Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

First Lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963
(Redirected from Jackie Kennedy)

Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier /ˈbvi/ BOO-vee-ay; July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was an American socialite, writer, photographer and book editor. She was also the first lady of the United States from 1961 to 1963 as the wife of 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Kennedy in the Diplomatic Reception Room, December 1961
First Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Preceded byMamie Eisenhower
Succeeded byLady Bird Johnson
Personal details
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier

(1929-07-28)July 28, 1929
Southampton, New York, U.S.
DiedMay 19, 1994(1994-05-19) (aged 64)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Cause of deathNon-Hodgkin lymphoma
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
  • (m. 1953; died 1963)
  • (m. 1968; died 1975)
Domestic partnerMaurice Tempelsman
(1980–1994; her death)
RelativesLee Radziwill
EducationVassar College
George Washington University (BA)
OccupationSocialite, writer, photographer, book editor
Other names
  • Jacqueline Kennedy
  • Jacqueline Onassis

A popular first lady, she endeared the American public with her devotion to her family, dedication to the historic preservation of the White House, the campaigns she led to preserve and restore historic landmarks and architecture along with her interest in American history, culture and arts. During her lifetime, she was regarded as an international icon for her unique fashion choices.

In 1961, at the age of 31, she became the third-youngest first lady when her husband was inaugurated as 35th president of the United States.[1] Kennedy was known for her restoration of the White House, emphasis on arts and culture along with her fashion style.[2]

One of her best known fashion outfits was her pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat that she wore in Dallas, Texas, when her husband was assassinated on November 22, 1963.[3] It later became a historical remembrance and symbol of her husband's death.[3]

After the assassination and funeral of her husband, Kennedy and her two children left public life. In October 1968, she married Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis. After his death in 1975, she worked as a book editor in New York City.[4]

She died in her sleep from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in New York. Her funeral was on May 23, 1994. She was buried next to her first husband, President Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1999, she was named as one of Gallup's Most-Admired Men and Women of the 20th century.[5] Historians have ranked Kennedy as one of the most popular and best first ladies in American history.[6]



Early life and education

Bouvier pictured in 1935 at the age of six years old.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929 at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in Southampton, New York to John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Norton Lee.[7] Her mother's family was from Ireland. Her father's background was French, Scottish, and English. She was raised as a Roman Catholic.[4][7]

Bouvier lived in Manhattan and at the Bouvier country home in East Hampton on Long Island during her early childhood.[7] She respected her father and John Vernou Bouvier III called his oldest daughter "the most beautiful daughter a man ever had".[8]

From an early age, Bouvier was an equestrienne who competed in the sport.[9] She took ballet lessons and learned many languages.[10] She spoke English, French, Spanish, and Italian.[10] In 1935, she began going to Manhattan's Chapin School.[9] One of her teachers called her "a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil".[1]

Her parents' marriage became worse because of her father's alcoholism.[7] Her parents had financial problems after the Wall Street Crash of 1929.[7] They separated in 1936 and divorced four years later.[7] In 1942, her mother married lawyer Hugh Dudley Auchincloss Jr..[7] The family moved into his home in McLean, Virginia.[7]

After seven years at Chapin, Bouvier went to Holton-Arms School in Washington, D.C..[11] She stayed there from 1942 until 1944.[11] She later went to Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut.[11] Bouvier stayed there from 1944 to 1947.[11] In 1947, she began studying at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.[7]

She studied in France at the University of Grenoble in Grenoble during her junior year.[7] She also went to the Sorbonne in Paris.[7] She was part of a program from Smith College.[7] She transferred to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature in 1951.[12] She later went to George Washington University to take classes on American history.[12]

While at George Washington University, Bouvier won a twelve-month junior editorship at Vogue magazine.[13] This let her work for six months in the magazine's New York City office and then six months in Paris.[13] She wrote her autobiography, One Special Summer after the trip.[13] After working at Vogue, she worked for the Washington Times-Herald as a part-time receptionist.[14] In 1952, she was briefly engaged to a young stockbroker named John Husted but broke-off the engagement.[15]

