|Born||in Chicago, Illinois, USA|
|Died||in New York, USA|
|Birth Name||Dorothy Mae Kilgallen|
|Height||5' 6½" (1.69 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Dorothy Kilgallen was the daughter of James Kilgallen, a colorful and popular newspaperman with the Hearst Corporation. She followed her father into the newspaper business and made her early reputation as a crime reporter (a novelty for women in those days) and for her participation in an around-the-world race using transportation that was available at the time (1936) to ordinary people, not aviators. Kilgallen finished second out of the three newspaper reporters who participated in the race. Her fame (she was the only woman) and her subsequent book about the race, "Girl Around the World," established her as a presence in the journalism profession. The book became the basis of the movie Fly Away Baby (1937).
In 1938, Kilgallen become a powerful and influential Broadway columnist. Starting in 1945, Kilgallen and husband Richard Kollmar hosted a long-running early morning radio talk show called "Breakfast With Dorothy and Dick." Although the couple had two children who sometimes joined them talking on the radio, Dorothy and Dick "lived an early version of an open marriage," according to a biographer. Their arrangement allowed both to carry on affairs as long as they did so outside of the expensive five-story neo-Georgian brownstone on Manhattan's East 68th Street that they both loved to decorate and furnish.
Millions of Americans came to know and admire Kilgallen through the TV quiz show What's My Line? (1950). She took the game more seriously than her more lighthearted colleagues did. It allegedly bothered her that she was never as popular with the show's viewers as were her fellow panelists, especially Arlene Francis. NBC News B-roll footage of Kilgallen's February 1964 visit to Dallas, Texas shows, however, that she was delighted when autograph seekers gathered around her. Game show viewers (Kilgallen was seen playing other games besides What's My Line?) seemed to have strong feelings about her. Either they loved her and rooted for her or hated her and enjoyed watching another participant outsmart her.
Kilgallen's relationship with singer Johnnie Ray started out as fun and secretive but later became disastrous when she competed with Ray's male lovers for his attention. Eventually, Kilgallen and Ray drank heavily together in public, a problem that may or may not have affected her performance on What's My Line? and her functioning with a typewriter. Kilgallen's newspaper work consisted of much more than her "gossipy" syndicated Broadway column. Her knowledge of the judge's misconduct during the 1954 murder trial of Samuel Sheppard (his case was the basis for the TV series The Fugitive (1963)) helped F. Lee Bailey secure a new trial for Sheppard. Upon Sheppard's release from the penitentiary that was then located in Columbus, Ohio in July 1964, Bailey helped arrange for a "late-night champagne party" in Cleveland, according to a book the lawyer published in 1971. Kilgallen, who was among the guests, had her first conversation with the wrongly convicted Sheppard.
Several months earlier, Kilgallen had visited Dallas, Texas to cover the murder trial of Jack Ruby. She secured two exclusive interviews with the defendant, who was being tried for the murder of alleged John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. One of Ruby's lawyers, Joe Tonahill, said years later that in the courtroom Kilgallen and Ruby made eye contact with each other in a way that suggested they may have met before his arrest. Tonahill and other lawyers including Melvin Belli were busy trying to save Ruby from the electric chair and had no time to investigate that. Kilgallen's first conversation with Ruby after his arrest occurred while he sat at the defense table during a recess. It resulted in the headline "Nervous Ruby Feels Breaking Point Near" in the New York Journal-American. (The newspaper was owned by the Hearst Corporation.) She never published anything from or even acknowledged (to her readers) her second conversation with Ruby. It occurred inside a small office behind the judge's bench out of earshot of the deputy sheriffs who were guarding Ruby and out of earshot of his lawyers and everyone else in the courthouse. It lasted approximately eight minutes, according to Joe Tonahill.
Possibly as a result of what Kilgallen learned from Ruby, she became a vocal critic of the Warren Commission investigation of the president's assassination. She allegedly told friends and her lawyer, but not her newspaper readers, that she soon was going to reveal important new information on the murder of JFK. Although Kilgallen's reactions to the Warren Commission report remain accessible, her theory about who shot the president will never be known. She died under mysterious circumstances (suicide or an accidental overdose according to some, murder according to others) soon after the advance notice she allegedly had given her friends and lawyer.
The notebooks containing the information Kilgallen was about to publish disappeared. They were never seen again. Some felt that assassination researchers should have questioned Ron Pataky, an obscure newspaper critic based in Columbus, Ohio whom she befriended a few months after her encounters with Jack Ruby. The Columbus newspaper sometimes mentioned Pataky's travels to New York City, and in June 1964 Kilgallen's column had them riding together in a London taxicab. A month after her death, widower Richard Kollmar refused to cooperate with conspiracy theorist Mark Lane when Lane tried to find her notes. Ten years later other loved ones, including her journalist father who was by then in his late eighties and still working for the Hearst Corporation, refused to discuss her career or the assassination with a biographer.
As the 50th anniversary of her death approaches, only recently did a researcher discover at Syracuse University a long audio recording of Richard Kollmar's 1967 appearance on a locally broadcast New York City radio show that was hosted by John Nebel, better known as "Long John Nebel." Kollmar was promoting the book Murder One that was credited to his late wife. It sold well enough in 1967 to warrant more than one printing and was reissued in paperback. Nebel, who had been a fan of the breakfast radio show that "Dorothy and Dick" had done, and who had known Kilgallen, encouraged Kollmar to discuss publicly many aspects of his late wife's life and career, including the Sheppard murder case.
Throughout the long radio broadcast, you notice that Johnnie Ray, Ron Pataky and events surrounding the assassination are off limits. Kollmar never gets near any of those topics. Neither does Nebel or the other two people who are heard talking with them on the 1967 aircheck. (The book Murder One omitted a chapter on the Jack Ruby murder trial that Ruby's lawyer Joe Tonahill said years later that Kilgallen had planned to include.) Long John Nebel and his guests do discuss Kilgallen's feud with Frank Sinatra, but they avoid the detail that Sinatra had drawn the public's attention to Kilgallen's chin that had prevented her from being photogenic.
Kilgallen's only relative who ever talked publicly about any mysteries surrounding her was her youngest child who had been eleven-and-a-half years old when she died. At age 21, he told the biographer that his family was keeping him, too, in the dark about what had happened ten years earlier.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: BPEACE98@AOL.COM
|Richard Kollmar||(6 April 1940 - 8 November 1965) ( her death) ( 3 children)|