CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

CLICK Image to Buy "WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
WHEN LIONS ROAR is 'Brilliant' says Washington Post, Buy Now on Amazon

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"

Chris Matthews Likes WHEN LIONS ROAR: The Churchills and the Kennedys"
"What I like most in Maier's giant work is the spine of this saga, the all-important record of influence the great soldier-statesman-historian's life exerted on the future American president." -- Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball, review in Chartwell Bulletin, The Churchill Centre

Friday, June 26, 2015

"Masters of Literary Allusions" or is it "Showrunners of the Written Word"? Why "Masters of Sex" Is One of the Most Literate Shows on Television

    
    In The New York Times, critic Alessandra Stanley writes about the new second season of HBO's "True Detective" and compares this so-called golden age of television to the 19th Century narrative fiction by writers like Charles Dickens often unveiled in serial form.
There are plenty of people who insist that auteur-driven television series like “True Detective” are the 19th-century novels of the visual age. That’s certainly arguable, though in fairness, the compliment should go both ways — Balzac, Dickens and Trollope are the showrunners of the written word
   In this Emmy nominating season, I wanted to share a thought or two about Masters of Sex, and why it should be given more even artistic consideration by its peers than may seem obvious. By any measure, "Masters of Sex" is a pre-eminent showrunner of the written word. Yes, it is entertaining. But in its own reflective way, it is also art.
   This all sounds rather pretentious, I realize. Literary allusions are best kept subtle and discreet, rather than pointed out like Cliff Notes cribbed into a high school English assignment. But in the high-wire act of television, sometimes viewers need a little help.
   So, I'd like to suggest "Masters of Sex" is one of the most literate American television shows produced in recent years -- a deep dive into the human experience in a way that might not be fully appreciated (even though 'Masters' has received a great deal of critical acclaim in places like The New Yorker). As the author of  the book and a producer of the show, I can attest that showrunner Michelle Ashford has incorporated many allusions to other works that are found in my book, in the same way that novelists often do. (She even twice mentions Dr. Spock -- the subject of another of my biographies!)
   There is, of course, a strong hint of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" in recounting the origins of Masters and Johnson. Their real-life relationship does reflect Shaw's drama of the strong-willed doctor/professor and the somewhat desperate woman of a significantly lower caste who arrives off the street and is tutored and shaped into a working companion. “Life isn't about finding yourself," Shaw later said. "Life is about creating yourself.” 
    Virginia Johnson does find herself in their work.  She discovers her remarkable abilities with sexual therapy and understanding human nature. But she is always aware of how she feels manipulated by Bill, as if she was his "creation." Virginia explained those feelings in my book: 

Years later, Johnson recalled how much she’d been crafted as an ideal companion. “I’d ask, ‘Why didn’t you get one of the women MDs?’ [and] he’d say, ‘When women went to medical school at that particular time, an MD was so hard-won they would never have jeopardized it, being associated with sex research.’ Which was, more or less, probably true. So he created me.”
       I was stunned when Virginia first mentioned this phrase -- "he created me".  She repeated this theme at other moments during our talks together. She didn't say it with any self-loathing, or some post-feminist critique of her past, but rather a clinical dissection of her own life -- the way she undoubtedly reviewed the lives of her former patients in countless therapy sessions.  She was all too aware of how men can manipulate women, and how women -- even those as strong-willed as she -- can let them. 
     There are other literary parallels. Certainly the ambitiousness of Virginia Johnson -- especially her constant search for something better in life --  reminds us Flaubert's "Madame Bovary." Flaubert's description of his memorable character does seem to reflect the yearning of young Virginia Johnson, looking to find a man who will help her leave her tiny rural hometown (Golden City, Missouri, population 800) for the big-city. 
    “She wondered if there might not have been some way, through a different set of circumstances, of meeting another man; and she tried to imagine those events which had not happened, that different life, that husband whom she did not know," Flaubert wrote in his novel.
     Readers of my biography will learn that Virginia Johnson's personal life, before she met Bill Masters,  was even more complicated than has been portrayed on television. Virginia was married twice -- including to an affluent lawyer twice her age whom she met in Missouri's state capitol -- as well several early relationships that very much affected her. (The story of Virginia's intense affair with an Army captain during World War II is recalled in the much acclaimed "Fight" episode during the show's second season and is part of its current Emmy entry. That stuff comes right out of my biography as does Masters recollection of his father's beatings when he was a boy). 
      Love, and how it lingers in the mind, is probably the greatest motivating force of "Masters of Sex". Artistically, I think this is far more difficult to portray on television than, say,  the violence of serial killers, superheroes or a cop chase. My favorite example in the biography is Gordon Garrett, the boy everyone predicted Virginia would marry at Golden City High School. My biography begins in the back seat of Gordon's family car, with Virginia losing her virginity to this "boy with fiery red hair" as she later described him. Despite what was predicted, the two young lovers never married. Through a fair amount of investigative reporting, I found out what actually happened to Gordon and how Virginia went looking for him 50 years later. 
    While "sex" is ostensibly the subject matter -- featured in the cheeky title -- the mysteries of love is what this story is ultimately about. In later years, Bill Masters's yearning to find the lost love of his youth is reminiscent of Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," and it is a theme that runs throughout Virginia Johnson's story, particularly with Gordon Garrett. This yearning for lost loves -- how Masters and Johnson pursued those whom, they believed, once knew them best -- is at both the beginning and the end of my book. It's the big take-away that the entire drama is moving towards (spoiler alert!). This is why I believe the finale of this series, when that day comes, will hold potentially one of the strongest emotional punches ever seen in a television drama.
   In the earliest stages of this production, I remember my conversations with Michelle and exec producer Sarah Timberman, the show's guiding force. There was this strange Pygmalion dynamic between them,” Timberman explained to The New York Times about the Masters and Johnson relationship. I remember discussing D.H. Lawrence's "Women In Love" and how it was translated by Ken Russell in the 1970s film with that lush sensibility and memorable drama about the relations between men and women. We also talked about the naughty but life-affirming humor in "Tom Jones" the Oscar-winning movie based on the Henry Fielding novel, especially in those "Masters" scenes when Virginia Johnson convinced so many female volunteers to join their sex study.  I think MoS's pilot, directed by John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") really captured that mood.  In adapting my book, Michelle also has created several other memorable fictional characters (such as the provost and his wife played by Beau Bridges and Emmy-winner Allison Janney) and encouraged members of the cast and crew to bring their own literary sensibilities to the show. 
         Since then, I've been pleased to hear Michael Sheen talk about Masters in terms of Shakespeare and also Greek mythology. As Gold Derby recently reported
He [Sheen] likens Masters's story to the myth of the Minotaur, banished by his father to a labyrinth: "People are sent as punishment into the labyrinth and they come across this monster who just destroys them, and yet that monster is actually this child who has been abused by his father." (Masters too was abused. "The child in the man was taught cruelty by his father," Sheen explains. "Someone who was supposed to protect him, support him, nurture him and care for him just meted cruelty out to him constantly." As a result, the adult Masters lashes out cruelly against those around him, including his research partner and lover, Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), and his brother Frank (guest star Christian Borle), also a victim of their father's abuse. But "Masters of Sex" isn't just the story of a monstrous man who preys on anyone who wanders into his lair: "One of the things I was most excited about and what I was drawn to in the character was the fact that we were looking at a man who was going to change so much through the course of the story."
         I was delighted when I read about Sheen's Minotaur literary allusions. I only wished I had thought of it!  

Lizzy Caplan on 'Kimmel' and Michael Sheen on 'Conan' Talking about Season 3 of "Masters of Sex"






Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lizzy Caplan's Hollywood Reporter Interview for the Emmys. Season 3 Poster is Revealed

Great in-depth interview with Lizzy Caplan who was nominated for Best Actress with last year' Emmy and hopefully wins this year. (I think the two episodes for Best Drama are dynamite). I'm so happy and especially proud of all that Lizzy has achieved with this role with the promise of much more down the road.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Big TONY Award Wins for Masters of Sex Cast! Annaleigh Ashford Wins a BEST ACTRESS award and Christian Borle Wins a Best Actor Award: Both Shine in the Cast of "Masters of Sex"




A lot of Hoopin' and A-Hollerin' Tonight on the Old Homestead as two of our favorites from "Masters of Sex" won Tony Awards!!

Annaleigh last year at "Kinky Boots"
Annaleigh Ashford won the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play. Annaleigh Ashford was awarded best featured actress in a play for her performance in You Can't Take it With You at the Tony Awards on Sunday night.
Backstage at "You Can't Take It With You",
Annaleigh poses with me and my wife Joyce McGurrin.

"Oh my goodness, thank you Lord!" Ashford said. "I can't believe I'm standing here … for the worst dancing on Broadway." She went on to thank her husband for holding her hand and her heart and "everybody I've ever met!" for the win.






Annaleigh with my son Drew
 and his girlfriend Leah Jackson backstage.
Annaleigh is a wonderful actress and comic talent who plays the role of "Betty DiMello " on Masters of Sex. Annaleigh was in the very first scenes of Masters of Sex and has been an integral part of the cast ever since. She's also been extraordinarily gracious to me and my family, both on the set of Masters and when we visited her backstage on Broadway. 



