reason for breaking the silence: her doctor told her she had
terminal cancer and she had only 36 months to live. The article
ends in a crescendo that would move even the world weary Claude
Now that I know I'm dying and nothing more can happen to me,
I want to be completely honest. I don't think I should have
to die with the secret of what I did for Jack Kennedy, or
what he did with the power of his presidency. I feel that I
am finally free of the past.
Exner's 1997 Version
I hope Exner sued her doctor, because ten years later she's still
with us. She now turns up in the pages of the January 1997 Vanity
Fair which, unembarrassed, again bills her as "facing her death."
This time she was teamed with another questionable expert on
Kennedy's Cuba policy - Hollywood gossip columnist Liz Smith. And
evidently, the previous fear of death wasn't enough to squeeze
the whole story out of her. She still has a few goodies to add.
The choice of Smith in 1997 is as revealing as Demaris in 1977
and Kelley in 1988. Smith writes for the New York Post, which is
literally a tabloid in both format and approach. Like Kelley,
Smith is a big fan of Sy Hersh. In fact, her column has released
several "teaser" items about his upcoming book. In the past she
has also flacked for Tony Summers. What do those two writers have
that other Kennedy researchers, say John Newman, do not? They
have both pushed the angle that the Kennedys were somehow
involved with the death of Marilyn Monroe. Smith dutifully
mentions both authors in her Vanity Fair piece and writes, as
fact, that RFK was at Marilyn's the day she died. Exner herself
claims that Summers has offered to supply a new "foreword should
she write another book" and Smith sent Exner to see Hersh who,
predictably, also endorses her story.
In the article, Smith seems conscious of her