Peter Lawford on JFK: ‘You’ll never know the truth….’

Chuck Pick has been Hollywood’s go-to parking valet for decades. Most recently his company handled the exclusive Vanity Fair Oscars party. In his time he’s interacted with not only film personalities, but also presidents, including JFK.

Pick recounts that when working an early 1960s Hollywood event at which the Kennedys and Marilyn Monroe were present, Secret Service men told him: “You have eyes but you can’t see, you have ears but you can’t hear and you have a mouth but you can’t speak. You’re going to see a lot of things, but you have to keep quiet.”

That party was held at the home of JFK’s British-born brother in law, Peter Lawford, according to James Spada’s 1991 Lawford biography, “The Man Who Kept the Secrets.”

On November 22, 1963, Pick was working as a personal assistant to Lawford, who was doing a show with Jimmy Durante at the Harrah’s resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Pick and Lawford were up until dawn that night and had just got to bed when a Harrah’s representative woke them with the news that JFK had been shot in Dallas. Lawford, who was reportedly instrumental in arranging JFK’s presidential “affairs” such as his alleged liaisons with Marilyn Monroe, immediately prepared to travel home to Los Angeles on Harrah’s private plane, which had been made available to them.

As Pick told Spada, it was when they were frantically packing to leave that they heard Walter Cronkite’s tearful announcement that Kennedy was dead. Lawford collapsed on to the kitchen floor, beyond consolation, vomiting between sobs.

The assassination was the beginning of a downward spiral for Lawford, who, already estranged from JFK’s sister Pat, descended into drink, drugs and a series of brief marriages. He died at age 61 in 1984.

Pick told Spada that he later mustered up the courage to ask Lawford what “had really happened” in Dallas.

“You’ll never know the truth of what happened in Dallas,” Lawford replied. “You’ll never know the truth.” Pick pushed further to no avail. “I interpreted it as meaning that he knew what happened and few other people ever would.”

Spada also quotes Paul Wurtzel, a Lawford friend who was the assistant director on the films “Dear Phoebe” and “The Thin Man.” Wurtzel had become “a student” of the assassination, and asked Lawford to answer a single question: “Did Oswald kill Kennedy or was it higher up?”

“It was higher up,” Lawford answered.

“I let it drop,” Wurtzel told Spada, “and I never asked him what he meant. I’m sure he wouldn’t have said anything more to me. He still had kids and the family.”

2 comments

  1. Jim Root says:

    Mr. Morely

    It has been several years since we last exchanged emails dealing with information surrounding the assassination of JFK. Your research that was able to track notes written by the two FBI Agents that were following the activities of L H Oswald prior to the assassination to the Office of Richard Helms has me once again thinking about another note that is now part of the assassination record.

    We learned during the HSCA that prior to Oswald’s arrival in Helsinki, the US Ambassador to Helsinki, Finland sent two notes to the State Department dealing with the Soviet Ambassadors ability to issue visas without having to receive approval from Moscow. This would eliminate a great deal of “Red Tape” and provide easier access into the Soviet Union. The first of these notes arrived at the State Department within hours of Oswald applying for his Passport in Santa Ana, Calif. The second of these notes arrived at the State Department the day before Oswald arrived in Helsinki, Finland.

    The curious fact is that Oswald (with or without knowledge of this information) followed the directions/information provided by the Ambassador as he applied for and received his visa to enter the Soviet Union in the few days following his arrival in Helsinki.

    Questions:

    Is it possible that that information, like the FBI notes, made it to the CIA?

    Since that note from the Ambassador was made a part of the HSCA record could it be tracked in order to discover who that information was made available too?

    Could the people who had this information available to them have had a reason to make it available to Lee Harvey Oswald?

    Thank you for any insights you might provide on this subject.

    Jim Root

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