And Christian Borle wins a Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical.  Christian Borle was awarded best featured actor in a musical for his performance inSomething Rotten! at the Tony Awards on Sunday night. Christian was fantastic in "Masters of Sex" as the brother of Dr. William Masters played by Michael Sheen. 

Perfect Gift for Father's Day: a Book about Fathers and Sons in Great Dynasties. Read about the Kennedy and Churchill Families. What Makes Greatness? Consider Winston Churchill and JFK and the People Surrounding Them. Reveals one of the great untold political scandals of the 20th Century -- I'll drink to that, Joe!


The paperback for WHEN LIONS ROAR is coming out in October with a big announcement. But for Father's Day on June 21, please consider the hardcover LIONS book about fathers and their sons, both great and not so much. The Washington Post review by Douglas Brinkley really underlines all that I was hoping achieve with this book. The book reveals one of the great political scandals of the 20th Century and in effect re-writes the history between these two dynasties. No less than that. Check it out. I hope you (and the fatherly-like figures in your life) get a chance to enjoy it.



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Be it Cable or Cord-Cutters, More People To Find "Masters of Sex" On Their SmartPhones Apps and other Apple Devices in Time for Jukly 12 Season Three Debut. But read the BOOK first!

Let's forget all the techno gobbley-gook and get right to the point: "Masters of Sex" will now be available for streaming on Apple phones and other devices with the new Showtime app that will become available in time for the Season 3 debut on July 12. That's all those cord-cutters, cable refuseniks and other artless wonders need to know to catch up on America's best drama show. And maybe they'll still have a few bucks to go out and read the acclaimed book about Masters and Johnson that is the basis for the Showtime series! 

From the Wall Street Journal: 
CBS Corp.’s long-anticipated stand-alone streaming service for its pay-TV channel Showtime will debut this summer with Apple Inc.on board as its launch partner.
Showtime’s streaming service will launch on Apple devices in early July and will be running by July 12 when new seasons of the network’s popular dramas “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex” are scheduled to premiere. CBS is in talks with other distributors as well and said it expects to unveil additional deals in the future. The price of the streaming service will be $10.99 a month, which is cheaper than the average rate some distributors including satellite broadcasters DirecTV and Dish Network Corp. currently charge for the Showtime TV channel. On the other hand, Time Warner Cablecurrently offers Showtime for $9.99 a month.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Masters of Sex Season 3: "We are the Sexual Revolution"


Only six weeks from Season 3 of Masters of Sex! Have you read the book, especially the chapters dealing with the mid-1960s? That's where the new season starts off.
I think this will be the best season yet, as Masters and Johnson become famous, the 1960s Sexual Revolution gets into high gear, and the relationship between Virginia and Bill becomes even more complicated with the introduction of a new character played by Josh Charles.




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Remembrance: The Costs of War: An Excerpt from WHEN LIONS ROAR




Since 1893, the Solomon Islands, an archipelago of nearly a thousand small swampy islands, had been a protectorate of the United Kingdom, though, by the time Jack Kennedy arrived, the British had mostly stopped protecting it. Only the British resident commissioner and a few others remained, hidden in the tropical jungle brush by local natives. They provided a coast-watching service, a crude local form of British intelligence that alerted American commanders to enemy ships nearby.
It would be up to U.S. forces to begin pushing back the Japanese assault in the Pacific, just as Britain had fought mostly alone against Germany and Italy in the early years of the war. Winston Churchill had convinced Roosevelt to prevail first in Europe—including the sweep through the Middle East known as Operation Torch—before America’s full attention returned to the Pacific. “Although we had little knowledge of American Pacific plans, we realised that an intense crisis had arisen in the Solomons,” Churchill recalled. “It was obvious that no [British] carriers could reach the scene for many weeks. I earnestly desired to help in this heroic struggle, but with the main naval responsibility for landing the Anglo-American Army in North-West Africa upon us we could make no immediate proposal.” Not until December 1942 did Churchill—now calling himself the “former naval person” in private notes to FDR—dare risk sending a handful of British ships to the Pacific. By the summer of 1943 they had joined an embattled fleet of American battleships, carriers, and small wooden craft known as PT (for “patrol torpedo”) boats, one of which would be commanded by twenty-six-year-old John F. Kennedy.
Back in the United States, Kennedy’s family worried greatly about his safety, especially with news of intense combat against the Japanese, seemingly determined to fight island by island. Rose enlisted nuns to pray for her son’s cause. Jack, with his own sense of grace under pressure, tried to make light of the very real prospect he’d soon be killed. “Kathleen reports that even a fortune-teller says that I’m coming back in one piece,” he wrote home. “I hope that it won’t be taken as a sign of lack of confidence in you all or the Church if I continue to duck.”
On August 2, Kennedy’s PT-109, with a crew of thirteen aboard, cruised quietly into the thick blackness of night. Without warning, a Japanese destroyer cut through their boat, slicing it in half with everyone hurled into the water. Two crewmates died within moments. “This is how it feels to be killed,” Jack thought to himself, as he later recalled. While some later blamed the crash on his inexperience or neglect, Kennedy’s actions immediately afterward were unquestionably heroic. Despite hurting his back, the ensign swam around the flaming debris. He helped pull his surviving crew members up onto the boat’s wreckage, still floating in the water. Knowing his band of survivors couldn’t stay, and risk capture by the Japanese, he convinced his crew to swim toward a small island three miles away. He gave the most injured sailor, who didn’t know how to swim, a large life preserver and towed him to safety. When the Japanese neared, the group moved again to another island.
Back at the PT base on Rendova Island, most believed Kennedy and his crew had been killed. The commander held a memorial service and didn’t send any boats looking for their bodies. “Jack Kennedy, Ambassador’s son, was on the same boat and lost his life,” one officer at the base wrote home. Eventually after three days of fear and brutal conditions, Kennedy and his crew discovered some local natives willing to carry a coconut back to the PT base. Jack carved a message on its greenish shell: “Nauro Isl . . . commander . . . native knows pos’it . . . He can pilot . . . 11 alive . . . need small boat . . . Kennedy.”
The coconut wound up in the hands of Reginald Evans, an Australian coast-watcher, the last remnants of the British Empire’s presence on the islands. Evans arranged for a group of natives to travel back to the island by canoe, carrying enough food to feed the Americans. Jack was handed a letter by the native group’s leader, Benjamin Kevu, who spoke the King’s English perfectly, with instructions on how to return to safety.
“You’ve got to hand it to the British,” Jack told one his crewmates, amazed at their good fortune.
Then Kennedy left his men and returned with the natives in their canoe, which had enough room for only one passenger. They covered this battered young American with palm fronds, to avoid detection as Japanese fighter planes flew overhead. Soon Kennedy met Evans at his secret hideaway, and two PT boats, alerted by the coast-watcher, left Rendova and picked up Jack. He showed them where to find his stranded crew.
When his surviving crew arrived at Rendova, Kennedy took the old gold coin from around his neck, the gift from Clare Boothe Luce, and gave it to the native scouts who’d carried the coconut with his message. He later thanked the congresswoman again for the “good-luck piece,” as he called it, which “did service above and beyond its routine duties during a rather busy period.”

For four days, Joe Kennedy knew his son was missing in action, but he chose not to tell Rose or anyone else in their family. He’d always feared one of his sons might be killed in this war—the conflict he never wanted, always dreaded, which had ruined his public reputation. Then, on a car ride home, while listening to the radio, Joe heard a news alert of Jack’s rescue. Overcome with emotion, he drove off the road and into a field. When he arrived back at the house, Rose fell into his arms and rejoiced. “He is really at home—the boy for whom you prayed so hard—at the mention of whose name your eyes would become dimmed—the youngster who you would think dead some nights & you wake up with sorrow clutching at your heart,” Rose later wrote in her diary. “What a sense of gratitude to God to have spared him.”
After witnessing death all around him in such brutal form, Jack found his carefree attitude chipped away. In seeing friends killed, he became more bitterly ironic about the pretense of war, and more philosophic about fate and mortality. He had come to the Pacific partly to show that he wasn’t a coward, wasn’t an appeaser, as they said about his family behind his back. His own instincts proved right—and quite ironic when his round-robin letter to his family, written obviously before the PT-109 disaster, was received at home on August 10, containing this assurance: “I myself am completely—and thoroughly convinced that nothing is going to happen to me.” His letter mentioned one of the two men lost on his boat, Andrew Kirksey—a married man with three children—who nearly got killed during a bombing shortly before the PT-109 accident. “He never really got over it, he always seemed to have the feeling that something was going to happen to him,” Jack recalled. “When a fellow gets the feeling that he’s in for it—the only thing to do is let him get off the boat—because strangely enough they always seem to be the ones that do get it. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or what.”
Jack was upset to find how quickly his Navy superiors had given up in their initial search for the PT-109’s crew. He worried his family may have heard of his presumed death. “This is a short note to tell you that I am alive—and not kicking—in spite of any reports that you may happen to hear,” he wrote home immediately after being rescued from the PT-109 debacle. “It was believed otherwise for a few days—so reports or rumors may have gotten back to you. Fortunately they misjudged the duration of a Kennedy.”
After the PT-109 incident, Jack Kennedy disdained politicians who embraced the rhetoric of war. “People get so used to talking about billions of dollars and millions of soldiers that thousands dead sounds like drops in the bucket,” he wrote to his parents. “But if those thousands want to live as much as the ten I saw—they should measure their words with great care.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

How would Churchill Handle the Middle East Today? My Visit to Detroit and the Churchill Society of Michigan





Some people asked how Churchill might have handled the Middle East today, at least in my estimation. Well, certainly Winston was an imperialist and, in his time, he was the leading defender of the British Empire and maintaining its interests around the world. But I'm not sure he would be a"neo-con" as we understand it here in the United States. 


