21, 1783, history was made in the skies over Paris when the first manned un-tethered air balloon flight took place. On November 21, 1877, Thomas Edison had another idea. Edison created a device that could record and playback sound. On November 21, 1973, the Nixon Administration announced that there was an eighteen and a half minute gap on the Watergate tapes. Still no one knows what was said in that gap. Lastly, on November 21, 1980, 350 million people tuned into an episode of Dallas to see who shot J.R. It turned out to be an upset mistress.


VIDEO: 'Who Shot J.R.?' 35 Years Later &ndash and 9 Other Great TV Mysteries

Even people who never watched the original run of Dallas probably know that one of the series’ major plotlines can be summed up in three simple words: “Who shot J.R.?” In the final moments of the show’s third season finale, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), the show’s scheming villain but also arguably its central character, was seen getting shot by an offscreen assailant.

Fans had to wait until the fourth season premiere to find out if J.R. had even survived. What some might not remember – and what was key to the “Who shot J.R.?” mystery becoming a pop culture phenomenon – is that it took eight months to find out which character had pulled the trigger. In fact, it was 35 years ago this week that the shooter was finally revealed, and we’re using the anniversary as a chance to celebrate some of TV’s other big mysteries.

Read on, but be forewarned: We’re going to spoil these for you.

1. Who shot J.R.? &ndash Dallas

In the Nov. 21, 1980, episode “Who Done It,” viewers finally learned that it was Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby), J.R.’s mistress and the sister of J.R.’s wife, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), who shot J.R. and framed Sue Ellen for it. She didn’t go to jail. No, mere moments after Sue Allen outed her as the shooter, Kristin announced that she was pregnant with J.R.’s baby. The character eventually drowned in the Southfork Ranch pool.

The episode ended months of speculation by fans and media over which Dallas cast member had fired the gun. In a PEOPLE article about “Who shot J.R.?” mania, Hagman himself joked that he thought the would-be murderer was his old I Dream of Jeannie co-star, Barbara Eden.

2. Who killed Laura Palmer? &ndash Twin Peaks

At least in the public’s eye, Twin Peaks hinged around the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), whose body was discovered in the first moments of the show’s first episode but who𠆝 nonetheless go on to become one of the show’s most interesting characters. Series creator David Lynch actually never wanted to solve the mystery, as the investigation was supposed to be the MacGuffin that invested fans in the lives of Twin Peaks characters.

Seven episodes into the show’s second season on Nov. 10, 1990, roughly ten years after J.R.’s shooter was finally revealed Laura’s cousin Maddie (also Sheryl Lee) was horrifically murdered by Laura’s father, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise). It’s actually one of the most disturbing things ever to air during prime time on a broadcast network, and even today the scene is hard to watch. Leland, who was possessed by an otherworldly entity during the murders, died in prison the next episode. “Who killed Laura Palmer?” mania was rampant enough that an episode of Donahue grilled the show’s cast about the identity of the killer.

3. Who shot Mr. Burns? &ndash The Simpsons

In an extended homage to the “Who shot J.R.?” story arc, The Simpsons offered a storyline where its own evil rich guy got gunned down. It’s the only two-part episode in the history of the show, with the first part airing on May 21, 1995, and the resolution not coming until September 17, when it was finally revealed that it was the least likely suspect of all, Maggie Simpson, who shot Mr. Burns when his gun fell into her hands and she accidentally pulled the trigger.

Over the summer, 1-800-COLLECT sponsored a contest that promised those who correctly guessed the culprit a chance to be animated onto the show. (The winner declined.) America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh even hosted a half-hour “Springfield’s Most Wanted” special about the search for the shooter.

4. Who is Cartman&rsquos father? &ndash South Park

In what was most likely a nod both to “Who shot J.R.?” and “Who shot Mr. Burns?,” the first season of South Park ended with Cartman’s investigation into who his father might be. The very structure of the two-part episode mocked cliffhangers. The first episode stopped just short of naming Cartman’s dad and instead cut to an announcement that the revelation wouldn’t come until the next episode four weeks later. (This angered even Cartman.)

Four weeks later happened to be April 1, 1998, however, and viewers who tuned in got no answers about Cartman’s parentage and instead got “Not Without My Anus,” an episode that inexplicably focused on the flatulent minor characters, Terrence and Phillip. It took three more weeks for viewers to get part two to the “Who is Cartman’s father?” storyline, which revealed that Cartman’s mother, Liane, was actually Cartman’s father and that some other woman must have given birth to Cartman. At this point, Cartman lost interest in the matter.

5. Who killed Lilly Kane? &ndash Veronica Mars

All three seasons of Veronica Mars are solid, but the first season is in particular a great chunk of television that stands on its own as a perfect, standalone story arc. In it, the title character (Kristen Bell) investigates and solves the mystery of who killed her best friend, Lilly (Amanda Seyfried), a Laura Palmer-esque high school princess who died young and took a lot of secrets with her to the grave.

In the first season finale, which aired May 10, 2005, Veronica realizes that Lilly was killed by Aaron Echols (Harry Hamlin), who’s not only a famous actor but the father of Veronica’s new boyfriend.

When Does Amanda Seyfried Feel Most Beautiful?

6. Why did Mary Alice kill herself? &ndash Desperate Housewives

It’s not so much a case of whodunit, as Mary Alice (Brenda Strong) says explicitly in the show’s opening that she willingly committed suicide. In this case, it’s a matter of determining why she did it and who might have provoked her to end it all.

The matter was explained fully in the first season finale, which aired May 22, 2005. Mary Alice killed herself after nosy neighbor Martha Huber (Christine Estabrook) tried to blackmail her after discovering her dark secret: that she𠆝 purchased her baby from a drug addict. When the drug addict returned wanting her baby back, a fight ensued and Mary Alice killed her, ultimately burying the body beneath the backyard pool. Mary Alice continued to narrate the show long after the circumstances of her death had been revealed.

In an interesting callback to Twin Peaks, the role of Mary Alice was initially to be played by Laura Palmer herself, Sheryl Lee. Strong, who was eventually cast in the role, also appeared on Twin Peaks, as a less central but equally ill-fated character. Strong would also go on to play a Ewing on the Dallas sequel series.

7. Who killed Rosie Larsen? &ndash The Killing

The entire premise of the AMC series The Killing was the search for the killer of Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay), yet another popular high school girl who met a bad end, and the first season of the show was heavily promoted with the tagline “Who killed Katie Larsen?” So you can imagine how dismayed fans were when the show’s first season ended without actually revealing the identity of the murderer.

It was only in the second season finale on June 17, 2012, that the show’s detectives finally solved the mystery: It was Rosie’s Aunt Terry (Jamie Ann Allman), who pushed a car belonging to a prominent politician into a river, not realizing that her niece was trapped in the trunk at the time.

8. Who is Gossip Girl? &ndash Gossip Girl

A whodunit only if you can consider “it” to be writing a snarky blog about fancy Upper East Side teens, the mystery of Gossip Girl’s identity was teased out for all six seasons of the show until the finale, which aired Dec. 12, 2012. Viewers finally learned that it was Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), the only writer in the show’s core group of characters and an outsider to the upper-class society about which Gossip Girl seemed so critical. Kind of a no duh, when you think about it.

But why did Gossip Girl, as the show’s narrator, sound like Kristen Bell? That’s another mystery altogether, but one no more easily solvable than why adult Fred Savage sounded like Daniel Stern on The Wonder Years or why slightly older Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother sounded like Bob Saget instead of Josh Radnor.

9. Who killed Lila Stangard? &ndash How to Get Away with Murder

At first, it seemed like the mysterious murder of Lila Standard (Megan West), a college girl whose body is found in a water tank atop her sorority, would be the driving plotline of How to Get Away with Murder. Instead of stretching out the investigation for seasons upon seasons, however, the matter was resolved by the end of the first: Lila was having an affair with Sam, the husband of series protagonist Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). As it turns out, Frank (Charlie Weber), the guy Annalise employs to do dirty work, killed Lila at Sam’s request. Case closed.

That’s not to say that How to Get Away with Murder‘s longterm investigations were over, of course. Shortly after Lila’s killer was revealed, there was a new body: Rebecca, Lila’s confidant and a character who just happens to have been played by Rosie Larsen herself, Katie Findlay.


Contents

Hagman was born on September 21, 1931, in Fort Worth, Texas. [3] His mother, Mary Martin, became a Broadway actress and musical comedy star after his birth. His father, Benjamin Jackson Hagman, who was of Swedish descent, was an accountant and lawyer who worked as a district attorney. [4] [5] [6] Hagman's parents divorced in 1936 when he was five years old. He lived with his maternal grandmother, Juanita Presley Martin, in Texas and California while his mother became a contract player with Paramount in 1938. In 1940, Hagman's mother met and married Richard Halliday before giving birth to a daughter, Heller, the following year. [7] Hagman attended a strict academy, Black-Foxe Military Institute and briefly Woodstock Country School, a boarding school in Vermont. [8]

When his mother moved to New York City to resume her Broadway career, Hagman again lived with his grandmother in California. [9] A few years later, his grandmother died and Hagman joined his mother in New York City. In 1946, Hagman moved back to his hometown of Weatherford and attended Weatherford High School, from which he graduated. One summer, he worked for oilfield-equipment maker Antelope Tool Company. Although his father wanted Hagman to become a lawyer and join his practice, [9] he was drawn to drama classes and reportedly fell in love with the stage. He graduated from high school in 1949 and decided to pursue acting. [9] He attended Bard College, New York, majoring in dance and drama but dropped out after one year. [10]

Hagman began his career in 1950 acting in productions at Margaret Webster's school at The Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, New York. [11] That summer, during a break from his one year at Bard College, he worked in Dallas as a production assistant and acting in small roles in Margo Jones's theater company. He appeared in The Taming of the Shrew in New York City, followed by numerous tent show musicals with St. John Terrell's Music Circus in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Lambertville, New Jersey. In 1951, Hagman appeared in the London production of South Pacific with his mother, and stayed in the show for nearly a year. In 1952, Hagman received his draft notice and enlisted in the United States Air Force. [12]

Stationed in London, he spent the majority of his military service entertaining U.S. troops in the United Kingdom and at bases in Europe. [13] After leaving the Air Force in 1956, Hagman returned to New York City, where he appeared in the off-Broadway play Once Around the Block, by William Saroyan. That was followed by nearly a year in another off-Broadway play, James Lee's Career. His Broadway debut occurred in 1958 in Comes a Day. Hagman appeared in four other Broadway plays, God and Kate Murphy, The Nervous Set, The Warm Peninsula, and The Beauty Part. [14] During this period, he also appeared in numerous, mostly live, television programs.

