Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Meet the Man Who Reportedly Used to Blow JFK

The Daily Mail has a lengthy piece about Robert Kennedy Jr. that claims mom Ethel abandoned her son after he spiked the family's milk with laxatives(!) and turned to JFK's gay best friend to become his surrogate father after RFK was assassinated in 1968. It's all very Kennedyesque -- adapted from Jerry Oppenheimer's new book, "Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: RFK Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream" -- but the part that caught my eye was the assertion that this surrogate father, Kirk Lemoyne "Lem" Billings, used to blow John F. Kennedy, who was his prep-school roommate. Billings later had his own room at the White House during the Kennedy presidency:

An intimate of Billings, writer Lawrence J. Quirk, claimed that Billings, whom he met in 1946 when both worked in Jack Kennedy's first congressional campaign, had confided to him that their relationship did, in fact, involve sex acts— 'a friendship that included oral sex, with Jack always on the receiving end.' Quirk, who acknowledged his own bisexuality, asserted that Billings 'believed that this arrangement enabled Jack to sustain his self-delusion that straight men who received oral sex from other males were really only straights looking for sexual release.' As Quirk further observed, 'Jack was in love with Lem being in love with him and considered him the ideal follower-adorer.' Lem Billings was a strapping, bespectacled, 'grizzly-bearish' fellow with big feet and a large head topped by curly, dirty blond hair, who always seemed to be smiling.

If true, the guy's hot, so good for JFK. But if it had been JFK Jr., the "always smiling" bit would make a lot more sense.


mwg1208 said...

Hi Kenneth, An excellent book by the title of "Jack and Lem" was published about 2 or 3 years ago. The subject was the relationship between JFK Sr and Lem, his lifelong friend originally met in boarding school. I think it shows pretty conclusively that there was no sex between the two men. Not that at the beginning Lem didn't want it but Jack did not.(I'm not that type of boy or something to that effect). It's quite a good read and didn't sell all that well when published. America didn't want to know that Jack's best friend was a gay man).
I bought my copy from Amazon and haven't checked to see if it is still in print. Give it a try!

Bill Carter said...

mwg1208 has it right, except that the book "Jack and Lem" came out 7 years ago. (I went to a reading by the author, David Pitts, at the much-missed Dupont Circle Olsson's bookstore, which closed six months later in 2008.)

Even then, the Lem Billings-JFK connection was old news. They met at Choate, where Billings spent an extra year to be around JFK. He remained Kennedy's closest friend for the rest of Kennedy's life, and acted as sort of the extended Kennedy family coordinator in the years after the assassination. (He made the daily calls to let the family know what the other family members were doing.) In later years, he was an "uncle" figure to the next generation, with some unsavoury results: He abetted some of the drug and alcohol problems that plagued the Kennedy boys.

There's no serious doubt that the closeted Billings was in love with JFK, or that Kennedy was aware of it. There's also no evidence that the relationship was other than platonic. Just unsupported gossip.

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