Marriage and children

Kennedy and her husband on their wedding day, September 12, 1953

Bouvier met U.S. congressman, John F. Kennedy at a dinner party in May 1952 after journalist, Charles L. Bartlett helped the two meet up.[7] The two had many things in common. They were both Catholic, they both wrote, both liked reading and both had lived outside the United States during college.[16] John was busy running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts when they first met.[7] Their relationship became more serious and he asked her to marry him after he was elected Senator.[7]

Bouvier took some time to accept, because she had been asked to report on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London for The Washington Times-Herald.[17] After a month in Europe, she returned to the United States and accepted Kennedy's marriage proposal.[18] Their engagement was officially announced on June 25, 1953.[19]

Kennedy on her wedding day, September 12, 1953.

They were married on September 12, 1953 in Newport, Rhode Island by Boston's Archbishop Richard Cushing.[4][20][21] In the first years of their marriage, the couple had many problems. John F. Kennedy was diagnosed with Addison's disease and back pain caused by a war injury.[22] In late 1954, he had surgery on his spine which almost killed him.[22]

Kennedy had a miscarriage in 1955 and in August 1956 gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Arabella Kennedy.[23][24] They lived in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts.[25][26]

Kennedy gave birth to her second daughter, Caroline Kennedy on November 27, 1957.[4][23] During his Senate re-election campaign, her husband began to see how popular she was.[27] He asked her to campaign with him for his re-election.[27] In November 1958, Kennedy was re-elected to a second term in the Senate and he thanked his wife for her role in the campaign.[27]

1960 United States presidential election

Kennedy with her husband as he campaigns for the presidency in Appleton, Wisconsin, March 1960

On January 2, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy for president. In the early months of the election year, she accompanied her husband to campaign events such as whistle-stops and dinners.[28] Shortly after the campaign began, she became pregnant. Due to her previous high-risk pregnancies, she decided to stay at home in Georgetown.[29][30] Jacqueline Kennedy subsequently participated in the campaign by writing a weekly syndicated newspaper column, Campaign Wife, answering correspondence, and giving interviews to the media.[31]

Despite her non-participation in the campaign, Kennedy became the subject of intense media attention with her fashion choices.[32] On one hand, she was admired for her personal style; she was frequently featured in women's magazines alongside film stars and named as one of the 12 best-dressed women in the world.[33] On the other hand, her preference for French designers and her spending on her wardrobe brought her negative press.[33] In order to downplay her wealthy background, Kennedy stressed the amount of work she was doing for the campaign and declined to publicly discuss her clothing choices.[33]

On July 13 at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, the party nominated John F. Kennedy for president. Jacqueline Kennedy did not attend the nomination due to her pregnancy, which had been publicly announced ten days earlier.[34] She was in Hyannis Port when she watched the September 26, 1960 debate,which was the nation's first televised presidential debate between her husband and Republican candidate, incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon.[34]

On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon in the presidential election. Two weeks later on November 25, Kennedy gave birth to the couple's first son, John F. Kennedy Jr.

First Lady, 1961–1963

Kennedy and her husband arrive at the Inaugural Ball.

Kennedy became the first lady of the United States when her husband was sworn in as the 35th president on January 20, 1961. At 31, Kennedy was the third youngest woman to serve as first lady, as well as the first Silent Generation first lady.[35] She was the first presidential wife to hire a press secretary, Pamela Turnure, and carefully managed her contact with the media, usually shying away from making public statements, and strictly controlling the extent to which her children were photographed.[36][37] Kennedy later attracted worldwide positive public attention and gained allies for the White House and international support for the Kennedy administration and its Cold War policies.[38]

Kennedy with her husband, her daughter Caroline and her newborn son John F. Kennedy Jr.