Hagman's first television role was as Kenneth Davidson in the 1957 episode "Saturday Lost" of the syndicated crime drama, Decoy, starring Beverly Garland as the first female police officer in a television lead. In 1958, he joined Barbara Bain as a guest star in the short-lived adventure-drama series Harbormaster, and appeared three times on Lloyd Bridges' syndicated adventure series, Sea Hunt. In 1960, he was cast in the CBS summer medical series Diagnosis: Unknown in the role of Don Harding in the episode, "The Case of the Radiant Wine". In 1961, Hagman joined the cast of daytime soap opera The Edge of Night as Ed Gibson, and stayed in that role for two years. In 1963 and 1964, he appeared twice in segments of the CBS legal drama, The Defenders [15]

In 1964, he made his film debut in Ensign Pulver, which featured a young Jack Nicholson. That same year, he also appeared in Fail-Safe, with Henry Fonda.

In 1965, Hagman was cast as "genie" Barbara Eden's master and eventual love interest, Air Force Captain (later Major) Anthony Nelson, in the NBC situation comedy I Dream of Jeannie, which ran for five seasons from 1965 to 1970. [16] The show entered the top 30 in its first year and was NBC's answer to the successful 1960s magical comedies, Bewitched on ABC and My Favorite Martian on CBS. Two reunion movies were later made, both televised on NBC: I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later (1985) and I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991), but Hagman did not appear in either of them. At Dragon Con, in 2010, Hagman said he was never approached about it.

In 1999, after 29 years, Hagman agreed to reunite with Jeannie co-stars Barbara Eden and Bill Daily and creator/producer Sidney Sheldon on The Donny and Marie Show. In 2002, when I Dream of Jeannie was set to join the cable channel TV Land, Hagman once again took part in an I Dream of Jeannie reunion with Eden and Daily, this time on Larry King Live. On the TV Land Awards in March 2004, Hagman and Eden were the first presenters to reunite on stage. The following October, Hagman and Daily appeared at The Ray Courts Hollywood Autograph Show. And the following year, 2005, brought all three surviving stars from I Dream of Jeannie to the first cast reunion at the Chiller Expo Show. [17]

Hagman and Eden reunited in March 2006 for a publicity tour in New York City to promote the first-season DVD of I Dream of Jeannie. He reunited once again with Eden on stage in the play Love Letters at the College of Staten Island in New York and the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. The appearance marked the first time the two performers had acted together since Eden appeared with Hagman in a five-episode arc on Dallas in 1990. [18] [19]

In 1978, Hagman was offered two roles on two television series that were debuting. One was for The Waverly Wonders and the other for Dallas, in the role of conniving elder son and businessman J.R. Ewing. When Hagman read the Dallas script at his wife's suggestion, they both concluded it was perfect for him. Hagman based his portrayal in part on memories of the eldest son who had won the Antelope Tool Company succession battle. [9]

Dallas became a worldwide success, airing in 90 countries - most notably the United Kingdom, [20] where it was enjoyed even by members of the country's Royal Family [21] - and led to several successful primetime spin offs. [22] Hagman became one of the best-known television stars of the era. Producers were keen to capitalize on that love/hate family relationship of J.R., building anticipation to a fever-pitch in "A House Divided", the 1980 cliffhanger season finale in which J.R. is shot by an unknown assailant, leading to the world-wide "Who shot J.R.?" phenomenon. [23] The person who pulled the trigger was later revealed to be Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby) in the "Who Done It?" episode which aired on November 21, 1980 Kristin was J.R.'s scheming sister-in-law and mistress, who shot him in a fit of anger.

At the beginning of the fourth season [24] later that year, audience and actors were trying to guess "Who shot J.R.?", now one of fictional TV's most famous questions. During the media buildup, Hagman was involved in contract negotiations, delaying his return in the fourth season. Holding out for a higher salary, Hagman did not appear in the first episode of the show until the final few minutes. Producers were faced with a dilemma of whether to pay the greatly increased salary or to write J.R. out of the program. Lorimar Productions, the makers of the series, began shooting different scenes of Dallas which did not include Hagman. In the midst of negotiations, Hagman took his family to London for their July vacation. [9] He continued to fight for his demands and network executives conceded that they wanted J.R. to remain on Dallas. From then on, Hagman became one of the highest-paid stars in television. At the beginning of the 1980–81 season, writers were told to keep the storylines away from the actors until they really found out who actually shot J.R., and it took three weeks until the culprit was revealed on November 21, 1980, in a ratings record-breaking episode.

For his performance as J.R. Ewing, Hagman was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1980 and 1981, but did not win. He was also nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, between 1981 and 1985. He was nominated for a Soap Opera Digest award seven times for Outstanding Villain on a Prime Time Serial, Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role on a Prime Time Serial, Favorite Super Couple: Prime Time and Outstanding Actor in a Comic Relief Role on a Prime Time Serial, and won five times. Hagman received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement from Academy member Ray Lee Hunt at the 1981 Achievement Summit in Dallas. [25] In 1984, co-star Barbara Bel Geddes left Dallas, following a contract dispute that had resulted from her March 1983 quadruple heart bypass surgery. At one point, Hagman suggested to his real-life mother Mary Martin that she play Miss Ellie, but she rejected the suggestion and Bel Geddes was briefly replaced by Donna Reed for the 1984–1985 season, before Bel Geddes returned in better health for the 1985–1986 season. By the end of its 14th season in 1991, ratings had slipped to the extent that CBS decided to end Dallas. Hagman was the only actor to appear in all 357 episodes. He had also made five guest appearances on the Dallas spin-off series Knots Landing in the early 1980s. Some years after Dallas ended, Hagman appeared in two subsequent Dallas television movies: J.R. Returns in 1996, and War of the Ewings in 1998.

Hagman reprised his role as J.R. Ewing in TNT's continuation of Dallas, which began in 2012. [26] [27] In 2011, while filming the new series, Hagman said, "Of course it's fun to play the villain." [28] As a result of Hagman's death in 2012, his character J.R. was killed off in season two of Dallas. Unused footage of Hagman was used in season three as part of the season's story arc which aired in 2014.

Television Edit

Hagman starred in two short-lived series in the 1970s, The Good Life (1971–1972) and Here We Go Again (1973). In 1993, Hagman starred in Staying Afloat as a down-on-his-luck former millionaire who agrees to work undercover with the FBI to maintain his playboy lifestyle. [29] Originally ordered for two TV movies and a weekly series by NBC, the pilot movie aired in November 1993 to critical drubbing and low ratings, ending production. [30] [31]

In January 1997, Hagman starred in a short-lived television series titled Orleans as Judge Luther Charbonnet, which lasted only eight episodes. In 2002, he made an appearance in the fourth series of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's British comedy panel game, Shooting Stars, often appearing bewildered at the nonsensical questions and the antics of the hosts - during the show Hagman even stated that he would fire his agent as a result. In January 2011, Hagman made a guest appearance in the seventh season of Desperate Housewives as a new husband for Lynette Scavo's mother, Stella (played by Polly Bergen).

He also directed episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and The Good Life, as well as several episodes of Dallas and In the Heat of the Night, which was the only series he directed but in which he did not act. [ citation needed ]

Film Edit

He appeared in such feature films as The Group, Fail Safe, Harry and Tonto, Mother, Jugs & Speed, In Harm's Way, The Eagle Has Landed, Superman, S.O.B., Nixon, and Primary Colors. His television work included Getting Away from It All, Sidekicks, The Return of the World's Greatest Detective, Intimate Strangers, Checkered Flag or Crash, and A Howling in the Woods

He also directed (and appeared briefly in) a low-budget comedy and horror film in 1972 called Beware! The Blob, also called Son of Blob, a sequel to the classic 1958 horror film The Blob. This was the only feature film he directed. [ citation needed ]

Music Edit

The release of a Columbia single performed with his mother Mary Martin, Get Out Those Old Records, in 1950, was credited to Mary Martin And Her Son Larry, with orchestra by Mitch Miller. It was released in Australia as a 78 rpm single, catalogue number DO-3409.

In 1980, Hagman recorded a single called "Ballad of the Good Luck Charm". [32] [33]

Product spokesman Edit

During the 1980s, Hagman was featured in a national televised Schlitz beer campaign, playing on – but not explicitly featuring – the J.R. character. He wore the same kind of Western business outfit – complete with cowboy hat – that he wore in his role. The end of each 30-second spot featured a male voice-over saying, "Refreshing Schlitz beer. the gusto's back. " Hagman, grinning into the camera, added: ". and I'm gonna get it!" He also made commercials for BVD brand underwear.

In 2010, Hagman was hired as a spokesman for SolarWorld, a German solar energy commercial enterprise. While the SolarWorld commercials do not specifically mention either Dallas or J. R. Ewing, Hagman essentially revisits the character (complete with a picture of Hagman as J. R. Ewing from the original series on the mantle), stating that his oil company days are long over, "though still in the energy business", meaning solar energy instead, [34] which alternative energy now plays a major part of the next-generation Ewing family war between Christopher and John Ross III.

