A-list stars to read Jackie Kennedy's moving letters of condolence in new JFK doc
Raw pain of the nation in the aftermath of the assassination on full display
When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, 1.5 million condolence letters were sent to his young widow by citizens from all walks of life.
Now a new documentary called Letters To Jackie, set to air in the fall, will gives voice to some of the letters received as the 50 anniversary of the Dallas shooting approaches on November 22.
Stars who will lend their voices to the private letters include Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams.
The documentary is based on the book, Letters To Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation, by Ellen Fitzpatrick, and it will focus on the first lady as she steels her way through her grief, and that of the nations, attempting to steady her two children in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Describing what inspired the movie, filmmaker Bill Couturie told the Daily Mail: 'I'll never forget where I was when JFK was killed. No one will. It cast a dark shadow over America.
'Afterwards, the American people poured out their hearts to Jackie. The strength and wisdom of the nation, coming out of profound tragedy, rings clear in these letters. As soon as I read them, I knew I had to make a movie around them and the time they so eloquently evoke.'
Fitzpatrick's book, published in 2010, revealed a selection of letters to the First Lady for the first time.
The White House reportedly received 1.5 million letters and words of comfort in the two months after Kennedy's death, with 45,000 arriving on one day alone.
Among the envelopes was a letter from Jane Dryden, an 11-year-old who wrote: 'I know that you hate the whole state of Texas. I do too,' she wrote from the state's capital Austin. 'I wish I lived in Washington, D.C. I would feel safer there.'
Given the overwhelming volume of post received, much of it was destroyed shortly after it arrived. But 200,000 pages were sent to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston where they lay forgotten until historian Fitzpatrick put a selection of them into her book.
Larry Toomey of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, couldn't wait for official confirmation of Kennedy's death before starting his letter.
'My dear Mrs Kennedy, even as I write this letter, my hand, my body is trembling at the terrible incident of this afternoon. I am watching the CBS-TV news report. No official word as yet.'
Fitzpatrick was reportedly at the Kennedy library researching a book when, out of curiosity, she asked to see some of the condolence letters in hopes of getting a sense of how Kennedy was perceived by Americans in his own time. Right away she was hooked.
'It was like the roof came off the building, the walls dropped away, the floor came out from under me. I was absolutely floored by what I'd begun to read,' she said.
'I have been teaching American history for 30 years, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a collection as powerful and that represented so many ordinary people speaking from the heart about their views about American society, and politics, and the president.'
- Irish university suspends Legion of Mary...
- Notre Dame sues federal government again...
- Unionists regret US envoy Haass’ call for...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Top ten worst ever Irish Christmas gifts,...
- 4,000 Irish social welfare letters encourage...
- Caroline Kennedy “selfie” in Japan reveals...
- Pope Francis calls capitalism “new tyranny”...
- Address by Nelson Mandela to Joint Houses...
- Married priests could well be Pope Francis'...
"I have never met an irish teenager or 20 something that could have a conversation in Irish." And many American teenagers can only speak SpSmithwick inquiry finds Irish police may have colluded in two IRA murders
Not true that the burden of proof in a Tribunal of Enquiry is lighter than that of Civil Court…the term ‘burden of proof’ describesNelson Mandela showed us all what could be when good men rule
Teadoir You are right, the two faced very different challenges. Dr. King, a member of a minority race, struggled non violently for the rights of his pIrish university suspends Legion of Mary for anti-gay literature
So asking people to reconsider their opinions somehow "impedes" them? This is the glorious state of free speech in Ireland: that you can say