Although Kennedy stated that her priority as a first lady was to take care of the President and their children, she also dedicated her time to the promotion of American arts and preservation of its history.[39][40] The restoration of the White House was her main contribution, but she also furthered the cause by hosting social events that brought together elite figures from politics and the arts.[39][40] One of her unrealized goals was to found a Department of the Arts, but she did contribute to the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.[40]

White House restoration

Kennedy with Charles Collingwood of CBS News during their televised tour of the restored White House in 1962.

Kennedy had visited the White House on two occasions before she became first lady: the first time as a grade-school tourist in 1941 and again as the guest of outgoing First Lady Mamie Eisenhower shortly before her husband's inauguration.[39] She was dismayed to find that the mansion's rooms were furnished with undistinguished pieces that displayed little historical significance[39] and made it her first major project as first lady to restore its historical character. On her first day in residence, she began her efforts with the help of interior decorator Sister Parish. She decided to make the family quarters attractive and suitable for family life by adding a kitchen on the family floor and new rooms for her children. The $50,000 that had been appropriated for this effort was almost immediately exhausted. Continuing the project, she established a fine arts committee to oversee and fund the restoration process and solicited the advice of early American furniture expert Henry du Pont.[39] To solve the funding problem, a White House guidebook was published, sales of which were used for the restoration.[39]

Working with Rachel Lambert Mellon, Kennedy also oversaw the redesign and replanting of the Rose Garden and the East Garden, which was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden after her husband's assassination. In addition, Kennedy helped to stop the destruction of historic homes in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., because she felt these buildings were an important part of the nation's capital and played an essential role in its history. She helped to stop the destruction of historic buildings along the square, including the Renwick Building, now part of the Smithsonian Institution and her support of historic preservation also reached beyond the United States as she brought international attention to the thirteenth-century B.C. temples of Abu Simbel that were in danger of being flooded by Egypt's Aswan Dam.[39]

Kennedy and her husband at Christmas, December 1961.

Kennedy initiated a Congressional bill establishing that White House furnishings would be the property of the Smithsonian Institution rather than available to departing ex-presidents to claim as their own. She also founded and created the White House Historical Association, the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, the position of a permanent Curator of the White House, the White House Endowment Trust, and the White House Acquisition Trust.[41] She was the first presidential spouse to hire a White House curator.[36]

On February 14, 1962, Kennedy, accompanied by Charles Collingwood of CBS News, took American television viewers on a tour of the White House. The film was watched by 56 million television viewers in the United States,[39] and was later distributed to 106 countries. Kennedy won a special Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Trustees Award for it at the Emmy Awards in 1962, which was accepted on her behalf by Lady Bird Johnson. Kennedy was the only first lady to win an Emmy.[36]

Foreign trips

Kennedy at Vijay Chowk, New Delhi in March 1962

Kennedy was a cultural ambassador of the United States known for her cultural and diplomatic work globally and would travel sometimes without her husband to different countries to promote cultural exchange and diplomatic relations. She was highly regarded by foreign dignitaries, as she used her fluency in foreign languages such as French, Spanish, and Italian, as well as her cultural knowledge, to establish strong relationships with foreign leaders and to give speeches in different countries. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest civilian award given by the French Government, becoming the first U.S. presidential wife and first American woman to win, which was a testament to her language skills and cultural knowledge. Her role as a cultural ambassador had a significant impact on cultural diplomacy and helped strengthen ties between the United States and other countries.

Kennedy's language skills and cultural knowledge were highly respected by the French people, and her visit to France with President Kennedy in 1961 was seen as a great success. During the visit, she made a speech in French at the American University in Paris, which was widely praised for her fluency. In her speech, she spoke about the importance of cultural exchange between France and the United States, and she emphasized the shared values and history of the two nations.