In 1973, his stepfather Richard Halliday died, and Hagman reconciled with his mother, Mary Martin, soon after. The two were close until her death from colon cancer in 1990.

In 1954, Hagman married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson [9] (born May 13, 1928, in Eskilstuna, Södermanlands län, Sweden – died May 31, 2016, in Los Angeles, California) they had two children, Heidi Kristina (born 1958) and Preston (born 1962). Longtime residents of Malibu, California, they then moved to Ojai. Hagman was a member of the Peace and Freedom Party from the 1960s. [35] Hagman derided U.S. President George W. Bush prior to the Iraq War.

In 1969, Hagman's friend, musician David Crosby, supplied him with LSD after a concert: [36] "LSD was such a profound experience in my life that it changed my pattern of life and my way of thinking and I could not exclude it [from my autobiography]." [37] Hagman was introduced to marijuana by Jack Nicholson as a safer alternative to Hagman's heavy drinking. "I liked it because it was fun, it made me feel good, and I never had a hangover." [9] Although Hagman was a member of a 12-step program, he publicly advocated marijuana as a better alternative to alcohol.

In 1995, Hagman underwent a life-saving liver transplant after he was diagnosed with liver cancer which was most likely brought on by approximately 40 years of heavy drinking. [38] [39] His clinical picture was further complicated by cirrhosis of the liver which had been diagnosed three years earlier in 1992. Hagman did not receive preferential treatment as a celebrity, with a 1995 UPI article stating that the donor liver "matched Hagman's anonymous physical profile listed with the United Network for Organ Sharing." [38]

He was also a heavy smoker as a young man before quitting at age 34. [40] He was the chairman of the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout for many years and also worked on behalf of the National Kidney Foundation. [12]

After attending a soccer game in Bucharest between FC Steaua București and West Ham United, he became a well-known fan of the Romanian team. [41] [42] [43]

In 2001, Hagman wrote his autobiography titled Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life. [12] In a 2007 interview, Hagman discussed his support for alternative energy. [44] On a 2008 episode of Living With Ed, Hagman and his wife showed actor Ed Begley Jr. their solar powered, super energy efficient home named "Heaven" and talked about their green lifestyle. [45] Maj Hagman was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008, and Hagman at first took the lead in caring for her, but her condition deteriorated. By 2010, she required 24-hour nursing care. As a result, Hagman put their 43-acre estate in Ojai up for sale listing it at $11 million. [9] [39]

Hagman had a long friendship with actor Carroll O'Connor, beginning in 1959 when Hagman was starring in the Broadway play God and Kate Murphy and O'Connor was working as an assistant stage manager. [ citation needed ] Later, as the two struggled as young actors, they rented apartments near each other in New York. Over the years, they had a lot in common just as O'Connor had renegotiated his contract for his salary on All in the Family in 1974, a consequence of missing two episodes, Hagman eventually found himself renegotiating his salary on Dallas, with similar results. Hagman's daughter, Heidi, whom O'Connor had known since her childhood, joined the cast for one season of Archie Bunker's Place. Hagman directed several episodes of O'Connor's later series, In the Heat of the Night. They both endured serious health issues, with O'Connor's heart bypass surgery, and Hagman's liver transplant. Hagman remained close after O'Connor's loss of his son Hugh, and through the rest of O'Connor's life, delivering a eulogy at the funeral.

In June 2011, Hagman said he had stage 2 throat cancer. [9] He commented, "As J. R. I could get away with anything — bribery, blackmail and adultery. But I got caught by cancer. I do want everyone to know that it is a very common and treatable form of cancer. I will be receiving treatment while working on the new Dallas series. I could not think of a better place to be than working on a show I love, with people I love." [46] [47] Hagman had an acorn-sized tumor removed from his tongue in 2011. In June 2012, the cancer was said to be in remission. [9] Then, in July 2012, doctors diagnosed Hagman with myelodysplastic syndrome (formerly known as preleukemia).

Hagman died on November 23, 2012, at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas following complications from acute myeloid leukemia, after being interviewed for the National Geographic documentary, The '80s: The Decade that Made Us, which aired in April 2013. [48] In a statement to the Dallas Morning News, Hagman's family said: "Larry's family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. He died surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for." [28] [49] The New York Times described him as "one of television's most beloved villains". [50]

Actress Barbara Eden, a longtime friend of Hagman, who played Jeannie on I Dream of Jeannie and Lee Ann De La Vega on Dallas, said: "Larry was one of the most intelligent actors I ever worked with. He more than hit his marks. And when you're working with another actor, you know immediately if the ball isn't tossed back. Plus, Larry was savvy about the business, which I wasn't." [51] In an interview with Australia's News 10, she commented that their on-screen chemistry on the set of Jeannie "was not work" and "our timing was right. I can’t even explain it. It was wonderful." [52]

Actress Linda Gray, who played Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas, called Hagman her "best friend for 35 years", and was at his bedside when he died, her agent told the BBC. In a statement, she said: "He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the fullest." [53] [54]

Actor Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing on Dallas, was also at his bedside when he died. In a statement, he said: "Friday I lost one of the greatest friends ever to grace my life. The loneliness is only what is difficult, as Larry’s peace and comfort is always what is important to me, now as when he was here. He was a fighter in the gentlest way, against his obstacles, and for his friends. I wear his friendship with honor." [55] [56]


Historical Events in 1980

    Gold hits record $634 an ounce Babrak Karmal defends the Soviet-backed coup in first public appearance since taking power as President of Afghanistan "1940's Radio Hour" closes at St James Theater NYC after 105 performances

Election of Interest

Jan 6 Indira Gandhi's Congress Party wins elections in India

    Phil Flyers set NHL record of 35 straight games without a defeat The beginning of the first GPS epoch. AFC Championship, Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Steelers beat Houston Oilers, 27-13 NFC Championship, Tampa Stadium: Los Angeles Rams beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 9-0 Minn ends Philadelphia Flyers' NHL record 35 game unbeaten streak ends

Event of Interest

Jan 7 American President Jimmy Carter authorizes legislation to bail out the Chrysler Corporation with a 1.5 billion dollar loan

    Islander Glenn Resch's 20th shut-out opponent-Canucks 3-0 NCAA decides to sponsor women's championships in 5 sports 63 beheaded in Mecca, Saudi Arabia Last broadcast of "The Rockford Files" on NBC

Event of Interest

Jan 11 Debut of first The Pretenders album "Pretenders"

    Phoenix point guard Mike Bratz begins NBA free throw streak of 57 games during a 107-96 loss at the Golden State Warriors

Event of Interest

Jan 12 Björn Borg of Sweden wins his first of 2 season-ending ATP Masters Grand Prix tennis titles outclassing American Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 6–2 at Madison Square Garden, NYC

    "King of Schnorrers" closes at Playhouse Theater NYC after 63 performances Head of narcotic brigade arrested for drug smuggling in Belgium Togo's constitution becomes effective Pam Gems' "Piaf!" premieres in London

Event of Interest

Jan 16 Paul McCartney is arrested at Tokyo International Airport for possession of marijuana he is sent to jail for nine days before being deported

    NASA launches Fltsatcom-3 A Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb prematurely detonates on a passenger train near Belfast, killing three and injuring five (including the bombers)

#1 in the Charts

    Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell & Ian Schrager sentenced to 3½ years in prison for tax evasion & fined $20,000 President Jimmy Carter announces US boycott of Olympics in Moscow US female Figure Skating championship won by Linda Fratianne US male Figure Skating championship won by Charles Tickner Super Bowl XIV, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA: Pittsburgh Steelers beat LA Rams, 31-19 MVP: Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh, QB Gold hits record $850 an ounce Les Henson, Virginia Tech, makes 89' 3" basketball field goal

Event of Interest

Jan 22 Russian dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner arrested in Moscow and banished to Gorky

    West Indies beat England 2-0 to win cricket's 1st World Series Cup Bani Sadr elected president of Iran Dutch government demands boycott of Olympics Highest speed attained by a warship, 167 kph, USN hovercraft Paul McCartney is released from Tokyo jail & deported

Event of Interest

Jan 26 175,000 pay to hear Frank Sinatra sing in Rio de Janeiro

    Islanders & Whalers play a NHL penalty-free game Israel & Egypt establish diplomatic relations Mary Decker became 1st woman to run a mile in under 4½ minutes "Comin' Uptown" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 45 performances

Event of Interest

Jan 27 Robert Mugabe returns to Rhodesia after 5 years in exile

Golden Globes

    USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391) collides with the tanker Capricorn while leaving Tampa Florida and capsizes killing 23 Coast Guard crewmembers. New York coach Red Holzman wins his 600th NBA game, only the second (after Red Auerbach) coach at the time to reach the plateau, as the Knicks beat Golden State, 107-103 6 Iranian-held US hostages escape with help of Canadians Cleveland Cavaliers beat LA Lakers 154-153 in quadruple OT

Event of Interest

Jan 30 Edward Albee's "Lady from Dubuque" premieres in NYC

    Police storm occupied Spanish embassy in Guatemala City, killing 41 Sears Radio Theater moves from CBS to Mutual Broadcasting System Soap opera "Love of Life" ends a 28 year run "Call Me" single released by Blondie (Billboard Song of the Year 1980) FBI releases details of Abscam, a sting operation that targeted 31 elected & public officials for bribes for political favors Mexican boxer Salvador Sánchez dethrones Danny “Little Red” Lopez as WBC world featherweight champion with a 13th-round TKO in Phoenix, AZ Lopez champion since November 1976, 8th defence

Boxing Title Fight

Feb 3 Larry Holmes TKOs Lorenzo Holmes in 6 for heavyweight boxing title

NBA All-Star Game

Feb 3 30th NBA All-Star Game, Capital Centre, Landover, Md: East beats West, 144-136 (OT) MVP: George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs, SF