Here's a fascinating new BBC documentary on Churchill. On the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, Jeremy Paxman tells the story of the send-off which Britain gave to the man who led the country to victory in the Second World War. More than a million people came to line the streets of London on the freezing day in late January to pay their respects as his coffin was taken from the lying-in-state at Westminster to St Paul's Cathedral. Millions more watched the state funeral on television. Churchill was the only commoner in the twentieth century to receive the honour of such a magnificent ceremony.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

David Letterman and his No. 1 TV Moment -- Talks about "Masters of Sex" and Tells Lizzy Caplan That He Loves Her As an Actress

Just before the premiere of "MASTERS ON SEX", Lizzy Caplan appeared with David Letterman to explain everything about the show and to hear the TV host say how much he enjoys her acting.


Of course in this interview, there are A LOT of laughs! Too bad David won't be around for the July 12 Season Three premiere of Masters! But now he'll have plenty of time to read the book, Masters of Sex.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mad Men Moves Over (Finally) for Masters of Sex -- As The Finale Nears for One, Get Ready for Season 3 with the Other Drama.


"Mad Men" is gone, but the comparisons with "Masters of Sex" -- the Showtime series based on my biography of Masters and Johnson -- will linger. 
"Mad Men" is one television's all-time greats and for "Masters" to be in the same conversation with it is amazing. Showrunner Matthew Weiner's extraordinary talent for plot twists and deep characterizations remains the gold standard for all who follow "Mad Men". There are some obvious physical similarities between the two shows, particularly the 1960s costumes and time period for both dramas.

 But there are also some stark differences.

"Mad Men" always seemed obsessed with death -- selling cigarettes as death sticks to an unsuspecting American public and Don's overwhelming self-destructiveness -- while "Masters of Sex" is essentially about the mysteries of human intimacy and our search for love. Big, big difference there, my friends. I've always felt "Masters" does a far better job at portraying the subtle emotions between men and women than "Mad Men." 
Ironically, the comparisons to "Mad Men" began before "Masters of Sex" was even on the air. 
In the premiere episode of Season 5 in March 2012, "Mad Men" made a fleeting reference to Masters and Johnson. It's the same episode in which Don Draper's new wife Meghan heats up a party in their apartment by singing Gillian Hills' "Zou Bisou Bisou."
As Mark Maurer in New Jersey's Star-Ledger noted at that time: "Pete jokingly refers to Don and Megan as “Masters and Johnson,” pioneers of research on human sexuality and coincidentally the subject of a new Showtime pilot starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan."

This little tip-of-the-hat was thrilling to me, because I've always admired the television genius of Weiner, and because "Masters of Sex" would soon to make its debut on Showtime in fall 2013 (and was filming its pilot at that time). Since then, the comparisons between the two shows only increased. 
It's got all of the scandal, fashion, drama and depth of character that you love from "Mad Men." Just replace advertising with sex research and you have the perfect formula for your next favorite show.
Time Magazine was even blunter:
Now that male-centric dramas like Mad MenBreaking Bad and Dexter are coming to a close, and Masters has emerged as the most promising new show that aired this year, we’re hoping that television writers will start taking on the task of female drama. 
Some provided comparisons of Mad Men's Don Draper and Masters of Sex's Dr. William Masters:
Anyone who possesses even passing knowledge of Showtime's Masters of Sex and AMC's Mad Men will know that the two shows are similar-ish on the surface.But when you dig into the two male protagonists – Masters of Sex' Dr. Bill Masters (played by Michael Sheen) and Mad Men's Don Draper (Jon Hamm) – you'll see that they share many traits and circumstances that are not obvious to recognize at first. 
And in London, the Guardian compared how the two shows handled their females characters:
     Compare Masters' wife Libby with her Mad Men equivalent Betty Draper. Both are ice-cream blondes, impeccably turned out and concerned with presenting a perfect face to the world. Yet while Matthew Weiner frequently writes Betty as more caricature than character, a spoilt child with an immature view of the world, Michelle Ashford gives Libby both heart and soul. We feel for her when she loses her baby and we understand why she subsequently lies to her husband. Libby's actions ring true to us because she is written like an actual person and not a personification of "everything that was wrong with women in the 1960s".
"Mad Men" was a terrific series that expanded the creative boundaries of television and once again put the emphasis on the writer as the real star of the show. "Masters of Sex" hopefully has several more seasons to go with showrunner Michelle Ashford before it reaches a finale.

But I think there's one more more comparsion that can be made. Because "Masters of Sex" is based on a real-life story, I know that the narrative will become only more complex and richer for the audience. That story-telling quality will be particularly evident in this upcoming Season 3, as the working relationship between Masters and Johnson becomes more equal and their personal relationship becomes infinitely more complicated.
So say a fond bye-bye to Mad Men, but stay tuned for much more of Masters of Sex.
Teddy Sears, a star of Masters of Sex, in early episode of Mad Men

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bravo Announces "ALL THAT GLITTERS" Being Developed by Sony, Based On Award-Winning "Newhouse" Biography; Exec Produced by "Walking Dead" Gale Anne Hurd and "Masters of Sex" Judith Verno


The award-winning "Newhouse" book is now becoming "ALL THAT GLITTERS" on Bravo, produced by Sony and Universal. It's being exec produced by Gale Anne Hurd of "The Walking Dead" and Judith Verno of Sony's "Masters of Sex." I'm the author and a producer of this new project and very grateful to my friends at Sony.

Here's the story from Variety:
Bravo is pumping up its slate of scripted originals, and a key ingredient in the expansion will be a 1980s period drama from “Walking Dead” producer Gale Anne Hurd, Variety reports.

Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment and Judith Verno’s Peace Out Productions are behind “All That Glitters,” which is being developed as a miniseries, the story reports.
“Based on Thomas Maier’s book ‘Newhouse: All The Glitter, Power and Glory of America’s Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It,’ the project is set at the heyday of the magazine business in the 1980s when editors including Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Vanity Fair’s Tina Brown were ruthless in their competition to dominate the publishing world,” Variety reports.
"NEWHOUSE: All the Glitter, Power and Glory of America's Richest Media Empire and the Secretive Man Behind It," (St. Martin's Press, 1994) won the Frank Luther Mott Award by the National Honor Society in Journalism and Mass Communication as best media book of the year. Excerpts appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Worth, and The London Telegraph magazine. An updated trade paperback of "Newhouse," published by Johnson Books, was picked by Entertainment Weekly as one of the top ten "must reads" for the 1997 summer season.
Anna Wintour and Tina Brown in 1989

Friday, April 24, 2015

10 Rules For Great Leadership from Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy, Taken From WHEN LIONS ROAR

Ten Rules For Great Leadership from Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy.



Thomas Maier is the author of the newly-published When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys (Crown).


          In studying the careers of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American president John F. Kennedy -- two towering figures of the 20th century --  I found many leadership qualities that could be described as “great”. Sometimes those leadership traits are obvious. For example, when Rose Kennedy, JFK’s mother, first met Winston Churchill in the 1930s, she described him in her diary as “one of the great men of the generation.” But sometimes that path to leadership is more subtle or innate. In his own writings about leadership, Winston soberly declared “the price of greatness is responsibility.”
In looking at the careers of JFK and Churchill, here are some guidelines for developing great leadership that you may consider in your own life:


1. Exceed expectations. John F. Kennedy’s political career seemed a reaction to his father and family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy’s own failures in the public arena (a story that echoed Winston Churchill’s success following his father’s own shattered political career). In running for Congress in 1946, Jack confided to friends that he felt “my father’s eyes on the back of my neck,” though he remained quietly determined to forge his own path. While expectation would lift John F. Kennedy to the presidency,  Winston Churchill’s son, Randolph would find himself crushed by the burden of living in his father’s shadow. For Randolph’s twenty-first birthday in 1932, his father Winston hosted a fabulous coming-of-age London dinner with the theme of “Fathers and Sons.” “I am not afraid to reveal  . . . my two main ambitions,” Randolph admitted. “I wish to make an immense fortune and to be Prime Minister.” But Randolph’s plan for greatness would be undermined by his own erratic behavior, a reminder that high early expectations can only be fulfilled through hard work and dedication.
2. Have a sense of history. JFK followed Churchill’s example, reading and writing much about the past and hiring a top historian as one of his White House advisers. Both men were steeped in American and European history, which informed their leadership. “I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place,” Winston jovially told the press in February 1943, when asked about the outcome of World War II. Later at age seventy-four, Churchill looked to his future by coming to terms with the past. “Let us leave hindsight to history—that history which I am now, myself, in the process of writing!” he explained during a 1947 House of Commons debate.