Throughout her husband's presidency and more than any of the preceding first ladies, Kennedy made many official visits to other countries, on her own or with her husband.[42] Despite the initial worry that she might not have "political appeal", she proved popular among international dignitaries.[43] Before the Kennedys' first official visit to France in 1961, a television special was shot in French with the first lady on the White House lawn. After arriving in the country, she impressed the public with her ability to speak French, as well as her extensive knowledge of French history.[44] At the conclusion of the visit, Time magazine seemed delighted with the First Lady and noted, "There was also that fellow who came with her." Even President Kennedy joked: "I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris– and I have enjoyed it!"[45][46]

From France, the Kennedys traveled to Vienna, Austria, where Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was asked to shake the President's hand for a photo. He replied, "I'd like to shake her hand first."[47] Khrushchev later sent her a puppy, Pushinka; the animal was significant for being the offspring of Strelka.[48]

Kennedy at the Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, March 1962

At the urging of U.S. Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith, Kennedy undertook a tour of India and Pakistan with her sister Lee Radziwill in 1962. The tour was amply documented in photojournalism as well as in Galbraith's journals and memoirs. The president of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, had given her a horse named Sardar as a gift. He had found out on his visit to the White House that he and the first lady had a common interest in horses.[49] Life magazine correspondent Anne Chamberlin wrote that Kennedy "conducted herself magnificently" although noting that her crowds were smaller than those that President Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II attracted when they had previously visited these countries.[50] In addition to these well-publicized trips during the three years of the Kennedy administration, she traveled to countries including Afghanistan, Austria, Canada,[51] Colombia, United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Mexico,[52] Morocco, Turkey, and Venezuela.[42] Unlike her husband, Kennedy was fluent in Spanish, which she used to address Latin American audiences.[53]

Death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy


In early 1963, Kennedy was again pregnant. She spent most of the summer at a home she and the president had rented on Squaw Island, which was near the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. On August 7, she went into labor and gave birth to a boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, via emergency Caesarean section at nearby Otis Air Force Base. The infant's lungs were not fully developed, and he was transferred from Cape Cod to Boston Children's Hospital, where he died of hyaline membrane disease two days after birth.[54][55]

Kennedy had remained at Otis Air Force Base to leave after the delivery; her husband went to Boston to be with their infant son and was present when he died. On August 14, the President returned to Otis to take her home and gave an impromptu speech to thank nurses and airmen who had gathered in her suite. In appreciation, she presented hospital staff with framed and signed lithographs of the White House.[56]

Kennedy was deeply affected by Patrick's death[57] and proceeded to enter a state of depression.[58] However, the loss of their child had a positive impact on the marriage and brought the couple closer together in their shared grief.[57] Kennedy's friend Aristotle Onassis was aware of her depression and invited her to his yacht to recuperate. President Kennedy initially had reservations, but he relented because he believed that it would be "good for her".[58]

Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Kennedy and her husband descend the stairs from Air Force One at Love Field.

On November 21, 1963, the president and first lady went on a political trip to Texas to get more support for her husband's 1964 reelection campaign.[59] They landed at Dallas's Love Field with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie.[60]

Kennedy with her husband arriving at Dallas Love Field.

Kennedy was wearing a bright pink Chanel suit and a pillbox hat, which her husband personally picked for her to wear.[61] The motorcade was to take them to the Trade Mart.[62] Kennedy was sitting next her husband in the presidential car.[63]

Kennedy with her husband in the presidential limousine just minutes before his assassination.

At 12:30 P:M, the motorcade turned to Dealey Plaza. Kennedy heard loud bangs and she thought it was a motorcycle backfiring.[64] She did not realize that it was a gunshot until she heard Governor Connally scream.[64]

Two more shots had been fired, three of them hit her husband in the head.[65] She quickly began to climb onto the back of the limousine.[65] Some believe she was reaching across the trunk for a piece of her husband's skull that had been blown off.[65] Secret Service agent Clint Hill ran to the car telling her back to go back to her seat.[65] Kennedy would later say that she did not remember climbing behind the car.[64]

Approximately at 1:00 P:M in Dallas, Texas at Parkland Hospital, President Kennedy died from his gunshot wounds, aged 46.[63] After her husband died, Kennedy did not want to take off her blood-stained clothing.[66] She told the new first lady, Lady Bird Johnson that she wanted "them to see what they have done to Jack".[66]

Kennedy still wearing her blood-stained pink chanel suit, while Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th president of the United States.