    Bani Sadr sworn in as premier of Iran Studio 54 holds its grand closing party on its last night in business 32nd NHL All-Star Game, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit: Wales Conference beats Campbell Conference, 6-3 MVP: Reggie Leach, Philadelphia Flyers, RW

Murder of Interest

Feb 6 John Wayne Gacy goes on trial for the murder of 33 young men in Cook County, Illinois

Event of Interest

Feb 9 Rick Barry, Houston, is 1st in NBA to score 8 3-pointers in a game

    Ianford Wilsons "Talley's Folly" premieres in NYC "Canterbury Tales" opens at Rialto Theater NYC for 16 performances NY Islanders 2nd scoreless tie, vs Winnipeg Jets

Event of Interest

Feb 12 Richard Hadlee becomes NZ's top wicket-taker with 117

    Apollo Computer Inc incorporated NZ beats West Indies by one wicket in cricket at Dunedin XIII Winter Olympic Games open in Lake Placid, New York "West Side Story" opens at Minskoff Theater NYC for 341 performances US launches Solar Maximum Mission Observatory to study solar flares Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins first of 3 gold medals at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics when he takes out 30k event also wins relay and 50k gold American speed skater Eric Heiden wins 500m in Olympic record 38.03s first of record 5 gold medal sweep of events at Lake Placid Wayne Gretzy assists on NHL-record-tieing 7 goals East German speed skater Karin Enke wins first of 3 career Olympic gold medals with victory in the 500m at Lake Placid Winter wins 1,000m & 1,500m in Sarajevo (1984) Soviet cross-country skier Raisa Smetanina claims her 3rd of 4 career Olympic gold medals in the 5k event at Lake Placid also wins 10k and relay gold (Innsbruck 1976) and relay (Albertville 1992) Continuous traffic jam extends 176 km north of Lyons, France American speed skater Eric Heiden wins 5,000m in Olympic record 7:02.29 second of record 5 gold medal sweep of events at Lake Placid 22nd Daytona 500: Buddy Baker wins ahead of Bobby Allison and Neil Bonnett

Olympic Gold

Feb 22 "Miracle on Ice": US ice hockey team beats heavily favoured Soviet Union, 4-3 at Lake Placid in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history Americans go on to win gold medal

    Swedish World Cup and World champion Ingemar Stenmark wins his 2nd gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics, taking out the slalom follows-on from giant slalom success Aleksandr Tikhonov of the Soviet Union earns his 4th straight gold medal as part of the 4 x 7.5k biathlon relay team at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics Soviet biathlete Anatoly Alyabyev wins his 2nd gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics as part of the 4 x 7.5k relay team also wins individual gold American speed skater Eric Heiden wins Olympic 10,000m in world record 14:28.13 sweeps all 5 speed skating events at Lake Placid only athlete to win 5 gold medals at one Winter Games France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll Oil tanker explosion off Pilos, Greece, causes 37-mil-gallon spillage Olympic giant slalom champion Hanni Wenzel of Liechtenstein wins the women's slalom, her second gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Games Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins his 3rd gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics when he takes out the 50k event also wins 30k and relay gold "Canterbury Tales" closes at Rialto Theater NYC after 16 performances Rangers score 5 power-play goals against Islanders XIII Winter Olympic Games close in Lake Placid, New York

Olympic Gold

Feb 24 US ice hockey team clinches gold medal with 4-2 win over Finland at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics comes after 4-3 "Miracle on Ice" victory against hot favorite Soviet Union

    Coup ousts PM Henck Arron of Suriname British political comedy "Yes Minister" written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, starring Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne and Derek Fowlds premieres on BBC Two Egypt & Israel exchange ambassadors for 1st time Military coup under Desi Bouterse in Suriname New Zealand cricket captain Geoff Howarth 147 and Richard Hadlee 103 hold off West Indies pace quartet of Roberts, Garner, Holding and Croft during famous 2nd Test draw at Christchurch

Grammy Awards

Feb 27 22nd Grammy Awards: Song of the Year Kenny Loggins' "What a Fool Believes" Best Album Billy Joel's "52nd Street

NHL Record

Feb 29 Future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Gordie Howe scores in the 3rd period to become first NHL player to score 800 career goals as Hartford Whalers beat St. Louis Blues, 3-0 at Springfield Civic Center

    Michael Bracey ends 59 h 55 m trapped in an elevator, England Commonwealth Trade Union Council established Patti Smith & MC5 guitarist Fred Sonic Smith wed in Detroit Snow falls in Florida The US enacts the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act as part of a compromise between the Carter Administration and the Congress over the decontrol of crude oil prices 27th ACC Men's Basketball Tournament, Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC: Duke beats Maryland, 73-72 21st SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, BJCC Coliseum, Birmingham, AL: LSU beats Kentucky, 80-78 Phoenix point guard Mike Bratz ends NBA free throw streak of 57 games with a miss in the Suns' 123-115 home win over the LA Lakers France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll 1st nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus is decommissioned

Event of Interest

Mar 3 Pierre Trudeau sworn in, for the second time, as the 17th Prime Minister of Canada


Who shot J.R.? She did. On �llas.’ 35 years ago.

Mary Crosby, daughter of legendary actor, Bing Crosby, seen in a 2014 photo, starred as Kristin Shepard, the woman who shot J.R. Ewing on the nighttime series, �llas.” As many as 90 million viewers in the U.S. alone tuned to �llas,” Nov. 21, 1980, to find out who shot J.R. (Photo by Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

In this Nov. 21, 1980 photo, Crosby and Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing on �llas,” appear at a party in Los Angeles. Of Hagman she says, “He taught me how to have a great time being a bad girl.” (AP file photo)

NEW YORK — Thirty-five years ago this Saturday, viewers learned the truth.

They got the answer to the question that bedeviled them for months.

They found out who shot J.R. Ewing as 90 million of them massed in front of half the nation’s TVs watching �llas” that evening of Nov. 21, 1980.

Not that it really mattered whodunit. What mattered was, the issue was settled. The mystery solved. �llas” fans could finally move on.

So could �llas,” which, by the time the shooter’s identity was disclosed, had rocketed from its prior status as a mere TV hit to the far reaches of cultural blockbuster-dom.

A saga of the Texas tycoon Ewings, �llas” was epic, ostentatious, outrageous and addictive, with its at-each-other’s-throats clan ruled by J.R. Ewing, a charmingly loathsome oil baron. As embodied by Larry Hagman, J.R. was a bottomless well of corruption who deployed a Lone Star twang, cold hawk eyes and a wicked grin.

By the evening of March 21, 1980, �llas” devotees were smitten with his villainy. But then, on that second-season finale, �llas” threw them a curve unlike anything witnessed before: J.R. was gunned down by an unknown assailant and left for dead on his office floor.

Thunderstruck fans were left with the awful possibility (and somehow it seemed like a possibility) that the series’ leading man — its main attraction — might have been disposed of. And even more unsettling: They were left in the dark as to who pulled the trigger.

Obvious persons of interest included Sue Ellen Ewing (played by Linda Gray), J.R.’s long-suffering, cheated-upon wife, and his sniveling arch-enemy Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval).

Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s sexy scheming sister-in-law/mistress, was also an attractive candidate.

But �llas” producers, who had cooked up the “Who Shot J.R.?” twist as an effective way to satisfy a last-minute order by CBS for two extra episodes to close out Season 2, hadn’t even settled on whodunit when they decided that the deed be done. Or, if they had, they weren’t talking.

Mary Crosby says she had no idea. When she got the script, Crosby, who played Kristin, thought only, “What a great way to end the season. And J.R. certainly deserves it!”

To ensure the big secret stayed a secret to everyone, including the doer, everybody got a turn on-camera pulling the trigger.

“It was a really fun day,” Crosby recalls. “The producers got to shoot J.R. The makeup artist got to shoot him. Larry got to shoot himself.”

Then, after they wrapped, Hagman, ever the jokester, changed into a novelty-shop vest and toasted the company with a glass of Scotch. As he drank, liquid spouted from numerous 𠇋ullet holes” in his chest.

“There was never a dull moment with Larry,” Crosby chuckles.

The mystery, unleashed on viewers in March, ran rampant much longer than intended: An actors strike would shut down all TV production and push the start of the networks’ Fall 1980 season into November, imposing an extra three months for the nation’s favorite guessing game to rage.

“It was extraordinary that people cared after all that time,” says Crosby.

But care, they did! Viewers scarfed up Who Shot J.R.? merchandise including T-shirts, coffee cups and beer. They put money down betting on who the culprit would be. They devoured publicity about the stunt, including a sprawling Time magazine cover story whose headline, of course, posed: “WHODUNIT?”

Running for a second term, President Jimmy Carter reportedly joked at a Dallas fundraiser, “I came to Dallas to find out confidentially who shot J.R.”

No luck. But in the new season’s fourth episode, the answer was finally revealed to all — including Crosby, who only then discovered that she, as Kristin, was the guilty party.

“I knew when everybody else knew,” she declares, and watching �llas” that fateful night “I was thrilled — and spooked. I knew that it would change things, and it did. I was certainly a more recognizable figure after that!”

Needless to say, J.R. would recover and resume his villainy. He lived even beyond the series’ conclusion after 14 seasons in May 1991, when viewers were duped into suspecting that he had committed suicide.

In fact, J.R. didn’t meet his maker until March 2013 on an episode of TNT’s �llas” revival, following the death of Hagman at 81 from cancer four months earlier.

Crosby, now 56, would go on acting after her brief stint as Kristin, and last year appeared as herself in the 𠇊merican Masters” portrait of her father, legendary crooner Bing Crosby.

She remembers Hagman as a dear friend and, on the �llas” set, “He taught me how to have a great time being a bad girl.

