JFK And The Dorothy Kilgallen Conspiracy

“Courage is the virtue that President Kennedy most admired. He sought out those people who had demonstrated in some way [. . .] that they had courage that they would stand up, that they could be counted on.” —Robert Kennedy

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.

Show Me The Proof

Dorothy Kilgallen: Mysterious Death?
Biography of Dorothy Kilgallen

  • Exiled Phoenix

    Sometimes the government in order to keep its secrets or further its goals has to “secure” the voices of those that are intent on defiance of those goals.
    It is what it is.

    • MilesTeg

      You’re killin it tonight, EP.

      • Exiled Phoenix

        Lol, call them like I see them.

    • inconspicuous detective

      the question is, do we accept this and if not what will we do about it?

      • Hadeskabir

        The question is, how come I see you in every list?

        • inconspicuous detective

          because i enjoy the site, and would like to stimulate conversation (honest answer). your feelings on that may vary.

      • Arjan Hut

        Step one: read “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James W. Douglas.

        Douglas writes about Kilgallen, and also about the fate of many other witnesses such as
        Ralph Yates and William Pitzer. They were not famous like Dorothy Kilgallen, reading about what happened to them was an intense and enraging experience. Horrible, tragic stories about honest people in rotten situations.
        How did this happen and why? The book very much deals with the same question you’re asking.
        Now that we know this, now that we understand more and more, now what?!

        (While your reading, I’ll think about step two.)

        • inconspicuous detective

          it’s an interesting thought. i’d say we do something, however what is always up for debate. at this point though, i’m not sure much would change without drastic action (this doesn’t mean war but it could include it).

      • Exiled Phoenix

        Sometimes it is for the greater good of its citizenry other times not so much. One can only hope our elected officials are acting in good faith.

        • inconspicuous detective

          a good old revolution would ensure they do. (this is to be taken light heartedly)

      • Arjan Hut

        Now that some time has passed. I think the strongest statement you can make is to keep JFK’s memory alive and, in case you support who he was and what he stood for, keep his spirit alive. Try to see beyond the legend. Study him, his politics. We know much more about that now then we did in the sixties. In some way, I believe, that would also do justice to all those people, witnesses who died under suspicious circumstances. Always keep yourself informed, be critical of your sources, use many sources, and whatever you hear or read about the JFK assassination and everything seemingly related to the assassination, realise there is always a margin of error. Vote consciously. Recognise and resist repression. Speak out and speak wisely. And don’t panic.

    • Mom424

      The problem is that at the time it was common practice to disguise the death in case of suicide. There was stigma attached; much more so then than today. Wouldn’t surprise me either way.

      • Exiled Phoenix

        Very good point. Payoffs to change the death certificates cause of death were not unknown, especially with celebrities. Still, goverments back then used the threat of communism to cover up sanctioned hits.

    • WhiteExodus

      Im gonna say that it was the aliens who killed JFK, cuz you know aliens.

  • Arjan Hut

    These stories are frustrating and frightening. Richard Belzer writes about Dorothy and several other cases resembling hers in his book The Hit List. Don’t know if I’ll read it, many stories are well known already, and you know the CIA has won in the end.

  • Blahblahblah

    I believe george Washington was behind all of this

  • Jacob

    Ah, Richard Kollmar, the great Boston Blackie

  • patrick weidinger

    The CIA killed Kennedy. Anyone who got too close to that simple fact – the CIA killed them too. As someone else said here, it is what it is.

  • The Ou7law

    All the government really is, is one giant conspiracy hidden behind more and more conspiracies. Its what makes the world go round

  • Passin’ Through

    Great info. I think that JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, Marylin Monroe, and possibly Dorothy Kilgallen were all killed by Sam Giancana (or on his orders). He’s been linked to the first 3 and Kilgallen’s “murder” would fit right in.

    Giancana may have been the last person to see Marylin Monroe alive:


    • Arjan Hut
      • Passin’ Through

        Care to summarize that? Or at least include your point?

        • Arjan Hut


          What we know now, after almost 50 years of research, is that information regarding Mob and the murder of President Kennedy started as trails of false information spread by the CIA through several media-assets in the 1970-s. The article argues that such practices continue until this day.

          The best book on this subject (JFK, research, disinformation) is -and Richard Belzer agrees- journalist Gaeton Fonzi’s The Last Investigation. I won’t summarize that, it’s worth the read.

  • Sweet-Sativa

    I guess when it comes to government secrets the old saying ignorance is bliss proves doubly true.

  • bob mcbobberson

    no evidence of anything. Only questions, coincidences, typical kind of anomoly hunting and pattern recognition you see with so many conspiracy theories, but no actual substance

  • Mob hits.

  • Real Deal

    Interesting it seems that Monroe’s murder and hers are very similar. Gotta love the Government.

  • Arjan Hut

    Very recommendable series on Youtube, called 50 reasons for 50 years. A series of 50 short (5-15 minutes) documentaries addressing the Kennedy assassination and its half a century aftermath. This is a link to episode 44 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNmMG28wufw&feature=c4-overview&list=UUOpje8kixcV-skbCZOOiNIw

  • Matt

    She was sadly an alcoholic and went in for treatment a couple times. Toward the end of her life she had more episodes, so it is well within possibility it was either accidental overdose or a suicide. It’s more likely accidental because I’ve read elsewhere that the doses of the drugs found in her system were low enough that they could have gone either way. If she were either murdered or had committed suicide, I’d imagine a larger dosage would be used to make sure it was a fatality.

    One interesting angle to her interest in the Kennedy Assassination is that John Charles Daley who hosted What’s My Line was the son-in-law of Chief Justice Earl Warren. So when she made comments about the Warren Commission, it also would affect her working relationship with him.

    Her co-panelist Bennett Cerf said they all tended to steer clear of Kilgallen because occasionally what they thought were private comments would wind up as news in her column.

    She did seem to have good sources on some stories, as you’ve noted. I do wonder though, if as her disease progressed, she felt more and more disconnected, the Kennedy Assassination was quite a shock and she started pursuing information that had less merit in hindsight. For instance, once Jack Ruby was sentenced to death, it was in his interest to claim a vast conspiracy of which he knew something as it was more likely to keep him alive.

    And we don’t really know what happened to the file. It’s even possible the family buried it because it reflected on some kind of deterioration in her faculties. We will never really know, as you say.

  • Ted McElroy

    Concerning the assassination of JFK, I have never bought off on the lone
    gunman theory as reported by the Warren Commission. As an engineer
    familiar with physics and studying in college at the time that this
    occurred, watching the video tapes of that fateful day in Dallas,
    Newton’s Third Law of motion is the most compelling: “For every action,
    there is an equal and opposite reaction”. As the video clearly shows,
    his head jerks backwards and his brains are blown onto the trunk of the
    Lincoln. Yet the Texas Book bindery where Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly
    shot from, was behind him. Too many contradictions, coincidences and
    people that knew anything about this suddenly dying accidentally or
    prematurely including Jack Ruby and Dorothy Kilgallen. I believe that
    this is when our open and free Republic was hijacked by a shadow