3. Become a hero, show courage. While recuperating in America from his constant illnesses, a young JFK read many of Churchill’s books filled with tales of manly heroics, faraway adventures, and bloody battles. Each journey brought a new story of derring-do and near-death escapades told with Winston’s trademark wit -- including how he escaped as a prisoner during the Boer War and had a bounty put on his head. “Although always prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it should be postponed,” Churchill explained. Years later, when asked how he became a war hero following the Japanese attack on his PT-109 cruiser in the Pacific, Jack offered a wry but realistic assessment. “It was involuntary,” he said. “They sank my boat.”  Both Churchill and Kennedy revered courage. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Profiles in Courage,” JFK began with “This is a book about the most admirable of human virtues—courage.”


4. Sense of roots and lasting legacy. The wrapping of JFK’s legacy in the British myth of Camelot sprang from Jacqueline Kennedy’s memories of her slain husband listening to recordings of the Broadway show based on the tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. “I always keep thinking of Camelot—which is overly sentimental—but I know I am right—for one brief shining moment there was Camelot—and it will never be that way again,” she wrote Harold Macmillan in January 1964. When Randolph Churchill gave John F. Kennedy Jr., the fallen president’s son, a collection of Winston’s books -- (as an author, Winston Churchill built his reputation writing large impressive biographies about his father and the Duke of Marlborough, a descendant ancestor and British war hero) -- Jackie framed her response in terms of legacy. “Winston Churchill and Randolph outlived Jack—but maybe Randolph will be the one to draw John to the books that shaped John’s father,” she wrote.


5. Marry well and listen to your spouse’s advice. Spouses in the Kennedy and Churchill political families faced many challenges but also provided great strength for those in the limelight. “Rose Kennedy is an uncanonized saint in a Dior dress,” observed press baron Lord Beaverbrook, Winston’s longtime friend, to JFK’s father, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy. Clementine Churchill bolstered her husband Winston’s spirits during the most difficult times of his career. “Never forget that when History looks back, your vision & your piercing energy, coupled with your patience & magnanimity, will all be part of your greatness, “ Clemmie reminded him after some discouraging setbacks during World War II. Both women -- and especially JFK’s wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy -- played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in helping to shape these dynasties.


6. Determination to be great can decide destiny and good fortune. Despite their friendly public faces, both Winston Churchill and JFK had iron wills unwilling to accept failure, with an overriding belief in their personal success. “Remember I’ve always said he’s a child of fate, and if he fell in a puddle of mud in a white suit he’d come up ready for a Newport ball,” Joe Kennedy explained to Jackie Kennedy about her husband.  “We are all worms,” Winston confided early in his career. “But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” Both family patriarchs would will their names into the history books.


7. Use wit to overcome difficulties on the road to greatness. Young Jack Kennedy admired Churchill’s eloquence and pluck in describing war, the joie de vivre of a man who, after nearly being killed by gunfire, could declare with glee, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” Churchill would remain a touchstone in the Kennedys’ lives. In a lighthearted letter to his family, Jack later compared his mother, Rose, jokingly to the British prime minister, referring to one of his famous lines: “Never in history have so many owed so much to such a one—or is that quite correct?” he teased her. “If you would look in that little book of yours under Churchill Winston—I imagine you can check it.”  It was that charm that would endear JFK to generations of Americans and the wit that, to this day, Churchill is remembered for.


8. Demand only the best from colleagues. JFK surrounded himself with what would later be called, “The Best and the Brightest,” drawing his advisors from the top minds of American industry and from the most elite schools. But he relied on his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, for the best advice on the most sensitive matters such the Cuban missile crisis.  During World War II, Churchill was so grateful to Lord Beaverbrook, he dubbed him “Lord Spitfire” for his extraordinary plane production against the attacking Nazis. Beaverbrook responded with a sense of history that undoubtedly the prime minister appreciated. “You will be talked of even more widely after you are dead than during your lifetime,” Beaverbrook wrote prophetically. “But I am talked of while I live, and save for my association with you, I will be forgotten thereafter.”


9. Be confident but act humbly. Jack Kennedy began his successful 1960 presidential quest after conceding defeat graciously with his longshot bid for the 1956 vice-presidential nomination. His televised concession speech left a good impression. When Churchill received the 1953 Nobel Prize In Literature (rather than Peace), he dispatched his wife Clementine to pick up the award, along with a charming message of acceptance. “I do hope you are right,” he informed the Nobel Committee about the merits of its decision. “I feel we are both running a considerable risk and that I do not deserve it. But I shall have no misgivings if you have none.”


10. Recognize “greatness” in your followers and give voice to it. Famously, President Kennedy’s stirring 1960 inaugural speech—an idealistic plea for all Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your county”—reverberated with Churchill’s cadences. For inspiration, Kennedy had listened to recordings of Churchill during World War II.  “It was the nation and the race dwelling all around the globe that had the lion’s heart,” Churchill  later wrote of the British people during the war. “I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.”

In my book “When Lions Roar”, I mentioned the word “leadership” twelve times within the text. But its meaning  is best understood for everyone by reflecting upon the words, actions and inspiring careers of these two great men, Winston Churchill and JFK.

Kick Kennedy & Pam Churchill : A Fateful, Dynastic Friendship Between Two Daughters of the Two Famous Families

Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, the favorite sister of future U.S. president John F. Kennedy, and Pamela Churchill, the daughter-in-law of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, enjoyed one of the closest relationships between the two world famous families -- one filled with passion, politics, humor and ultimately tragedy. This is an excerpt from “When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys” by Thomas Maier.

Winston Churchill and wife Clementine with Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy during 1946 Florida trip. Credit: JFK Library.

After the war, Kick Kennedy and Pamela Churchill’s friendship grew closer. They were no longer vaguely familiar debutantes with little in common but rather an American widow and British divorcée, both in their mid-twenties, whose experiences and social circles in war-torn London had bonded them together.
With her family in America, Kick still maintained the good-girl veneer that her mother insisted upon. On her own in London, she’d become more independent-minded, especially after the death of her husband Billy Hartington during the war. Though she didn’t approve of every adulterous move by Pamela, Kick appreciated the other woman’s spirited, devil-may-care approach to life. For all the friendship and favors Pamela Churchill provided in London, Kick Kennedy felt compelled in 1946 to invite her for an extended wintertime vacation in Florida. Kick “was my close friend and that’s how I came into the Kennedy family,” Pamela recalled decades later. “The first time I ever came to America, I stayed with the Kennedys down in Palm Beach.”
As an honorary Kennedy, Pamela found herself enthralled by the family’s dinner table conversation about politics. She went shopping with Rose Kennedy and appeared in the local newspaper columnist’s list of “Best Sundressed Women in Palm Beach,” even though she appeared “quite pale when near the other deeply tanned beauties.” With Kick and her parents, Pamela also enjoyed the Sunday races at Hialeah. After enduring so many wartime hardships and material restrictions in England, Pamela was amazed by the extravagant wealth and undisturbed beauty of America.
When the former prime minister arrived in Florida, Kick joined the Churchills as part of their entourage. She rode with them in a special car, escorted by twenty policemen on motorcycles, to the Orange Bowl stadium, where they watched Winston receive his honorary degree from the University of Miami. Afterward, Kick joined the Churchills at the Surf Club. Under a cabana at this private resort, Winston took out his oils and composed a painting of the endless blue-green Atlantic and darkened clouds on the horizon giving way to daylight. On this warm afternoon, the Churchills brought along their bathing suits and decided to go for a swim. “Winston presented a very comical sight, bobbing around in the surf,” Kick wrote in her diary. “He adores the water though I must say I wouldn’t enjoy swimming in such a public spot every day.”
As they entertained themselves at the Surf Club, Kick laughed along with the prime minister, flashing her wry smile and throwing back her thick and curly auburn hair. Unlike during her war years riding a bicycle in a Red Cross uniform around crumbled London, Kick, with her distinctive beauty in the Florida sun, now appeared more womanly than girlish, whether wearing pearls with a summer dress or all wet in her polka-dot swimsuit.
Eventually, Winston inquired about Kick’s father, with whom he had a tense encounter a few weeks earlier at Hialeah Park.
“He sends you best regards,” Kick answered.
Winston’s face soured. “He makes an exception in my case,” he said with a harrumph. The two men had a bitter falling out over the war, with Joe Kennedy opposing the war that ultimately claimed his oldest son, Joseph Jr.
The ambassador wasn’t pleased when his daughter, with some bemusement, repeated Winston’s comment to him. “Daddy took umbrage at this remark,” she noted in her diary.
Pamela Churchill

