At the height of her career, journalist and What's My Line? show panelist Dorothy Kilgallen was found dead inside her Manhattan town house.
Though her passing was ruled an accidental overdose at the time, lawyer and author Mark Shaw argues Kilgallen was murdered after gathering crucial information in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
In his new book, The Reporter Who Knew Too Much, Shaw explores the possibility of foul play, purporting that the TV personality's untimely death was arranged by none other than New Orleans Mafia don Carlos Marcello, who feared her investigation for a tell-all book would accuse him of orchestrating the JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald killings.
"The killers won, because she was eliminated and erased from any historical record about the JFK assassination," Shaw told New York Post reporter Susan Edelman of Kilgallen's book, which was never published.
On November 8, 1965, the 52-year-old, dubbed "the most powerful female voice in America" was discovered dead sitting up in bed, naked under a blue bathrobe, and still wearing a full face of makeup from filming What's My Line? earlier that evening.
After an autopsy, chief medical examiner James Luke wrote that Kilgallen died of "Acute Ethanol and Barbiturate Intoxication, Circumstances Undetermined." In other words, an accidental overdose caused by a combination of sleeping pills and alcohol.
Interestingly, at the time of her death, Kilgallen was just weeks away from a trip to New Orleans to meet with a "secret informant" in the JFK investigation.
"I'm going to break the real story and have the biggest scoop of the century," she reportedly told her lawyer, while one of her hairdressers, Charles Simpson, said that Kilgallen had told him: "If the wrong people knew what I know about the JFK assassination, it would cost me my life."
Following Kilgallen's death, her "thick file of evidence," including interviews and notes, was nowhere to be found. According to reports, she had always kept the dossier close or locked away.
"Murder is murder whether it happened five days or 50 years ago," Shaw told the Post. "Victims have rights, and Dorothy was denied hers because there was no investigation."
The Reporter Who Knew Too Much hits bookshelves on December 6.
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