“I was there during the show’s rise, which was very exciting,” she adds. “None of us imagined what the show would become.”

And she could never have imagined her place in TV history: the one who dunit.

“I’m still a trivia question,” she laughs. “What can I say?”


Dallas Was Hugely Popular, Thanks To Its Villain

Dallas was a bit of an accidental success. It began as a five-part miniseries on April 2, 1978. The mini-series was not an instant success, but it did come back for a full season and gradually found a following. The show became a staple of Friday television. Because of its structure and themes, it was called a “primetime soap opera.” The story focused on two families caught in a feud: the Barnes and the Ewings. The feud, over ownership of oil fields, began when Digger Barnes accused Jock Ewing, his former partner, of stealing oil fields. Ewing also stole the love of Barnes’ life. With her, Jock Ewing had three sons: Bobby, the youngest son who married Digger’s daughter Pam, Gary, the overlooked middle son, and J.R., the villain at the center of the mystery that the world focused on in 1980.


TIL In order to keep the secret of "Who shot J.R.?", every actor on Dallas was filmed shooting J.R., including J.R. himself.

The people who were filmed shooting him were filmed being shot as well.

A Møøse once shot my sister. Mynd you, møøse bullets Kan be pretti nasti.

My mom was constantly saying who shoot JR? My whole life I’ve never known the story but I knew she had to wait all summer to find out

Proof that we've always had memes

And all fall, since it didn't air until November due to a Writers Guild strike.

There was even a song about it.

This was such a big show. We wouldn’t hit the bars on Friday night until we had watched Dallas! No recording back then. God I’m old.

Celebrate that, not everybody makes it that far!

My father (62) absolutely loves Dallas and talks about it frequently. He was so into it and always tells about how everyone was so fed up with having to wait to see who shot JR.


Historical Events in 2002

    Daniel Bedingfield returns to No.1 on the UK singles chart for the second time with Gotta Get Thru This

Event of Interest

Jan 8 President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act.

Music Awards

Jan 9 Michael Jackson receives the Artist of the Century award at the American music awards

Music Awards

Film and TV Awards

Jan 13 28th People's Choice Awards: Tom Hanks & Julia Roberts win (Dramatic Motion Picture) and Kelsey Grammer, Ray Romano & Jennifer Aniston win (TV)

Event of Interest

Jan 13 In a controversial move, Marty Schottenheimer is fired as head coach of the Washington Redskins after just one season

Event of Interest

Jan 16 UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and freezes assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the members of the Taliban

    Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people. Sierra Leone Civil War finally declared over. "Tuck Rule Game" AFC Divisional Playoff Game with under 2 minutes to play New England Patriots trail Oakland Raiders, 13-10 in a driving snowstorm, when a Tom Brady fumble ruled an incomplete pass. Patriots win 16-13 in overtime Photographs showing al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects shackled and masked are published by the United States military

Golden Globes

    18th Sundance Film Festival: "Personal Velocity: Three Portraits", directed by Rebecca Miller, wins Grand Jury Prize Dramatic The Canadian Dollar sets all-time low against the US Dollar (US.6179). Kmart Corp becomes the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Reporter Daniel Pearl kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan, and subsequently murdered. "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in Federal Bureau of Investigation custody. Wikipedia switches to the new version of its software ("Phase II") aka Magnus Manske Day.

Australian Open Women's Tennis

Jan 26 Australian Open Women's Tennis: American Jennifer Capriati wins her 2nd consecutive Australian title beats Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-6, 6-2

    Australian Open Men's Tennis: Thomas Johansson of Sweden wins his only Grand Slam title beats Russian star Marat Safin 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 AFC Championship, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh: New England Patriots beat Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-17 NFC Championship, Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis: St. Louis Rams beat Philadelphia Eagles, 29-24 TAME Flight 120, a Boeing 727-100 crashes in the Andes mountains in southern Colombia killing 92. US President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address describes "regimes that sponsor terror" an "Axis of Evil", which includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea

NBA Record

Jan 30 Utah's Karl Malone becomes 2nd player in NBA history to register 34,000 career points by scoring 18 in a 90-78 win over Chicago at the Delta Center trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points)

    52nd NHL All-Star Game, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA: World beats North America, 8-5 MVP: Éric Dazé, Chicago Blackhawks, RW

Super Bowl

Feb 3 Super Bowl XXXVI, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA: New England Patriots beat St. Louis Rams, 20-17 MVP: Tom Brady, New England, QB

    52nd Berlin International Film Festival: "Spirited Away" and "Bloody Sunday" win the Golden Bear (tie) XIX Winter Olympic Games open in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI: AFC beats NFC, 38-30 MVP: Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders, QB

NBA All-Star Game

Feb 10 51st NBA All-Star Game, First Union Centre, Philadelphia, PA: West beats East, 135-120 MVP: Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers, F

    US Secretary of Energy makes the decision that Yucca Mountain is suitable to be the United States' nuclear waste repository An Iran Air Tupolev Tu-154 crashes prior to landing in Khorramabad, Iran, killing 119

United Nations

Feb 12 The trial of former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević begins at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He eventually dies four years later before its conclusion.

    Fishing vessel Tullaghmurray Lass sinks off the coast of Kilkeel, County Down, Northern Ireland killing three members of the same family on board At the Tri-State Crematory in La Fayette, Georgia, investigators find uncremated bodies disposed of in the woods and buildings on crematorium's property. One of the worst incidents of abuse in the funeral service industry. Walt Disney releases "Return to Never Land", an animated film sequel to 1953's "Peter Pan" Westlife go to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'World Of Our Own.' The Irish boy band's 10th UK No.1 single.

#1 in the Charts

Feb 17 'Always On Time' by R&B artist Ja Rule featuring Ashanti starts a two-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart.

Daytona 500

Feb 17 44th Daytona 500: Ward Burton's win first for Dodge since Richard Petty's victory in the 1974 race

    NASA's Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system. In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire on a train injures over 65 and kills at least 370.

Olympic Gold

Feb 24 Joe Sakic and Jerome Iginla each score twice as Canada defeats the United States, 5-2 to win the men's ice hockey Olympic gold medal at Salt Lake City

BAFTA Awards

Feb 24 55th British Film and Television Awards (BAFTAS): "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" Best Film, Peter Jackson Best Director

    Godhra train burning, a Muslim mob kills 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya Ryanair Flight 296 catches fire in London Stansted Airport. Subsequent investigations criticize Ryanair's handling of the evacuation.

Grammy Awards

Feb 27 44th Grammy Awards: Walk On, Alicia Keys wins

    The peseta is discontinued as official currency of Spain and is replaced with the euro (€). U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: Operation Anaconda begins in eastern Afghanistan as US special operations forces infiltrate the Shahi-Kot Valley in Eastern Afghanistan The Envisat environmental satellite successfully reaches an orbit 800 kilometers (500 miles) above the Earth on its 11th launch, carrying the heaviest payload to date at 8500 kilograms (9.5 tons). U.S. invasion of Afghanistan: US conventional forces first deployed as part of Operation Anaconda 40-year old South African boxer ‘Baby Jake’ Matlala ends his 22-year career with a 7th-round TKO win over Columbia’s Juan Herrera to retain his WBU junior flyweight title in Johannesburg Citizens of Switzerland narrowly vote in favor of their country becoming a member of the United Nations. 33rd NAACP Image Awards: "Ali" wins Outstanding Motion Picture Canada bans human embryo cloning but permits government-funded scientists to use embryos left over from fertility treatment or abortions. Multinational Force in Afghanistan: Seven American Special Operations Forces soldiers are killed as they attempt to infiltrate the Shahi Kot Valley on a low-flying helicopter reconnaissance mission.

Television Premiere

Mar 5 American reality TV program The Osbournes" featuring family of Ozzy Osbourne premieres on MTV


This day in history — Nov. 21

On Nov. 21, 1980, an estimated 83 million TV viewers tuned in to the CBS prime-time soap opera “Dallas” to find out “who shot J.R.” (The shooter turned out to be J.R. Ewing’s sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard, played by Mary Crosby. J.R. was played by Larry Hagman.)

In 1922, Rebecca L. Felton, a Georgia Democrat, was sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate her term, the result of an interim appointment, ended the following day as Walter F. George, the winner of a special election, took office.

In 1942, the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway, was formally opened at Soldier’s Summit in the Yukon Territory.

In 1969, the Senate voted down the Supreme Court nomination of Clement F. Haynsworth, 55-45, the first such rejection since 1930.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon’s attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, revealed the existence of an 18 1 /2-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.

In 1980, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

In 1985, U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested, accused of spying for Israel. (Pollard later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison he was released on parole on Nov. 20, 2015.)

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council chose Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt to be the new Secretary-General.

Ten years ago: Lebanon’s industry minister, Pierre Gemayel, scion of Lebanon’s most prominent Christian family, was assassinated.

Five years ago: Congress’ bipartisan deficit reduction “supercommittee,” tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade, failed under the law that established the committee, inability to reach a compromise would trigger about $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts in military and domestic government programs beginning in 2013.