Kennedy continued to wear the blood-stained pink suit as she went on Air Force One.[66] She stood next to Lyndon B. Johnson when he took the oath of office as the 36th president of the United States.[63][66] The suit was donated to the National Archives and Records Administration in 1964.[66] It will not be seen by the public until 2103 because of an agreement from her daughter Caroline Kennedy, because she refused to let it be seen during this century.[67]

Kennedy family leading funeral procession with her brothers-in-law Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy.

Kennedy planned her husband's state funeral.[68] It was inspired by Abraham Lincoln's funeral.[68] She wanted her husband's casket to be closed, even though her brother-in-law and, Robert F. Kennedy wanted it to be open.[69] The funeral service was held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington D.C.[68] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[68] Many respected her role and appearance at the funeral.[70][70]

A week after the assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson wrote an executive order that created the Warren Commission.[71] It was led by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the assassination.[71] Kennedy did not care about the investigation.[72] Kennedy said that even if they had the right suspect, it would not bring her husband back.[72] She spoke to the commission about the events of her husband's assassination.[64]

After the assassination, Kennedy and her two children left public life and activities.[73]

Mourning period and later activities

Kennedy with her son, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Randolph Churchill in New York City, January 1966.

On November 29, 1963, a week after her husband's assassination, Theodore H. White of Life magazine interviewed Kennedy at her home in Hyannis Port.[74] During the interview, she compared the Kennedy years in the White House to King Arthur's Camelot.[74] She said "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment that was known as Camelot. There'll be great presidents again ... but there will never be another Camelot".[74][75] Her husband was nicknamed "Camelot" and his presidency the "Camelot Era" because of this.[76]

Kennedy and her two children stayed in the White House for two more weeks after the assassination.[77] President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to "do something nice for Jackie".[78] He wanted to make her ambassador to France, Mexico or the United Kingdom.[78] Kennedy said no to any ambassador roles.[78] Johnson renamed the Florida space center the John F. Kennedy Space Center a week after the assassination.[79] Kennedy later thanked Johnson for his kindness to her.[78]

Kennedy made few public appearances after her husband's death.[80] Some believed she was suffering from severe PTSD.[81][82] In the winter after the assassination, she and the children stayed at Averell Harriman's home in Georgetown.[83]

On January 14, 1964, she spoke on television thanking the public for the "hundreds of thousands of messages" she had gotten since the assassination.[84] She bought a house for herself and her children in Georgetown, but sold it later in 1964.[source?] She bought a 15th-floor penthouse apartment for $250,000 at 1040 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to have more privacy.[85][86]

Kennedy would go to a few memorial ceremonies dedicated to her husband.[87] In 1967, she went to the opening ceremony of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67).[88] She also went to a private ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery when her husband's coffin was moved to build a safer eternal flame.[89] Kennedy also was in charge of the creation of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.[90]

During the Vietnam War in November 1967, she was called an unofficial ambassador.[91] This was because of her trip with David Ormsby-Gore to Cambodia.[91] Many historians saw that her visit was to fix the relationship between the two countries.[92] She also went to the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, in April 1968.[93]

Relationship with Robert F. Kennedy


After her husband's assassination, Kennedy and her children became closer with her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy.[94] Kennedy supported him staying in politics.[94] She supported his 1964 campaign for United States senator from New York.[94]

When President Johnson became unpopular, many wanted Senator Kennedy to run for president in 1968.[95] When Art Buchwald asked him if he wanted to run, Robert replied, "That depends on what Jackie wants me to do".[96] She met with him around this time and she told him to run.[95] However, she was worried about his safety.[95]

On June 5, 1968, Sirhan Sirhan shot Senator Kennedy in Los Angeles.[97] Kennedy Onassis went to the hospital to be with her sister in law, Ethel Kennedy, her brother-in-law Ted Kennedy, and the other Kennedy family members.[98] Robert Kennedy died the next day, aged 42.[99]