Along with the inviting sun, Pamela Churchill sought refuge in Florida with the Kennedys for another reason besides getting a tan. As Kick knew, her friend had flown to America partly on the expectation of getting married to her wartime lover, CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.
While in London together, Pamela fell deeply in love with the suave, older American journalist, who promised to divorce his wife when he returned home to New York. Murrow, who admired Winston Churchill, detested Joe Kennedy as an appeaser. He chastised Pamela for vacationing at his Florida home, which he likened to “staying with [Nazi Gestapo leader Hermann] Goering.”
In Palm Beach, however, Pamela heard from Murrow that he’d decided to remain with his wife and his newly born son, Charles Casey Murrow. casey wins, he telegraphed to Pam, who was shattered by the news. Her divorce from Randolph Churchill, filed in December 1945, had left her free to marry Murrow after their long affair. Even Randolph’s parents, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, seemed to wish for Pamela’s happiness away from their son. Never forget not only are we devoted to you but you are the mother of my grandson,” Churchill told her.
While in Palm Beach, Pamela obtained a better sense of Joe Kennedy and his commanding grip on the lives of his children, now well into adulthood. Much of the talk touched on Jack’s impending congressional race in Massachusetts and how the family would rally behind him. Kick idolized her father and laughed off any suggestions about his questionable behavior. When a British tabloid portrayed the former U.S. ambassador as a playboy in Palm Beach, Kick couldn’t help sharing it with the rest of the family in one of their round-robin letters.
“I think it shows there’s a lot of life left in that old man of ours if he can start being a playboy at his ripe old age!” she teased. Whether Old Joe was attracted to Churchill’s former daughter-in-law later became a source of conjecture. Writer Truman Capote, a social friend with Pamela in the 1960s, suggested one of his novel’s characters was based on Pamela’s stay at Palm Beach, when the senior Kennedy allegedly slipped into her room in the middle of the night and pressed her into having sex with him. “The sheer ballsy gall of it—right there in his own house with the whole family sleeping all around us,” says the character Lady Ina Coolbirth in Capote’s book, repeating the story, never proven, he claimed Pamela recounted over lunch. For whatever reason, Pamela abruptly decided to leave Palm Beach. She stayed with another American friend, Betsey Whitney (the former wife of Jimmy Roosevelt who had married Jock Whitney) and then returned to New York, where Murrow attempted to renew their affair, without success.
Determined to return to Britain, Pamela contacted Lord Beaverbrook, seeking his advice as she had done since her marriage to Randolph. The press lord offered Pamela a job writing society articles for one of his London newspapers, and she traveled back on the Queen Mary. Like some real-life novella, Pamela Churchill’s arrival in England coincided with another twist in her love life: the return of Averell Harriman. In April 1946, President Truman appointed Harriman as U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James, the same post once held by Joe Kennedy. Harriman replaced Gil Winant, whose bouts with depression had ended whatever effectiveness he once had in the job. Ave returned to London without his wife, Marie, or his daughter, Kathleen, and soon resumed his indiscreet affair with Pamela. The rumors started circulating again (with Randolph complaining to friends that he should have named Harriman as a co-respondent in his divorce proceedings), though Harriman’s tenure didn’t last long.
While having lunch with Winston Churchill in September, the White House called looking for him. The former prime minister guessed correctly that Truman wanted Harriman to fill the open job of U.S. commerce secretary, a Cabinet position in the postwar years far more advantageous than London. When Ave asked if he should accept the president’s offer, Winston didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely,” he replied. “The center of power is in Washington.”
The politically ambitious Harriman quickly accepted and jumped to Washington. Pamela remained in London while Marie Harriman continued living in New York. Ave’s wandering eye soon found another object for his affection, in the nation’s capital. He spent nights with Kay Halle, the heiress friend of both the Churchills and the Kennedys, with many Democratic Party connections of her own in town. Friends soon heard rumors that Harriman wanted to leave his wife for Halle. “On weeknights, the commerce secretary’s limousine was frequently parked at Halle’s house in Georgetown,” wrote Harriman biographer Rudy Abramson. “The proximity—and Halle’s high visibility and earnest intentions—made the matter more irritating to Marie than the wartime affair with Pamela had been.” But Halle never harbored a serious intention of marrying Harriman, her friend Timothy Dickinson told another biographer. “She knew if she married Averell she would be bullied beyond belief,” Dickinson explained.
Passion with the men in Pamela’s life was often mixed with sexual hypocrisy and double standards. Certainly Murrow’s withering criticism of her friendship with the Kennedys carried an odd stamp of moral disapproval. And at a chance meeting, Harriman “rather sanctimoniously blurted out that she was ruining her life” by flitting from one powerful man to another, implying that she was patterning her life on that of Lady Jane Digby, her ancestor often described as a courtesan. That stigma was unfair, insisted Pamela’s brother Edward. “While she was actually in a relationship, Pam was never unfaithful to her lovers,” Lord Digby said years later; “in most cases it was the man who strayed while Pam was entirely focused on that man.”
For Pamela, no friend seemed better able to understand these contradictions than Kick Kennedy, who returned to London soon after her Florida vacation. In their short existence, both young women had witnessed tragedy beyond their control, yet continued to define daily life on their own terms. “Mother and I were talking it over last night and decided nobody in the world twenty-five years of age has had the kind of life you’ve had or as interesting,” Joe wrote his daughter, suggesting her diary could become a best-selling book. Rather than spend her life in postwar America, though, Kick felt most comfortable in England, in the Brideshead Revisited world portrayed by her friend Evelyn Waugh. “I know it is unfair that so few should have so much etc. but there’s a certain grandeur, tradition, strength that is very much part of the England that would disappear without them,” she explained about the old homes and castles, especially the Devonshires’ Chatsworth estate. “I know my little brothers will think ‘Kick has gone more British’ than ever, my persecuted Irish ancestors would turn over in their graves to hear talk of England in this way but I don’t care. I think a landed aristocracy can be an instrument of good just as much of evil and when it is the former then —‘preserve it.’ (You’d better not let Grandpa Fitz see the above.)”
In this world, the Churchills were the defenders of a way of life that now existed mostly in words and memories—a paradox that the Kennedys (especially Kick), as Catholics bound by a sense of tradition, understood better than most. She teased and joked about many of the ironies, yet wished to remain a part of postwar England. In a letter home, she mentioned one of Randolph’s commando pals, Robin Campbell, who talked to her about his two years in a German prison camp, and spoke of the influence of religion on her friends. “Apparently Robin was so impressed by the Catholic Chaplain in the prison that he is thinking seriously of becoming one, much to the amazement and shock of his various relatives,” Kick wrote her parents. “Have heard the same thing about Randolph Churchill. Can you imagine him as a pillar of the Church?”
When Kick chatted with Lord Hugh Cecil, who had been best man at Winston Churchill’s 1908 wedding, she mentioned her own tragic marriage to the future Duke of Devonshire. In the eyes of her Catholic Church, Kick explained, “Billy and I had been living in sin.” Lord Cecil, a strong Anglican capable of outdebating Winston in their early days, merely rolled his eyes. “But so many of one’s friends are nowadays,” he sighed.

* * *

In postwar London, several of Randolph Churchill’s Oxford friends and commando veterans visited the white Georgian house on Smith Square owned by Kick Kennedy, the widowed Lady Hartington, a lively parlor for politics, the literary arts, and forgetting the heartbreaking past.
In Kick’s new home, located near St. John’s Church, where her friend Pamela Churchill had married Randolph years earlier, the two young women shared many laughs and gossipy stories about the Churchills and the Kennedys. “Kick’s house is really very cute, very nicely furnished,” described her sister Eunice during an October 1946 visit. “We hold a salon every night from 6 to 8 here at home; otherwise you can’t tell where we might be.” One constant visitor, Seymour Berry, the best man at Randolph’s wedding, dated Kick frequently enough that some friends thought they might get married. In this same circle of friends was Freddie Birkenhead (son of Winston’s best friend, the late F. E. Smith), who had served in Croatia with Randolph and Evelyn Waugh. By far, Waugh was the best known of Randolph’s friends to attend Kick’s dinner parties, and the most opinionated. While he found Kick attractive, Waugh thought the sentimental oil painting she kept on her wall of her dead husband, Billy (commissioned from an old photo of him in uniform) was “most God awful.”
As a Catholic convert, Waugh considered the Hartington wedding as unholy, a selfish act of apostasy. At one party, he sat next to Kick and gave her a lecture on Catholic marriage law. She seemed amused enough by this celebrated novelist not to take offense. Evelyn, who regained the roly-poly weight he’d lost during the war, mistook her attention for infatuation and noted, “The widow Hartington is in love with me, I think.” With Frank Waldrop, her old Washington newspaper editor, she later laughed about Waugh’s moralizing until she suddenly stopped. “You know, Frank, I had only five weeks with my husband,” she lamented, “and now he is gone.”
Inside her London group of acquaintances, William Henry Lawrence Peter Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, the Eighth Earl of Fitzwilliam (simply “Peter Fitzwilliam” to friends) emerged as the most intriguing and fateful for Kick. Her attraction to this swashbuckling, wealthy, and married war hero—far different in character from Billy Hartington—would lead to a secret love affair that once again caused conflict within the Kennedy family. Kick first met Fitzwilliam, the son of one of England’s richest families, at a June 1946 victory ball honoring the commandos. During the war, Randolph, Waugh, and Fitzwilliam, all drinking buddies from White’s, served together in the Middle East. Indeed, on the boat ride to Cairo, it was Fitzwilliam to whom Randolph lost a huge sum in a poker game—a financial crisis that ruptured Randolph’s marriage with Pamela and only added to Fitzwilliam’s notoriety as a gambler. In a begrudging tone, Waugh referred to Fitzwilliam as “king dandy and scum.”
In 1938, Kathleen Kennedy attended London event with mother Rose and sister Rosemary.