One year ago: Belgian authorities closed down Brussels’ subway system and flooded the streets with armed police and soldiers in response to what they said was a threat of Paris-style attacks.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Contents

Jack Ruby was born Jacob Leon Rubenstein [1] on March 25, 1911, [2] in the Maxwell Street area of Chicago, the son of Joseph Rubenstein and Fannie Turek Rutkowski (or Rokowsky), both Polish-born Orthodox Jews from Sokołów. Ruby was the fifth of his parents' 10 surviving children. While he was growing up, his parents were often violent towards each other and frequently separated Ruby's mother was eventually committed to a mental hospital. [3] His troubled childhood and adolescence were marked by juvenile delinquency with time being spent in foster homes. At age 11 in 1922, he was arrested for truancy. Ruby eventually skipped school so often that he had to spend time at the Institute for Juvenile Research. Still a young man, he sold horse-racing tip sheets and various novelties, then acted as a business agent for a local refuse collectors union that later became part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). [4] : 332

From his early childhood, Ruby was nicknamed "Sparky" by those who knew him. [5] His sister, Eva Grant, said that he acquired the nickname because he resembled a slow-moving horse named "Spark Plug" or "Sparky" in the contemporary comic strip Barney Google. ("Spark Plug" debuted as a character in the strip in 1922, when Ruby was 11.) [5] Other accounts say that the name was given because of his quick temper. [5] In either event, Grant stated that Ruby did not like the nickname Sparky, and was quick to fight anyone who called him that. [5]

In the 1940s, Ruby frequented race tracks in Illinois and California. He was drafted in 1943 and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, working as an aircraft mechanic at U.S. bases until 1946. He had an honorable record and was promoted to Private First Class. Upon discharge, in 1946, Ruby returned to Chicago. [3]

In 1947, Ruby moved to Dallas, where he and his brothers soon afterward shortened their surnames from Rubenstein to Ruby. The stated reason for this was that the name "Rubenstein" was too long and that he was "well known" as Jack Ruby. [6] Ruby later went on to manage various nightclubs, strip clubs, and dance halls. He developed close ties to many Dallas Police officers who frequented his nightclubs, where he provided them with free liquor, prostitutes and other favors. [7]

Ruby never married and had no children. [8] At the time of the assassination, Ruby was living with George Senator, who referred to Ruby as "my boyfriend" during the Warren Commission hearing, but denied the two being homosexual lovers. Warren Commission lawyer Burt Griffin later told author Gerald Posner: "I'm not sure if Senator was honest with us about his relationship with Ruby. People did not advertise their homosexuality in 1963". [9]

There was evidence indicating Jack Ruby had been involved in the underworld activities of illegal gambling, narcotics, and prostitution. [10]

A 1956 FBI report stated that their informant, Eileen Curry, had moved to Dallas in January of that year together with her boyfriend, James Breen, after jumping bond on narcotics charges. Breen told her that he had made connections with a large narcotics setup operating between Texas, Mexico, and the East, and that "in some fashion, James got the okay to operate through Jack Ruby of Dallas." [11]

Former Dallas County Sheriff Steve Guthrie told the FBI that he believed Ruby "operated some prostitution activities and other vices in his club" since living in Dallas. [12]

Dallas disc jockey Kenneth Dowe testified that Ruby was known around the station for "procuring women for different people who came to town." [13]

According to the people interviewed by law enforcement and the Warren Commission, Ruby was desperate to attract attention to himself and to his club. He knew a great number of people in Dallas, but had only a few friends. His business ventures remained unsuccessful, and during the time of the assassination, he was heavily in debt. [9]

The commission received reports of Ruby's penchant for violence. He had a volatile temper, and often resorted to violence with employees who had upset him. Acting as the bouncer of his own club, Ruby beat his customers on at least 25 occasions. The fights would often end with Ruby throwing his victims down the club's stairs. [9]

Government officials also heard stories of Ruby's eccentric and unstable behavior. He sometimes took his shirt or other clothes off in social gatherings, and then either hit his chest like a gorilla or rolled around the floor. During conversations, he could change the topic suddenly in mid-sentence. He sometimes welcomed a guest to his club, but on other nights forbade the same guest from entering without giving an explanation. Ruby was described by those who knew him as "a kook", "totally unpredictable", "a psycho", and "suffering from some form of disturbance". [9]

November 21 Edit

The Warren Commission attempted to reconstruct Ruby's movements from November 21, 1963 through November 24. [14] : 333 The Commission reported that he was attending to his duties as the proprietor of the Carousel Club located at 1312 1/2 Commerce St. in downtown Dallas and the Vegas Club in the city's Oak Lawn district from the afternoon of November 21 to the early hours of November 22. [14] : 333

November 22: assassination of Kennedy Edit

According to the Warren Commission, Ruby was in the second-floor advertising offices of the Dallas Morning News, five blocks away from the Texas School Book Depository, placing weekly advertisements for his nightclubs when he learned of the assassination around 12:45 p.m. [14] : 334–335 Ruby then made phone calls to his assistant at the Carousel Club and to his sister. [14] : 334 The Commission stated that an employee of the Dallas Morning News estimated that Ruby left the newspaper's offices at 1:30 p.m., but indicated that other testimony suggested he may have left earlier. [14] : 334–335

According to the Warren Commission, Ruby arrived back at the Carousel Club shortly before 1:45 p.m. to notify employees that the club would be closed that evening. [14] : 336–337

John Newman, an employee at the newspaper's advertisement department, testified that Ruby became upset over a right-wing anti-Kennedy ad published in the Morning News, that was signed by "The American Fact-Finding Committee, Bernard Weissman, Chairman". Ruby, who was sensitive to antisemitism, was distressed that an ad attacking the President was signed by a person with a "Jewish name". Early next morning, Ruby, while driving, noticed a political billboard featuring the text "IMPEACH EARL WARREN" in block letters. Ruby's sister Eva testified that Ruby had told her he believed that the anti-Kennedy ad and the anti-Warren sign were connected, and were a plot by a "gentile" to blame the assassination on the Jews. [9]

In his book Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, Jim Marrs records the observations of numerous witnesses who reported seeing Ruby at pivotal points before, during, and after the assassination but whose testimony was not heard by the Warren Commission. For example, Ruby was reportedly seen driving a pickup truck on Elm Street from which a man carrying a rifle disembarked and headed for the grassy knoll a short time before 11 a.m. reportedly photographed standing in front of the Texas School Book Depository immediately after the last gunshot reportedly seen sitting in the Texas Theatre during the arrest of Oswald and reportedly seen at Parkland Hospital at the time of the public announcement of Kennedy's death. [15] While Ruby claimed he was busy in the office of the Dallas Morning News working on an ad for his nightclub from 11 a.m. until "well after" the assassination had taken place, a reporter told the FBI (again, according to Marrs) that Ruby was "missed for a period of about twenty to twenty-five minutes" before being seen in the office again after the assassination. [16]

Ruby was seen in the halls of the Dallas Police Headquarters on several occasions after Oswald's arrest on November 22, 1963. Newsreel footage from WFAA-TV (Dallas) and NBC shows that Ruby impersonated a newspaper reporter during a press conference at Dallas Police Headquarters that night. [4] : 349 District Attorney Henry Wade briefed reporters at the press conference telling them that Lee Oswald was a member of the anti-Castro Free Cuba Committee. Ruby was one of several people there who spoke up to correct Wade, saying, "Henry, that's the Fair Play for Cuba Committee", a pro-Castro organization. [17] [18] [4] : 349–350 One month after his arrest for killing Oswald, Ruby told the FBI that he had his loaded snub-nosed Colt Cobra .38 revolver in his right pocket during the press conference. [19] [20] [4] : 3501

November 24: killing of Oswald Edit

On November 24, Ruby drove into town with his pet dachshund Sheba (whom he would often jokingly refer to as his "wife") to send an emergency money order at the Western Union on Main Street to one of his employees. The time stamp of completion for the cash transaction on the money order was 11:17 a.m. Ruby then walked one half block to the nearby Dallas police headquarters, where he made his way into the basement via either the Main Street ramp [21] or a stairway accessible from an alleyway next to the Dallas Municipal Building. [22] At 11:21 a.m. CST—while authorities were escorting Oswald through the police basement to an armored car that was to take him to the nearby county jail—Ruby stepped out from a crowd of reporters with his .38 Colt Cobra revolver [23] aimed at Oswald's abdomen and fired a single round at point blank range, mortally wounding him. [24] The bullet entered Oswald's left side in the front part of the abdomen and caused damage to his spleen, stomach, aorta, vena cava, kidney, liver, diaphragm, and eleventh rib before coming to rest on his right side. [25] Oswald made a cry of anguish and his manacled hands clutched at his abdomen as he writhed with pain, and he slumped to the concrete paving, where he moaned several times. Police detective Billy Combest suddenly recognized Ruby and exclaimed: "Jack, you son of a bitch!" [26] [27] Ruby was immediately subdued by agents and police. A moaning Oswald was carried back into the basement level jail office. He lost consciousness shortly thereafter. Taken by ambulance to Parkland Memorial Hospital—the same hospital where President Kennedy had been pronounced dead two days earlier, Oswald died at 1:07 p.m. [1]

The crowd outside the headquarters burst into applause when they heard that Oswald had been shot. [28]

A network television pool camera was broadcasting live to cover the transfer millions of people watching on NBC witnessed the shooting as it happened and on other networks within minutes afterward. [29] Several photographs were taken of the event just before, as, and after Ruby pulled the trigger. In 1964, Robert H. Jackson of the Dallas Times Herald was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Photography for his image of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. [30]

After his arrest, Ruby asked Dallas attorney Tom Howard to represent him. Howard accepted and asked Ruby if he could think of anything that might damage his defense. Ruby responded that there would be a problem if a man by the name of "Davis" should come up. Ruby told his attorney that he ". had been involved with Davis, who was a gunrunner entangled in anti-Castro efforts". [31] : 44 [32]

Later, Ruby replaced attorney Tom Howard with prominent San Francisco defense attorney Melvin Belli, who agreed to represent Ruby pro bono. On March 14, 1964, Ruby was convicted of murder with malice and was sentenced to death.

Ruby's conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on the grounds that "an oral confession of premeditation made while in police custody" should have been ruled inadmissible, because it violated a Texas criminal statute. [33] The court also ruled that the venue should have been changed to a Texas county other than the one in which the high-profile crime had been committed. [33] Ruby died technically unconvicted, because his original conviction was overturned and his retrial was pending at the time of his death.