Marriage to Aristotle Onassis


On October 20, 1968, Jacqueline Kennedy married her long-time friend Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate who was able to provide the privacy and security she sought for herself and her children.[100] The wedding took place on Skorpios, Onassis's private Greek island in the Ionian Sea.[101] After marrying Onassis, she took the legal name Jacqueline Onassis and lost her right to Secret Service protection. She later became the target of paparazzi who followed her everywhere and nicknamed her "Jackie O".[102]

In 1968, billionaire heiress Doris Duke, with whom Onassis was friends, appointed her as the vice president of the Newport Restoration Foundation. Onassis publicly championed the foundation.[103][104]

During their marriage, Onassis and her husband inhabited six different residences: her 15-room Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan, her horse farm in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey,[105] his Avenue Foch apartment in Paris, his private island Skorpios, his house in Athens, and his yacht Christina O. Onassis ensured that her children continued a connection with the Kennedy family by having Ted Kennedy visit them often.[106] She developed a close relationship with Ted, and from then on he was involved in her public appearances.[107]

Aristotle Onassis's health deteriorated rapidly following the death of his son Alexander in a plane crash in 1973.[108] He died of respiratory failure aged 69 in Paris on March 15, 1975. His financial legacy was severely limited under Greek law, which dictated how much a non-Greek surviving spouse could inherit. After two years of legal issues, Onassis eventually accepted a settlement of $26 million from Christina Onassis, Aristotle's daughter and sole heir and waived all other claims to the Onassis estate.[109]

Later years, 1975–1990s

Onassis with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, June 1985.

Onassis returned to the United States after her second husband died.[110] She lived in Manhattan, Martha's Vineyard, and the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port.[110] In 1975, she became an editor at Viking Press.[111] She worked there for two years.[111]

Onassis went to the 1976 Democratic National Convention.[112] This was her first political event in almost ten years.[112] She quit Viking Press in 1977.[113] This was after Viking had published Jeffrey Archer's novel Shall We Tell the President?.[113] The story happens in a fictional future presidency of her brother in-law, Ted Kennedy. The book was about a plan to assassinate him.[113] Two years later, she went to Boston to support her brother in law's, 1980 presidential campaign.[114]

Onassis with First Lady Hillary Clinton, August 1993.

After she left Viking Press, Onassis worked for Doubleday.[115] She was an associate editor.[115] Some of the books she edited for the company were Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe,[116] the English translation of Naghib Mahfuz's Cairo Trilogy,[117] and autobiographies of ballerina Gelsey Kirkland,[118] singer-songwriter Carly Simon,[119] and fashion icon Diana Vreeland.[118]

A section of the Grand Central Terminal is named after Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

In the 1970s, she supported a campaign to save Grand Central Terminal from demolition and repair it.[120] A plaque inside the terminal talks about her role in its preservation.[120] In the 1980s, she supported protests against a planned skyscraper at Columbus Circle that would have created large shadows on Central Park.[120] She also supported saving Olana, the home of Frederic Edwin Church in New York.[121]

Onassis had a lot of press attention.[110] Paparazzi photographer Ron Galella followed her around and took pictures of her without her permission.[122][123] From 1980 until her death in May 1994, Onassis also had a close relationship with businessman Maurice Tempelsman.[124]

In the early 1990s, Onassis supported and endorsed former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton for president.[125] She donated money to his presidential campaign.[125] After the 1992 presidential election, she met with First Lady Hillary Clinton.[126] They talked about raising a child in the White House.[126] Mrs. Clinton later said that Onassis was an inspiration for her.[127]

Illness, death, and funeral

Onassis grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

In November 1993, Onassis was thrown from her horse while she was fox hunting in Middleburg, Virginia.[128] She was taken to the hospital.[128] Doctors found a swollen lymph node in her groin.[128] They thought it was an infection at first.[128][129] The fall made her health worse over the next six months.[128]

