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JFK and the Movies: 50 Years of Mythmaking

Like most Americans living today, I was born after November 22, 1963, so I don't remember John F. Kennedy and can't tell you where I was when news broke of his assassination. So here's what I know about the man, his presidency, and his death, thanks to the history professors of Hollywood.

Let me see if I have this right: JFK was a handsome man with the charisma of a movie star. (Indeed, he had connections to Hollywood through his father, a onetime movie producer; through his brother-in-law Peter Lawford and fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra; and through his torrid affair with Marilyn Monroe.) Through his youth, good looks, charisma, and forward-looking rhetoric, he inspired a nation to stop wearing hats, build rockets to the moon, and join the Peace Corps. His even more attractive, youthful, stylish, and patrician wife Jackie swept out the dowdy cobwebs of the Eisenhower years and turned

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