At the commandos ball, Kick turned plenty of heads with her pale pink gown, an effervescent smile, and a sense of humor that could captivate a room. That night at the Dorchester Hotel, Fitzwilliam’s wife, Olive, an heiress to the Guinness brewery fortune, served as president of the ball fund. Among the honored commando veterans, Fitzwilliam was singled out for a brave special mission during the war. Basking in the limelight, Peter nevertheless spent enough time with Kick to spark a romance, brazenly in front of his wife. By that point in their marriage, Olive had learned to look the other way when her husband flirted with other women. At such gatherings, she’d down drink after drink, enough so that she eventually became an alcoholic.
After the commandos ball, Fitzwilliam became a favored visitor at Kick’s home in Smith Square. Friends worried for her reputation with such a charming adulterer, and that she might wind up hurt. “You don’t know him—you don’t know him,” Kick insisted. Both lovers tried hard to keep their affair private, escaping London to the Fitzwilliam family’s estates throughout England and Ireland. A dashing man with thick dark hair, Peter showed enough business acumen with his outside investments to rival Joe Kennedy. His family, whose wealth was the stuff of legend, had the largest residence in England, a three-thousand-acre estate. This huge Georgian mansion, called Wentworth Woodhouse, contained 365 rooms (one for every day of the year), enough so that, in the eighteenth century, Peter’s ancestors gave guests paper wafers to leave in the hallways to retrace their way to its dining hall. Despite his many financial investments, Peter’s greatest interest centered on thoroughbred horse racing. He owned one of the best stud farms in England, and invited Kick to join him in racing excursions to France. Pamela Churchill came along with Kick as a sidekick and camouflage. “Kick was the perfect friend for Pamela, non-judgmental and fun-loving,” wrote biographer Sally Bedell Smith. “As the daughter of Lord Digby, Pamela knew her way around racecourses and fit in comfortably with turf society.”
In her letters home, Kick gave her parents glimpses of this glamorous world, mentioning a week-long trip to Paris with Pamela and Virginia Sykes, a former girlfriend of her late brother, Joe. In her correspondence, Kick could be catty and gossipy, the way all Kennedys enjoyed dishing in private. Aware of his mother’s disapproval of American Wallis Simpson and her affair forcing King Edward VIII’s abdication, Kick wrote of seeing the Duchess of Windsor and her husband on the social circuit and painted the woman he loved in pathetic tones. “Really, no one here takes any notice of them & the extraordinary thing is that I actually feel that she is jealous of what I, as an American, have got out of England and which has always been denied to her,” she told her parents. Kick played to the Kennedy family’s competitive streak in her Anglo-American exchanges. “After Pam’s dinner party, we went to her sister’s debutante party,” she wrote. “It gave me quite a turn to see all the ugly girls. Americans of that age certainly have them all beat.”
While visiting Ireland in November 1946, Kick’s more serious-minded younger sister Eunice stayed with her at Lismore Castle, the Irish estate owned by Billy’s family. They went to the races with a soft Irish rain falling, much different from the climate at the always sunny Florida track their father owned. “It was certainly the furthest possible cry from Hialeah,” Kick wrote to her parents. “But the characters around an Irish racecourse certainly make the whole day worthwhile.” The letter home mentioned Fitzwilliam, but did so misleadingly, avoiding any parental upset. Though Eunice accompanied her, Kick dared not explain to her sister the true nature of her relationship with the Eighth Earl of Fitzwilliam.
At Lismore Castle, Pamela Churchill joined Kick’s other high-powered friends from London when her brother Jack visited in September 1947. While on a European fact-finding mission with other House members, Congressman Kennedy tacked on his own extended holiday in Ireland with his sister. “I hope Jack will let me know when he is planning to arrive at Lismore and if anyone is coming from America,” Kick wrote home several weeks beforehand. “I don’t want everyone to arrive at once.”
Lismore, built centuries before, felt like a step back into history, a time when the British Empire dominated Irish Catholics in their own land. With some amusement, Kick reminded her family that she was now living in the place where Billy’s great-great-uncle was “brought in here, dying, when shot [sic] by Irish patriots in 1882.” With its ancient stone walls and turrets along the River Blackwater, the castle offered plenty of beauty and spacious rooms for Kick’s various guests. The list of invitees included Winston Churchill’s cousin Sir Shane Leslie, and most notably Anthony Eden, Churchill’s top foreign adviser, who had suffered the same family tragedy during the war as the Kennedys. In July 1945, Anthony lost his beloved fighter pilot son, Simon, in Burma. Yet Eden’s judgment of Churchill was far different from that of the embittered former ambassador Kennedy. “It is you who have led, uplifted and inspired us through the worst days,” Eden wrote Winston on V-E Day. “Without you this day could not have been.”
Despite their differences, Kick knew her father liked and respected Eden and would enjoy knowing of her invitation to meet Britain’s future prime minister. “Anthony Eden arrives today so by the end of the week he and Jack will have fixed up the state of the world,” she wrote home whimsically. Eden, a handsome man known for his distinctive clothing style, had already made an impression on Jack years earlier: Jack wrote to a friend that he’d been “sporting around in my morning coat, my ‘Anthony Eden’ black Homburg and white gardenia.” Talking politics at Lismore was part of the guests’ relaxation. “Anthony Eden, who was very easy to entertain, arrived loaded down with official looking Conservative documents but when he had been here only a few days got into the Irish spirit,” Kick reported. “Jack liked him enormously.”
Though nearly twice her age, Eden courted Lady Hartington with a fair degree of romantic interest. At a dinner party the year before, society hostess Lady Cunard had kept leaning toward them and asking loudly, “Anthony, don’t you think Kick is pretty?” followed in another breath by “Kick, don’t you think Anthony is wonderful?” Three months before his Lismore trip, Eden had escorted Kick to the Ascot Racecourse outside London, where he received a polite reception from the crowd. “They’ll cheer but the blighters won’t vote for us,” he whispered to Kick. The couple dined at Eden’s house, where Kick learned more about his troubled marriage. Eden’s wife, Beatrice, hated his political career, and she moved permanently to the United States after their son was killed in the war. “She [Mrs. Eden] is in America and refuses to return so he lives in a rather squalid little house with very few comforts,” Kick described. “He is a nice man and fascinating to talk to for me.” If Eden knew about Peter Fitzwilliam, it didn’t stop him from showing an interest in Kick even after the Lismore visit. “I long to see you,” Eden wrote in a lengthy missive to her. “I love your letters, especially when you write as you talk, for then I can imagine that you are here. How I wish that you were, and I do believe that you would enjoy it too.”
Strolling Lismore together, Kick let Jack know of her romance with Peter Fitzwilliam. She spoke glowingly of Peter, as if he were standing right before them, with an intensity Jack had never really known in his own love life. Jack listened fraternally, and didn’t prod or condemn. For now, Kick’s older brother was the only Kennedy family member she’d tell. Jack could be trusted to keep her secret.
While in Ireland, Congressman Kennedy remained intent on discovering his family’s roots. During his earlier 1945 trip, which included meeting Éamon de Valera, Kennedy had packed several books about Irish-American history. But on this trip, Jack planned an unannounced personal visit to the old Kennedy homestead in nearby County Wexford. While Kick’s other guests played golf, Jack convinced Pamela Churchill to accompany him for the four-hour journey in his sister’s American-made station wagon. Pamela shared the same sharp social antennae as Kick, but she wasn’t attracted to her successful brother. “In England we dated very much older men and Jack seemed, well, boyish,” Pamela recalled, though the congressman was three years her senior. “Skinny and scrawny, actually. Kathleen’s kid brother. Not eligible, so to speak.”
The road to Wexford was a long one. A century earlier in 1848, in the teeth of the Irish famine that claimed a million lives, Jack’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy left his family’s homestead (a drab whitewashed stone house with a thatched roof and only thirty acres on a tenant farm in small area known as Dunganstown) to begin a new lease on life in a poor immigrant section of East Boston. What happened to the succeeding generations of Kennedys would be nothing less than miraculous. They became emblematic of the rise of Irish Catholics, as America’s first large wave of immigrants who redefined their adopted nation. Rather than the British class lines of peerage or inherited wealth, Jack’s two grandfathers relied on their two faiths, Catholicism and the Democratic Party, to gain power in New England. Certainly Honey Fitz and P. J. Kennedy learned that hand shaking at parish Communion breakfasts, patronage deals through the political clubhouse, and the constant courting of ward bosses and Church hierarchy would pay off at the ballot box. Despite his millions from Wall Street and Hollywood, Joe Kennedy’s greatest triumph was his appointment to the Court of St. James, overcoming the strictures of his Irish-Catholic immigrant background. Nothing defined the differences between American and British society more starkly than this social ascendancy through Yankee ambition rather than noble blood and class distinctions. The Kennedys’ climb to the top proved “the hardest and longest move of all—inching up the rungs of the class ladder until the Kennedys stood near the top and could look as equals on the dukes and earls whose ancestors had ruled their native land,” JFK’s earliest biographer, James MacGregor Burns, explained. Joe Kennedy made sure his sons understood these lessons, prompting Jack’s curiosity to learn more about his family origins.
At the Kennedy farm in County Wexford, accompanied by Pamela, Jack discovered not much had changed since his great-grandfather left. “I’m John Kennedy from Massachusetts,” he said after his knock on the door was answered. “I believe we are related.” His distant cousin Mary Kennedy Ryan seemed dubious at first but eventually invited the two strangers in for tea.
The Kennedys who remained in Ireland had spent much of the past century trying to regain the land rights to their tenant farms from the British and supporting Ireland’s independence movement led by such politicians as de Valera. Mary Ryan herself had been a member of the old IRA’s women’s auxiliary during the 1920s conflict against the British, carrying guns and money, either in carts or under her dress, to a secret hiding spot near their farm. “Jack kept pressing on about his ancestors going to America and so on, trying to make the link,” recalled Pamela. As a treat, Jack took the Irish Kennedy cousins for a short ride in Kick’s shining new station wagon, accompanied by the former Mrs. Randolph Churchill. “They never could figure out who I was,” recalled Pamela. “‘Wife?’ they’d ask. I’d say no. And they’d say, ‘Ah, soon to be, no doubt!’”
After nearly two hours “surrounded by chickens and pigs,” Jack recalled, he “left in a flow of nostalgia and sentiment.” The trip reaffirmed the Irish stories he’d heard from his parents and grandparents. Neither Pamela nor Kick, however, seemed impressed. As their car pulled away from the Kennedy farm, Pamela turned to Jack with a remark meant as witty. “That was just like Tobacco Road!” she tittered, referring to the popular novel about rural life in Georgia. Jack wasn’t amused. “The English lady,” he later recounted, ”. . . had not understood at all the magic of the afternoon.” To Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell, his Irish-Catholic political aides from Boston, he was much blunter: “I felt like kicking her out of the car.” At Lismore, Lady Hartington was even haughtier. After listening to her brother’s wondrous account of the Kennedy homestead, Kick mustered only a bemused question. “Well, did they have a bathroom?”
Throughout his Irish trip, Jack suffered an unexplained, debilitating illness with little relief. Eventually he flew back to London, staying at the Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair, where he collapsed. He sought help from Pamela, who had also returned to the city. “I need a doctor,” Jack told her desperately over the telephone. Pamela convinced her doctor, Sir Daniel Davies, also used by Lord Beaverbrook, to go see him immediately.
Kennedy’s wartime back injury and malaria usually provided a plausible public explanation for his often sickly appearance and yellowish skin tone. Pam’s doctor first diagnosed Jack’s symptoms as those of Addison’s disease, a chronic disorder of the adrenal glands with symptoms of weight loss, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle fatigue. Sir Daniel kept him at the hospital, where Jack received lifesaving cortisone injections. “That American friend of yours, he hasn’t got a year to live,” the doctor informed Pamela.