During the six months following Kennedy's assassination, Ruby repeatedly asked, orally and in writing, to speak to the members of the Warren Commission. The commission initially showed no interest. Only after Ruby's sister Eileen wrote letters to the commission (and her letters became public) did the Warren Commission agree to talk to Ruby. In June 1964, Chief Justice Earl Warren, then-Representative Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, and other commission members went to Dallas to see Ruby. Ruby asked Warren several times to take him to Washington D.C., saying "my life is in danger here" and that he wanted an opportunity to make additional statements. [34] : 194–196 He added: "I want to tell the truth, and I can't tell it here." [34] : 194 Warren told Ruby that he would be unable to comply, because many legal barriers would need to be overcome, and public interest in the situation would be too heavy. Warren also told Ruby that the commission would have no way of protecting him, since it had no police powers. Ruby said he wanted to convince President Lyndon Johnson that he was not part of any conspiracy to kill Kennedy. [34] : 209–212

Eventually, the appellate court agreed with Ruby's lawyers that he should be granted a new trial. On October 5, 1966, the court ruled that his motion for a change of venue before the original trial court should have been granted. Ruby's conviction and death sentence were overturned. Arrangements were underway for a new trial to be held in February 1967 [35] in Wichita Falls, Texas, when on December 9, 1966, Ruby was admitted to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, suffering from pneumonia. A day later, doctors discovered cancer in Ruby's liver, lungs, and brain. His condition rapidly deteriorated.

Ruby died of a pulmonary embolism, secondary to bronchogenic carcinoma, on January 3, 1967, less than a month after his cancer diagnosis. He died at Parkland Hospital, the same facility where Oswald died and Kennedy was pronounced dead. [36] [37] He was buried beside his parents in the Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois. [38] [39] [40]

Warren Commission Edit

The Warren Commission found no evidence linking Ruby's killing of Oswald with any broader conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. [14] In 1964, the Warren Commission provided a detailed biography of Ruby's life and activities to help ascertain whether he was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. [41] The Commission indicated that there was not a "significant link between Ruby and organized crime" [42] and said he acted independently in killing Oswald. [43] [14] : 373–374

Warren Commission investigator David Belin said that postal inspector Harry Holmes arrived unannounced at the Dallas police station on the morning that Ruby shot Oswald and, upon invitation by the investigators, had questioned Oswald, thus delaying his transfer by half an hour. [44] Belin concluded that, had Ruby been part of a conspiracy, he would have been downtown 30 minutes earlier, when Oswald had been scheduled to be transferred. [44]

In Gerald Posner's book Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, Ruby's friends, relatives and associates claimed that he was upset over President Kennedy's death, even crying on occasions and closing his clubs for three days as a mark of respect. [45] They also disputed the conspiracy claims, saying that Ruby's connection with gangsters was minimal at most and that he was not the sort of person who would be entrusted with an important assassination as part of a high-level conspiracy. [45]

However, Robert Blakey, who was the chief counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, wrote: "It is difficult to dispute the underworld pedigree of Jack Ruby, though the Warren Commission did it in 1964. Author Gerald Posner similarly ignores Ruby's ties to Joseph Civello, the organized crime boss in Dallas. His relationship with Joseph Campisi, the No. 2 man in the mob in Dallas, is even more difficult to ignore. In fact, Campisi and Ruby were close friends they had dinner together at Campisi's restaurant, the Egyptian Lounge, on the night before the assassination. After Ruby was jailed for killing Oswald, Campisi regularly visited him. The select committee thought Campisi's connection to [Carlos] Marcello was telling he told us, for example, that every year at Christmas he sent 260 pounds of Italian sausage to Marcello, a sort of Mafia tribute. We also learned that he called New Orleans up to 20 times a day." [46]

Dallas reporter Tony Zoppi, who knew Ruby well, claimed that one "would have to be crazy" to entrust Ruby with anything as important as a high-level plot to kill Kennedy since he "couldn't keep a secret for five minutes . Jack was one of the most talkative guys you would ever meet. He'd be the worst fellow in the world to be part of a conspiracy, because he just plain talked too much." [45] : 361, 399 He and others described Ruby as the sort who enjoyed being at "the center of attention", trying to make friends with people and being more of a nuisance. [45]

Some writers, including former Los Angeles District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, dismiss Ruby's connections to organized crime as being highly minimal: "It is very noteworthy that without exception, not one of these conspiracy theorists knew or had ever met Jack Ruby. Without our even resorting to his family and roommate, all of whom think the suggestion of Ruby being connected to the mob is ridiculous, those who knew him, unanimously and without exception, think the notion of his being connected to the Mafia, and then killing Oswald for them, is nothing short of laughable." [47]

Bill Alexander, who prosecuted Ruby for Oswald's murder, equally rejected any suggestions that Ruby was involved with organized crime, claiming that conspiracy theorists based it on the claim that "A knew B, and Ruby knew B back in 1950, so he must have known A, and that must be the link to the conspiracy." [45]

Ruby's brother Earl denied allegations that Jack was involved in racketeering Chicago nightclubs, and author Gerald Posner suggested that witnesses may have confused Ruby with Harry Rubenstein, a convicted Chicago felon. [45] Entertainment reporter Tony Zoppi was also dismissive of mob ties. He knew Ruby and described him as a "born loser". [45]

Author Norman Mailer and others have questioned why Ruby would have left his two beloved dogs in his car if he had planned on killing Oswald at police headquarters. [48]

Some critics have not accepted the conclusions of the Warren Commission and have proposed several other theories.

Ruby's motive Edit

Ruby was arrested immediately after shooting Oswald, and he told several witnesses that he had been distraught over President Kennedy's death and had helped the city of Dallas "redeem" itself in the eyes of the public, and that his motive for killing Oswald was "saving Mrs. Kennedy the discomfiture of coming back to trial". [34] : 198–200 He also claimed he shot Oswald on the spur of the moment when the opportunity presented itself, without considering any reason for doing so. [34] : 199 Ruby told the FBI he was "in mourning" Friday and Saturday. He said he cried when he heard the President was shot, "cried a great deal" Saturday afternoon and was depressed Saturday night. He explained that this grief was caused by his great love for the President and his sympathy for the Kennedy family. The anguish over the assassination, Ruby stated, finally "reached the point of insanity", suddenly compelling him to shoot when Oswald walked to the police ramp that Sunday morning. [49] At the time of the shooting, Ruby said he was taking phenmetrazine, a central nervous system stimulant. [34] : 198–199 Ruby broke into tears at his bond hearing in January 1964, as he talked to reporters regarding the assassination of President Kennedy. His voice breaking, Ruby said that he could not understand "how a great man like that could be lost". According to an unnamed Associated Press source, Ruby made a final statement from his hospital bed on December 19, 1966, that he alone had been responsible for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. [50] "There is nothing to hide . There was no one else," Ruby said. [51]

White House correspondent Seth Kantor, who was a passenger in President Kennedy's motorcade, testified that after President Kennedy was shot, he had visited Parkland Hospital while doctors were trying to save the President's life. Kantor said that as he entered the hospital, at about 1:30 p.m., he felt a tug on his coat. He turned around to see Jack Ruby, who called him by his first name and shook his hand [52] : 78–82 [31] : 41 he said that he had become acquainted with Ruby while he was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald newspaper. [52] : 72 [31] : vi According to Kantor, Ruby asked him if he thought that it would be a good idea for him to close his nightclubs for the next three nights because of the tragedy and Kantor responded without thinking that doing so would be a good idea. [31] : 41 [53] [52] : 80

The Warren Commission dismissed Kantor's testimony, saying that the encounter at Parkland Hospital would have had to take place in a span of a few minutes before and after 1:30 pm, as evidenced by telephone company records of calls made by both people then. The commission also pointed to contradictory witness testimony and to the lack of video confirmation of Ruby at the scene. [14] : 335–337 The Commission concluded that "Kantor probably did not see Ruby at Parkland Hospital" and "may have been mistaken about both the time and the place that he saw Ruby". [14] : 335–337

In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations reexamined Kantor's testimony and stated, "While the Warren Commission concluded that Kantor was mistaken [about his Parkland encounter with Ruby], the Committee determined he probably was not." [54] : 158 [4] : 458–459

Kantor also reported that Ruby might have tampered with evidence while at Parkland. [31] : 192 Goaded by the Warren Commission's dismissal of his testimony, Kantor researched the Ruby case for years. In a later published book Who Was Jack Ruby?, Kantor wrote:

The mob was Ruby's "friend." And Ruby could well have been paying off an IOU the day he was used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Remember: "I have been used for a purpose," the way Ruby expressed it to Chief Justice Warren in their June 7, 1964 session. It would not have been hard for the mob to maneuver Ruby through the ranks of a few negotiable police [to kill Oswald]. [31] : 18

The House Select Committee on Assassinations, in its 1979 Final Report, opined:

. Ruby's shooting of Oswald was not a spontaneous act, in that it involved at least some premeditation. Similarly, the committee believed it was less likely that Ruby entered the police basement without assistance, even though the assistance may have been provided with no knowledge of Ruby's intentions . The committee was troubled by the apparently unlocked doors along the stairway route and the removal of security guards from the area of the garage nearest the stairway shortly before the shooting . There is also evidence that the Dallas Police Department withheld relevant information from the Warren Commission concerning Ruby's entry to the scene of the Oswald transfer. [54] : 157–158

According to Lieutenant Billy Grammer, a dispatcher for the Dallas Police Department, he received an anonymous phone call at 3 a.m. on November 24 from a man who knew Grammer's name. The caller told Grammer that he knew of the plan to move Oswald from the basement and that unless the plans for Oswald's transfer were changed, the caller warned "we are going to kill him". After Oswald was shot, Grammer, who knew Ruby, and found the voice familiar at the time of the call, identified Ruby as the caller. Grammer remained convinced that Ruby's shooting of Oswald was "a planned event". [55] [56]

