Memories of JFK From His Gay Best Friend

President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas 50 years ago, leaving behind a mourning nation and his gay best friend, Lem Billings.



Jack, Lem, and Caroline enjoying the water, Hyannis Port, 1963.

“'Of course, there was always Cape Cod in Massachusetts when the president wanted to be near the water,' Lem remarked. On some weekends, Jack and Lem would go up there. 'I would take the shuttle down to Washington, go to the White House and we would be picked up by helicopter there — flown to Andrews (Air Force Base) and taken by Air Force One to Otis on the Cape. From there we would helicopter right to his father's front lawn. Of course, he had always loved the Cape and was completely happy there.'” (Page 213)

“Jack made a big difference in my life. Because of him, I was never lonely. He might have been the reason I never got married. I mean, I could have had a wife, and family, but what the hell — do you think I would have had a better life having been Jack Kennedy's best friend, having been with him during so many moments of his presidency, having had my own room at the White House, having had the best friend anybody ever had, or having been married and settled down and living somewhere.” (Page 24)