Ravaged by his strange illness, Kennedy remained in a London hospital for weeks and was given the last rites of his church. In mid-October 1947, he traveled home with his mother across the Atlantic, confined to the sick ward of the Queen Elizabeth. He was then flown by charter plane from New York to Boston, and carried on a stretcher, drawn and pale, into the New England Baptist Hospital until he could recover. Misled by Joe Kennedy’s publicity men, the press claimed the congressman suffered from “a malarial attack.” No one suspected otherwise.
Friendship with the Kennedys required keeping secrets. As Kick’s confidante, Pamela Churchill became privy to Jack Kennedy’s biggest secret: the potentially fatal medical condition that could keep him from his family’s vaunting political goals. Yet there was no doubt she could be trusted, just as she was with so many intimacies about the Churchills. “I knew the Kennedys very well,” Pamela explained a half century later. “Kick was my closest friend in those days.” Pamela understood the power of such information. As the friendly siren of the Churchill Club during the war, she listened carefully to the conversations of American military brass, politicians, and prominent U.S. journalists—and then reported the most significant details to her father-in-law, the prime minister. “Basically, I’m a backroom girl,” Pam explained. “I’ve always said this and I’ve always believed it.”
In February 1948, Kick wanted Pamela Churchill to come with her again to Florida, just as she had when Winston visited in 1946. Visiting Palm Beach in winter gave Kick the chance to catch up with her family, to let them know more of her new life on the other side of the Atlantic. But this year the complicated love lives of these two young women didn’t allow for such an idyllic trip together in the sun. Kick had hoped Pamela’s presence might make it easier for her to tell her parents about her intention to marry Peter Fitzwilliam. Kick convinced Elizabeth Cavendish, her late husband Billy’s sister, to come with her to Palm Beach, as a false sign the Devonshires approved of Kick’s new love. In fact, Elizabeth harbored strong doubts and offered support only because Kick seemed “terrified” of confronting her mother. Among Kick’s London circle of friends, few believed Fitzwilliam would bring her anything but heartache. At dinner the night before she left for America, Kick burst out crying when David and Sissy Ormsby-Gore condemned Peter’s dishonorable character. Like the Jesuits she consulted, Kick heard the Ormsby-Gores predict ex-communication from the Catholic Church if she married Peter.
A sexual passion unlike she’d ever known before apparently compelled Lady Hartington to risk everything dear. “Her friends began to suspect that she had begun sleeping with him,” wrote her biographer Lynne McTaggart. “She didn’t seem to care anymore whether the affair was kept a secret or her reputation remained unsoiled.” Her old newspaper friend John White noticed a change in Kick’s demeanor; she was no longer the virginal Kennedy princess. Instead of duty, desire now motivated her actions; instead of obedient faith, a blinding happiness. “I was overjoyed to see that she had finally been awakened,” White observed. “Rarely in life do you see someone so bubbling over with love, everything that love should be, every bit of it. Poor old Billy Hartington. But again he probably would have been blown away if she had felt that way about him.” As word of her affair spread within her Smith Square salon, even Evelyn Waugh weighed in with advice. He’d later claim to Clarissa Churchill, Winston’s niece, that Kick sought his opinion about what to do about “le scandale Fitzwilliam.” Waugh suggested to Kick that having sex with a married man was relatively venial compared with the cardinal sin of leaving the Church. “If you want to commit adultery or fornication & can’t resist, do it,” Waugh cautioned, “but realize what you are doing, and don’t give the final insult of apostasy.”
During her nearly two-month-long stay in Florida, Kick never mentioned Peter’s name. Not until the last day of her trip, when the Kennedys were all together for a joyous occasion, did the twenty-eight-year-old Lady Hartington inform her parents like a wayward child. At the Greenbrier hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia—where Joe and Rose spent their 1914 honeymoon—the family gathered among some three hundred celebrities, wealthy tycoons, and society types to attend an April 17, 1948, gala hosted by the hotel’s owner. Hollywood star Bing Crosby sang “White Christmas” and other well-known tunes, while Kick convinced the band to play her favorite “How Are Things in Glocca Morra,” from Finian’s Rainbow, a new show on Broadway. Recovering from his illness, Jack flew in from Washington to join the fun.
Near night’s end, Kick stunned her mother by announcing her love for Fitzwilliam and their plans to marry when she returned to England. Kick’s adamant resolve was met by an even sharper, firmer rebuke from Rose. To this deeply religious matriarch, it seemed unconscionable that her daughter would break up an existing Fitzwilliam family to wed a divorced man. All Kick’s conciliatory letters from England—the vain effort to reconcile herself with her religion and her mother after marrying Billy Hartington, seeking her approval by attending religious retreats—now sounded hollow. As Rose realized, she’d been betrayed by both her daughter’s adulterous behavior and the apparent complicit knowledge of her son Jack and her own husband. No longer would Rose Kennedy look the other way. If Kathleen married this man, she emphatically told her daughter, she would no longer have anything to do with her, she’d be dead in her mother’s eyes. And if her husband went along with this unholy arrangement, Rose indicated there would be dire consequences for their own union. In a rare instance, Joe Kennedy kept silent. He knew Rose’s threat endangered their “family enterprise”—the magnificent Kennedy clan they had invested their whole lives in—and would shatter his relationship with his daughter Kathleen, who, Rose once told Lady Astor, was her husband’s “favorite of all the children.” Joe weighed his options as Kick left the next day for London.
In a sense, Joe Kennedy faced a similar predicament as Winston Churchill did with his favorite child, actress Sarah Churchill. She married two rakish husbands of whom the prime minister fundamentally disapproved. But whereas Winston did not seem able to keep his hurtful comments at bay, Joe proved far more adept and diplomatic with his children, even in the most inciting moments. He didn’t explode or risk the permanent expulsion of his daughter. “The measure of a man’s success in life is not the money he’s made—it’s the kind of family he has raised,” he insisted to a reporter in 1943, when his own political wilderness seemed to have no end. “In that, I’ve been mighty lucky.” At least for the moment, Joe honored his wife’s principled stand and did nothing to contradict her. Rather than fight, he  soon left for Europe as part of a government commission study of the Marshall Plan. Kick contacted her father and pressed for a May 15 meeting in Paris. She felt strongly that if her father met Peter Fitzwilliam, he might recognize qualities similar to those in himself and give his tacit approval of, if not his blessing for, their marriage. To persuade her father, she planned to ask her British friend Janie Kenyon-Slaney and her husband, Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook’s aviator hero son), to join them in Paris. Max knew Peter; perhaps Beaverbrook’s son could ease the senior Kennedy’s objections. It was her father’s love, more than that of anyone on her family, that Kick didn’t want to lose.
Impulsively, a few days before this fateful meeting, the couple decided to fly from London to southern France, to spend a Whitsun holiday in Cannes drinking up the sun along the Riviera. Halfway into the journey, their chartered plane stopped in Paris because of stormy weather ahead. Peter impatiently called some horse owner friends, who agreed to share an impromptu leisurely lunch at a Paris café. When he and Kick returned to the airport, the plane’s pilot warned them that dangerous clouds remained in the skies, near the mountains leading to Cannes. Unaccustomed to not having his way, Fitzwilliam convinced the pilot to run the risk anyway, and he and Kick climbed back into the plane. Kick urged Pamela Churchill, who had come to the airport with them, to join them for the short trip. For reasons of her own, Pam declined. Instead, she “put them on the plane together,” as Pam recalled, and watched as they flew away.
Several hours later, Joe Kennedy received a call from the press at his Paris hotel suite letting him know that his daughter was dead. The small ten-person plane had lost control and crashed, killing everyone aboard. Kick’s battered body was carried by oxcart from the mountainside scene. The wartime widow’s search for happiness, the hope that her father might like Peter and support her decision to marry, was now over, covered up in misleading accounts of why they were together in the first place.
Alerted about the missing plane, Congressman Kennedy waited on a sofa in Washington, listening to Kick’s favorite song from Finian’s Rainbow, until the telephone rang again and he and his sister Eunice received the final word. Jack cried and eventually left the room to mourn alone. He later flew to Boston to gather with his mother, Rose, and siblings at the family’s Hyannis Port home. In his sorrow, Joe accepted a gracious offer by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire allowing Kick to be buried near their Chatsworth castle, the scene of so many happier times before the war, rather than have her remains brought back to the States. Billy’s parents knew of Kick’s secret affair with Fitzwilliam and shared the Kennedys’ desire to keep it out of the obituaries. The ambassador had come to Paris with one of his favorite fixers, Boston’s former police commissioner Joseph F. Timilty—exactly the kind of gruff, bushy-eyebrowed accomplice Joe needed to tell a man he couldn’t marry his daughter. He’d even visited his Vatican friend Count Galeazzi, the pope’s top aide, for an ecclesiastical solution to Kick’s dilemma. Shattered by her death, Joe scribbled a note on his way to claim her body: “No one who ever met her didn’t feel that life was much better . . . We must not feel sorry for her but for ourselves.”
At Kick’s funeral, the former ambassador was the only Kennedy in attendance. Rose’s adamant condemnation of Kick’s behavior chilled the idea that the whole family might attend. At first Jack tried to go, but passport problems made him stay home. More than two hundred mourners paid their respects. Joe Kennedy, dressed in a rumpled suit, barely spoke. Many still viewed him as the appeaser who’d abandoned England at its most desperate hour. “He stood alone, unloved and despised,” recalled Alastair Forbes, one of Kick’s friends.
Despite their past antagonisms, Winston Churchill sent his written condolences on a wreath placed at Kick’s grave. Winston’s note seemed to acknowledge the loss of Kennedy’s oldest son in the war, the battlefield death of his son-in-law, and now the loss of his charming daughter the prime minister remembered so well. “Pray accept my sincere sympathy on your renewed grievous loss. Winston Churchill,” read the cable. The former ambassador thanked Churchill, acknowledging the way their families’ paths had crossed. “Rose and I are exceedingly grateful for your kind thoughts,” Joe wrote to Winston. “We know how greatly you admired Kathleen and that you will appreciate how we cherish the memory of her beautiful character.” Her funeral reflected how much of Kick’s life—flawed but always vividly intense—had been spent in England rather than America. Unlike her father, she’d been accepted by the British aristocracy as one of their own. Looking at her grave were several men who had loved her at separate times and in different ways: Seymour Berry, Tony Rosslyn, William Douglas-Home, Anthony Eden, and even Evelyn Waugh. Surrounding her coffin were other friends, such as Lady Nancy Astor and Brendan Bracken, and couples who had been part of her married life with Billy, including David and Sissy Ormsby-Gore, who had warned Kick about her involvement with Fitzwilliam.
Randolph Churchill represented his family as well as himself. Everyone knew of his divorce from Pamela, arguably Kick’s best friend at the time of her death, but Randolph had decided to come anyway. During the funeral services, he and Pamela spoke once again, not with rancor or any bitterness but with a tenderness they had not shared in years. Both seemed shaken by death’s sudden claim on Kick, the lively hostess of her Smith Square salon full of their friends, someone they’d known for most of their adult lives. The Kennedys had been a touchstone, part of their understanding of what it meant to be American. As his father’s representative, Randolph first met Kick upon the Kennedys’ 1938 arrival in London, before any other Englishman or Pamela had heard her name as a debutante. Now, a decade later, Lady Hartington, known as Kick, the embodiment of this special Anglo-American relationship, was gone. The twisted wreckage had left both Pamela and Randolph searching for answers.
Pamela Churchill embraces husband Randolph during World War II as Winston looked on.