Detective Archer testified to the Warren Commission that when he searched Jack Ruby after his arrest, he was worried about Oswald's condition and he said to Ruby, "Jack, I think you killed him." Archer said that Ruby looked him straight in the eye and said, "Well, I intended to shoot him three times." Seth Kantor believes that Ruby's response to Archer does not suggest a spontaneous reaction, and the very word "intended" implies having prior intention. [31] : 192

Ruby's explanation for killing Oswald would be "exposed . as a fabricated legal ploy", according to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. In a private note to one of his attorneys, Joseph Tonahill, Ruby wrote: "Joe, you should know this. My first lawyer Tom Howard told me to say that I shot Oswald so that Caroline and Mrs. Kennedy wouldn't have to come to Dallas to testify. OK?" [54] : 158 [57] [4] : 353 [49]

G. Robert Blakey, chief counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations from 1977 to 1979, said: "The most plausible explanation for the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby was that Ruby had stalked him on behalf of organized crime, trying to reach him on at least three occasions in the forty-eight hours before he silenced him forever." [58]

Russell Moore, an acquaintance of Jack Ruby, told the Warren Commission that Ruby held no bitterness towards Oswald and that Ruby called Oswald "a good looking guy" who resembled Paul Newman. [59] [60]

In his book Contract on America, David Scheim noted that although some people claimed that they saw Ruby upset over the weekend of the assassination, others said that he was not. On Friday night, TV newsman Vic Robertson Jr. saw Ruby at police headquarters and reported that Ruby "appeared to be anything but under stress or strain. He seemed happy, jovial, was joking and laughing". [61] [49] Announcer Glen Duncan also testified that Ruby "was not grieving" and if anything, was "happy that evidence was piling up against Oswald". [49]

Scheim also presented evidence that he claimed showed that Ruby made a "candid confession" when giving testimony to the Warren Commission. [49] During his testimony, Ruby teared up when talking about a Saturday morning eulogy for President Kennedy, but after composing himself, inexplicably said, "I must be a great actor, I tell you that." [34] : 198–199 [49] Ruby also remarked that "they didn't ask me another question: 'If I loved the President so much, why wasn't I at the parade?'" (referring to the presidential motorcade) and "it's strange that perhaps I didn't vote for President Kennedy, or didn't vote at all, that I should build up such a great affection for him". [62] : 564–565 [49]

Schiem also noted several people who knew Ruby, who claimed that the patriotic statements Ruby professed were quite out of character. Harry Hall, Ruby's partner in a gambling operation, told the FBI that "Ruby was the type who was interested in any way to make money" and also said that he "could not conceive of Ruby doing anything out of patriotism". [63] [49] Jack Kelly, who had known Ruby casually since 1943, "scoffed at the idea of a patriotic motive being involved by Ruby in the slaying of Oswald", and reportedly stated that he "could not see Ruby" killing Oswald "out of patriotism" but "for publicity or . for money". [49]

Jada, a stripper at Ruby's club, in an interview with ABC's Paul Good, remarked "I believe he [Ruby] disliked Bobby Kennedy". [49]

Ruby's friend, Paul Jones, told the FBI that "he doubted that he [Ruby] would have become emotionally upset and killed Oswald on the spur of the moment. He felt Ruby would have done it for money." [49]

Following Ruby's March 1964 conviction for murder with malice, Ruby's lawyers, led by Sam Houston Clinton, appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest criminal court in Texas. Ruby's lawyers argued that he could not have received a fair trial in Dallas because of the excessive publicity surrounding the case. A year after his conviction, in March 1965, Ruby conducted a brief televised news conference in which he stated: "Everything pertaining to what's happening has never come to the surface. The world will never know the true facts of what occurred, my motives. The people who had so much to gain, and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I'm in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world." When asked by a reporter, "Are these people in very high positions, Jack?", he responded "Yes." [64]

Journalist Seth Kantor speculated in 1978 that the man by the name of "Davis" that Ruby mentioned to his attorney, Tom Howard, may have been Thomas Eli Davis III, a CIA-connected mercenary. [4] : 359–361, 226 [65]

Dallas Deputy Sheriff Al Maddox claimed: "Ruby told me, he said, 'Well, they injected me for a cold.' He said it was cancer cells. That's what he told me, Ruby did. I said you don't believe that bullshit. He said, 'I damn sure do!' [Then] one day when I started to leave, Ruby shook hands with me and I could feel a piece of paper in his palm . [In this note] he said it was a conspiracy and he said . if you will keep your eyes open and your mouth shut, you're gonna learn a lot. And that was the last letter I ever got from him." In the note, Ruby claimed he was part of a conspiracy, and that his role was to silence Oswald. [66] Not long before Ruby died, according to an article in the London Sunday Times, he told psychiatrist Werner Teuter that the assassination was "an act of overthrowing the government" and that he knew "who had President Kennedy killed". He added: "I am doomed. I do not want to die. But I am not insane. I was framed to kill Oswald." [66] [67] [4] : 341

David Scheim presented evidence that Mafia leaders Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante, Jr., as well as organized labor leader Jimmy Hoffa, ordered the assassination of President Kennedy. Scheim cited in particular a 25-fold increase in the number of out-of-state telephone calls from Jack Ruby to associates of these crime bosses in the months before the assassination. [68] According to author Vincent Bugliosi, both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations determined all of these calls were related to Ruby seeking help from the American Guild of Variety Artists in a matter concerning two of his competitors. [69] The House Select Committee on Assassinations report stated ". that most of Ruby's phone calls during late 1963 were related to his labor troubles. In the light of the identity of some of the individuals with whom Ruby spoke, however, the possibility of other matters being discussed could not be dismissed." [70]

In his memoir, Bound by Honor, Bill Bonanno, son of New York Mafia boss Joseph Bonanno, stated that he realized that certain Mafia families were involved in the JFK assassination when Ruby killed Oswald, since Bonanno was aware that Ruby was an associate of Chicago mobster Sam Giancana. [71]

Associations with organized crime and gunrunning allegations Edit

In 1979, fifteen years after the Warren report, the House Select Committee on Assassinations undertook a similar investigation of Ruby and said that he "had a significant number of associations and direct and indirect contacts with underworld figures" and "the Dallas criminal element" but that he was not a "member" of organized crime. [72]

Ruby was known to have been acquainted with both the police and the Mafia. The HSCA said that Ruby had known Chicago mobster Sam Giancana (1908–1975) and Joseph Campisi (1918–1990) since 1947, and had been seen with them on many occasions. [73] [4] : 346 After an investigation of Joe Campisi, the HSCA found:

While Campisi's technical characterization in federal law enforcement records as an organized crime member has ranged from definite to suspected to negative, it is clear that he was an associate or friend of many Dallas-based organized crime members, particularly Joseph Civello, during the time he was the head of the Dallas organization. There was no indication that Campisi had engaged in any specific organized crime-related activities. [74]

Similarly, a PBS Frontline investigation into the connections between Ruby and Dallas organized crime figures reported the following:

In 1963, Sam and Joe Campisi were leading figures in the Dallas underworld. Jack knew the Campisis and had been seen with them on many occasions. The Campisis were lieutenants of Carlos Marcello, the Mafia boss who had reportedly talked of killing the President. [75]

On the night before Kennedy was assassinated, Ruby and Joe Campisi had dinner together at Campisi's restaurant, the Egyptian Lounge. [76] After Ruby was jailed for killing Lee Oswald, Joe Campisi "regularly visited" Ruby. [4] : 346 [77] [78] [79] [76]

Howard P. Willens—the third-highest official in the Department of Justice [80] and assistant counsel to J. Lee Rankin—helped organize the Warren Commission. Willens also outlined the commission's investigative priorities [81] and terminated an investigation of Ruby's Cuban related activities. [82] An FBI report states that Willens's father had been Tony Accardo's next door neighbor going back to 1958. [83] In 1946, Tony Accardo allegedly asked Jack Ruby to go to Texas with Mafia associates Pat Manno and Romie Nappi to make sure that Dallas County Sheriff Steve Gutherie would acquiesce to the Mafia's expansion into Dallas. [84]

Four years before the assassination of President Kennedy, Ruby went to see a man named Lewis McWillie in Cuba. Ruby considered McWillie, who had previously run illegal gambling establishments in Texas, to be one of his closest friends. [34] : 201 At the time Ruby visited him, in August 1959, McWillie was supervising gambling activities at Havana's Tropicana Club. Ruby told the Warren Commission that his August trip to Cuba was merely a social visit at the invitation of McWillie. [34] : 201 The House Select Committee on Assassinations would later conclude that Ruby ". most likely was serving as a courier for gambling interests". [54] : 152 [85] [4] : 337 The committee also found "circumstantial," but not conclusive, evidence that ". Ruby met with [Mafia boss] Santo Trafficante in Cuba sometime in 1959." [54] : 152–153 [4] : 338

James E. Beaird, who claimed to be a poker-playing friend of Jack Ruby, told both The Dallas Morning News and the FBI that Ruby smuggled guns and ammunition from Galveston Bay, Texas to Fidel Castro's guerrillas in Cuba in the late 1950s. Beaird said that Ruby "was in it for the money. It wouldn't matter which side, just [whichever] one that would pay him the most." Beaird said that the guns were stored in a two-story house near the waterfront, and that he saw Ruby and his associates load "many boxes of new guns, including automatic rifles and handguns" on a 50-foot military-surplus boat. He claimed that "each time that the boat left with guns and ammunition, Jack Ruby was on the boat." [86] [87] [4] : 335

Blaney Mack Johnson, an FBI informant, said Ruby was "active in arranging illegal flights of weapons from Miami" to pro-Castro forces in Cuba in the early 1950s. [4] : 335 [88]


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