Friday, February 28, 2014

Dorothy Kilgallen - Game Show Panelist and Woman With a Secret?


As a child, I used to watch various game shows along with my mother. I always liked shows like "What's My Line?" and "I've Got a Secret". They were televised versions of the game 20 Questions most of us have played, but with celebrity panelists and the occasional celebrity guest. In the case of the celebrity guest, the panelists were given blindfolds so that they could not recognize the guest. On occasion, the guest's voice was so recognizable that the host would answer the questions on behalf of the guest. I thoroughly enjoyed these game shows.

Dorothy Kilgallen was one of the celebrity panelists on the "What's My Line?" game show. Most of the other panelists I had seen elsewhere. Even as a child, I knew they were known through their films or television activity. But, I could never figure out who Dorothy Kilgallen was. Not until, that is, last night when at long last I decided to make use of my favorite thing in the world - the Internet.

It was there that I learned that Ms. Kilgallen was the daughter of a Hearst corporation journalist and had become a journalist herself. She frequently covered stories not


traditionally covered by women in her time. Although she did pen a gossip column, she was also a crime reporter, an area of news dominated by men.

One of the criminal cases she reported on was the Sam Sheppard murder case. She did not believe he had bludgeoned his wife to death. She was also instrumental in Sheppard's being released from prison and re-tried because she was a witness to the judge at the original trial making verbal declaration prior to that trial that Sheppard was guilty, proving that he was not an unbiased jurist. She was not the only witness to the judge's remarks.

But, the most famous of her criminal cases was that of the Kennedy assassination. She managed to obtain a copy of the Warren Commission report long before it was released to the public and had also interviewed Jack Ruby out of earshot of prison guards. She believed she had irrefutable evidence that the assassination did not transpire as claimed and made public statements to that fact. It was not long after these statements that she
mysteriously died. Although she regularly took sleeping pills, her cause of death was supposedly due to taking a 'moderate' dosage of barbiturates with alcohol...something she had been doing regularly. Additionally, her notes from the Ruby interview and other sources she'd interviewed with regard to Kennedy's assassination were never found. Her husband said he would take her interest in the case to his death and never did speak of it with anyone. It makes you wonder if his reason for this was fear for his well-being if he were to tell what he knew or concern for his wife's professional reputation. I doubt we'll ever know.

Image of the What's My Line? cast - This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.

Image of Kilgallen's Newspaper Column - I (Gertrude Lawrence), the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so: I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law. (This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.)

Image of Shepherd release headline - This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
+KennedyAssassination +Kilgallen +JFK +Whatsmyline

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