In December, Onassis had new symptoms such as stomach pain and swollen lymph nodes in her neck.[128] She had non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[129][130] She began chemotherapy in January 1994.[129] By March, the cancer had spread to her spinal cord and brain.[128][129] By May, it had spread to her liver. Her condition was terminal.[129][130]

Onassis made her last trip back home from New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center on May 18, 1994.[129][130] The next day on May 19, she died in her sleep at her Manhattan apartment, aged 64.[129] Her two children were by her side.[130] Her son John F. Kennedy, Jr. announced her death the next day.[131] He said that she died with her family around her.[131]

On May 23, 1994, her funeral was held and was short and small. Fewer than 100 people were at the 11 minute long funeral.[132][133] She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, next to her husband President Kennedy, their son Patrick, and their stillborn daughter Arabella.[134] President Bill Clinton spoke at her graveside service.[135][136] At the time of her death, her children Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr., her three grandchildren, Rose, Tatiana and John Schlossberg, and sister Lee Radziwill were her living relatives.[134] Her estate was worth $43.7million.[137]



In 1994, the Municipal Art Society of New York started the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal.[138] It is given to a person whose work has greatly helped New York City.[138] The White House's East Garden was renamed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden soon after her husband died.[139] The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers was opened in 1995.[140] The main reservoir in Central Park was renamed in her honor.[141]

Official White House portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is seen as one of the most popular first ladies.[142] She was named 27 times on the annual Gallup list of the top 10 most admired people of the second half of the 20th century.[142] This was more often than any president of the United States listed.[142] In 2014, she came in third place in a Siena College Institute survey as the best first lady.[143][144] She was behind Eleanor Roosevelt and Abigail Adams in the survey.[145]

In 2020, Time magazine included her name on its list of 100 Women of the Year.[146] She was named Woman of the Year 1962 for her White House restoration works.[146]

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is seen as an important first lady in United States history.[147][148] Many historians feel that first ladies since Onassis have either been compared to or against her. [source?]

Many of her well known clothes are preserved at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.[149] Pieces from the collection were shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2001.[150]

In 2012, Time magazine included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on its All-TIME 100 Fashion Icons list.[151] In 2016, Forbes included her on the list 10 Fashion Icons and the Trends They Made Famous.[152]

In 2016, actress Natalie Portman played her in a movie called Jackie about her as first lady and her life after her husband's assassination.[153] Portman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her acting.[154]

Style icon

Kennedy wearing her pink Chanel suit

Kennedy became a global fashion icon during her husband's presidency. After the 1960 election, she commissioned French-born American fashion designer and Kennedy family friend Oleg Cassini to create an original wardrobe for her appearances as first lady.

From 1961 to 1963, Cassini dressed her in many of her ensembles, including her Inauguration Day fawn coat and Inaugural gala gown, as well as many outfits for her visits to Europe, India, and Pakistan. In 1961, Kennedy spent $45,446 more on fashion than the $100,000 annual salary her husband earned as president.[155]

Kennedy preferred French couture, particularly the work of Chanel, Balenciaga, and Givenchy, but was aware that in her role as first lady, she would be expected to wear American designers' work.[156] She wrote to the fashion editor Diana Vreeland to ask for suitable American designers, particularly those who could reproduce the Paris look.[156] Kennedy's first choice for her Inauguration Day coat was originally a purple wool Zuckerman model that was based on a Pierre Cardin design, but she instead settled on a fawn Cassini coat and wore the Zuckerman for a tour of the White House with Mamie Eisenhower.[156]

In her role as first lady, Kennedy preferred to wear clean-cut suits with a skirt hem down to middle of the knee, three-quarter sleeves on notch-collar jackets, sleeveless A-line dresses, above-the-elbow gloves, low-heel pumps, and pillbox hats.[155] Dubbed the "Jackie" look, these clothing items rapidly became fashion trends in the Western world.[157] Her influential bouffant hairstyle, described as a "grown-up exaggeration of little girls' hair," was created by Mr. Kenneth, who worked for her from 1954 until 1986.[158][159] Her tastes in eyewear were also influential, the most famous of which were the bespoke pairs designed for her by French designer, François Pinton. The coinage 'Jackie O glasses' is still used today to refer to this style of oversized, oval-lensed sunglasses.[160]

