In A Nutshell
Newspaper gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen was famous for reporting on state secrets and had friends in high places feeding her information. But she may have known too much. Shortly after interviewing Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who killed Lee Harvey Oswald, Kilgallen was found dead under suspicious circumstances.
The Whole Bushel
Dorothy Kilgallen was a newspaper gossip columnist and panelist on the TV game show What’s My Line?, but unlike most gossipmongers, Kilgallen invited serious controversy by touching on topics like the Sam Sheppard murder case, the existence of UFOs (she claimed a source with the British military told her they’d recovered a crashed specimen), and American involvement in Cuba. Some of the information she shared makes it seem obvious she had an informant within the ranks of the CIA.
Dorothy was also friendly with John F. Kennedy and had a great deal of information at her disposal about his affairs. On August 3, 1962, she dropped hints in her column about the President and his dalliances with Marilyn Monroe. The next day, Monroe committed suicide, leading many to wonder if there was something fishy about her demise.
Kilgallen began poking around with conspiracy theories in the wake of JFK’s assassination. During his trial, she interviewed Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer, away from presiding sheriff’s deputies for eight minutes, but what he told her has been lost to history. Shortly thereafter, Kilgallen was dead, her body found lying on the floor of her Manhattan brownstone. Although it seemed like a suicide or accidental overdose (of alcohol and barbiturates), the medical examiner ruled “circumstances undetermined” on her death certificate. Ruby, who had serious ties to the mafia, made it clear that he’d been part of a much larger conspiracy, but never provided details. He died in 1967 of a pulmonary embolism.
In the wake of her passing, members of Kilgallen’s inner circle claimed that she’d told them she was “about to blow the JFK case sky high.” Records indicate she was a person of interest to the FBI, with director J. Edgar Hoover labeling her as “flighty and irresponsible.” What secrets did Dorothy Kilgallen take to the grave? Her husband Richard Kollmar was mum about whatever information his wife might have possessed, telling people that her knowledge had “done enough damage already.” Five years later, Kollmar also took his own life, swallowing many pills. Strangely enough, the medical examiner did not label this incident a suicide either, and public obituaries stated he’d died in his sleep.