To her divorced husband, Pamela admitted her life had been tougher than she expected after leaving the Churchill family’s protective bubble. Floundering in his own way, Randolph recognized how much both his parents still adored Pamela with their young son, Winston, and that perhaps his own rudderless life might be given new direction if they got back together as a family. Following Kick’s burial, Randolph proposed a reconciliation with Pamela. He arranged for a weekend getaway at the castle-like home of a friend, with champagne on the ready. Like a newlywed, Randolph hoped for a second honeymoon with Pamela, and used all his oratorical skills to plead his case. They talked about their mutual employer, newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, and how Winston’s wealthy ally had come to control so much of their lives, just as Randolph once feared. The war had ruined so many marriages, but Randolph argued that theirs could be salvaged, if only she believed in him.
As they drove a sedan into the countryside, however, Randolph got lost, and Pamela slowly came to her senses. She realized he was no longer the charismatic Adonis figure of his youth, but a lonely, bloated thirty-seven-year-old man with receding gray hair and an uncertain future, who seemed not to have learned any lessons from the past. For all his kindnesses, Randolph could easily revert to being a self-centered lout, looking for a maid rather than a wife. No matter how vulnerable she might feel, Pamela concluded that she was better off without him.
Memories of Kick remained buried with her at Chatsworth. With no more familial ties in London, Joe and Rose Kennedy focused their attention almost exclusively on Jack’s career in America and the admirable lives of their other children—such as Robert, for whom England was a more distant memory. “He [Bobby] is just starting off and has the difficulty of trying to follow two brilliant brothers, Joe and Jack,” the senior Kennedy wrote to Beaverbrook in 1948, thanking him for an encouraging note sent to his third son. “That in itself is quite a handicap, and he is making a good battle of it.”
Jack’s memories of Kick and Joe Jr. in England taught him to embrace the immediacy of life, rather than any doctor’s prediction of imminent death. No one had believed in Jack more than his favorite sister, Kick. He had trouble sleeping at night, dreaming about her. “If something happens to you or somebody in your family who is miserable anyway, whose health is bad, or who has a chronic disease or something, that’s one thing,” Jack explained years later to James MacGregor Burns. “But, for someone who is living at their peak, then to get cut off—that’s the shock.”
Jack returned to London that summer but found it too wrenching to visit Kick’s grave at Chatsworth, which bore the epitaph “Joy She Gave, Joy She Has Found” etched on her tombstone. It fell to Jack to help settle Kick’s estate. He sorted through various entanglements of his sister’s life even more complicated than his own. After meeting with Kick’s housekeeper, learning more details of his sister’s love affair with Fitzwilliam, he instructed, “We will not mention her again.”
In years to come, the loss of Kathleen remained too painful for Joe and Rose Kennedy to discuss among themselves or with others, including their children. Rose turned again to her Church for solace and, ironically, relied on her newfound friendship with the Devonshires, the Protestants she once dreaded as in-laws, to settle the remaining loose ends of Kick’s life. “We have received most of the things in America, except two pictures given to her by Pamela Churchill,” Rose told a lawyer disposing of Kick’s belongings in London. “I believe the Duchess of Devonshire is holding them for me.” Without the deep faith his wife sustained, Joe never felt more despondent. The grand dreams built around his most stellar children no longer existed. “The sudden death of young Joe and Kathleen within a period of three years has left a mark on me that I find very difficult to erase,” Joe explained to Beaverbrook. “What a horrible mess the world is in. I am afraid I see very little hope on the horizon.”

At Christmas that year, when Pamela Churchill contacted him, Joe Kennedy was still morose. Yet he tried acting cheery for his daughter’s friend, giving out his overfamiliar brand of fatherly advice. “I am afraid that Palm Beach is never going to be the same without Kick,” he confided. “Of course, I hear about you every now and then, but usually that some rich fellow is passionately in love with you. I don’t blame them, but it is about time you gave some of these Americans a chance. Unless you hurry, there won’t be any rich ones left.”