After leaving the White House, Kennedy underwent a style change. Her new looks consisted of wide-leg pantsuits, silk Hermès headscarves, and large, round, dark sunglasses.[161] She began wearing jeans in public as part of a casualization of her look.[162]

Kennedy at a State dinner on May 22, 1962

Kennedy had a large collection of jewelry throughout her lifetime. Her triple-strand pearl necklace, designed by American jeweler Kenneth Jay Lane, became her signature piece of jewelry during her time as first lady in the White House. Often referred to as the "berry brooch", the two-fruit cluster brooch of strawberries made of rubies with stems and leaves of diamonds, designed by French jeweler Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., was personally selected and given to her by her husband several days prior to his inauguration in January 1961.[163]

She wore Schlumberger's gold and enamel bracelets so frequently in the early and mid-1960s that the press called them "Jackie bracelets"; she also favored his white enamel and gold "banana" earrings. Kennedy wore jewelry designed by Van Cleef & Arpels throughout the 1950s,[164] 1960s[164] and 1970s; her sentimental favorite was the Van Cleef & Arpels wedding ring given to her by President Kennedy.

Kennedy was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1965.[165][166] Many of her signature clothes are preserved at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum; pieces from the collection were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2001. Titled "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years".[167]

In 2012, Time magazine included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on its All-TIME 100 Fashion Icons list.[168] In 2016, Forbes included her on the list 10 Fashion Icons and the Trends They Made Famous.[169]



Jaclyn Smith plays Kennedy in the 1981 television movie Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.[170]

Blair Brown plays Kennedy in the 1983 miniseries Kennedy.[171]

Marianna Bishop, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Roma Downey plays Kennedy in the 1991 miniseries A Woman Named Jackie.[172]

Rhoda Griffis plays Kennedy in the 1992 movie Love Field.[173]

Sally Taylor-Isherwood, Emily VanCamp, and Joanne Whalley plays Kennedy in the 2000 television miniseries Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.[174]

Stephanie Romanov plays Kennedy in the 2000 movie Thirteen Days, taking place during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[175]

Jill Hennessy plays Kennedy in the 2001 television movie Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot.[176]

Jacqueline Bisset plays Kennedy in the 2003 movie America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story.[177]

Jeanne Tripplehorn plays Kennedy in the 2009 movie Grey Gardens.[178][179]

Katie Holmes plays Kennedy in the 2011 miniseries The Kennedys and the 2017 sequel The Kennedys: After Camelot.[180][181]

Minka Kelly plays Kennedy in the 2013 movie The Butler.[182][183]

Ginnifer Goodwin plays Kennedy in the 2013 television movie Killing Kennedy.[184][185]

Kim Allen plays Kennedy in the 2016 movie LBJ.[186]

Natalie Portman plays Kennedy in the 2016 movie Jackie.[187][188] [189]

Jodi Balfour plays Kennedy in the 2017 eighth episode of the second season of Netflix's drama series, The Crown.[190]

Honors and memorials

External video
  Jacqueline Kennedy, First Ladies, Influence and Image, C-SPAN

More reading

  • Harris, Bill (2012). First Ladies Fact Book -- Revised and Updated: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. Black Dog & Leventhal. ISBN 978-1-57912-891-3.
  • Heymann, C. David (2007). American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7434-9738-1.
  • Heymann, C. David (2009). Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story. Atria Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-5624-4.
  • Hunt, Amber; Batcher, David (2014). Kennedy Wives: Triumph and Tragedy in America's Most Public Family. Lyons Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-7627-9634-2.
  • Lawrence, Greg (2011). Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-0-312-59193-9.
  • Spoto, Donald (2000). Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-97707-8.


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