5 Fabulous Facts About Jackie Kennedy

David Cairns/Express/Getty Images
David Cairns/Express/Getty Images

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who was born on July 28, 1929, was one of our country's most stylish and elegant icons for decades, but she was no empty, aloof beauty. Let's take a look at five things you might not have known about Jackie O.

1. Jackie Kennedy was almost Jackie Husted.

Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963), Democratic senator for Massachusetts, escorts his bride Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929 - 1994) down the church aisle shortly after their wedding ceremony at Newport, Rhode Island
Keystone/Getty Images

Jacqueline Bouvier came to international prominence when JFK became president, but she very nearly had a different husband. In December 1951, she became engaged to another man, John G. W. Husted. Husted was a Yale grad, a stockbroker, and a member of the same upper class of New York society as the Bouvier family.

The engagement didn't last long, though. By March of 1952, Jackie had called it off. It's not exactly clear why she gave Husted the ax, but there's been lots of speculation. Some biographers think that Jackie's mother, Janet, felt that Husted didn't make enough money to support her in style. (His salary of $17,000 a year was roughly equivalent to $100,000 today.) Other biographers have recounted stories of Jackie confiding to friends that Husted was immature and a little on the dull side.

Whatever the reason, the relationship ended, and Jackie Bouvier was soon dating John Kennedy; the couple would marry on September 12, 1953.

2. Some paparrazi shots landed jackie kennedy in an issue of Hustler.

Jackie Onassis (Jackie Kennedy) (1929 - 1994) and her husband Aristotle Onassis (1906 - 1975) leave an Athens nightclub at 7am after celebrating Jackie's 40th birthday
Nicholas Tsikourias, Getty Images

If you ever wonder how today's celebrities haven't yet realized that topless sunbathing is never a good idea if you're a target of the paparazzi, you should at least know that the exposed stars are in good company. In 1972 Jackie O. was photographed while sunning herself in the nude on husband Aristotle Onassis' private Greek island, Skorpios, by a photographer using a telescopic lens on a fishing boat.

The pictures first appeared as black-and-white prints in European men's magazines like the Italian rag Playmen, but they didn't make it to the States until Larry Flynt purchased them for his Hustler magazine in 1975. Flynt ran five full-color shots in the August issue, and despite Flynt's decision to print several million more copies than normal, the issue quickly sold out. He later called buying the pictures "the best investment I ever made."

3. Jackie Kennedy often locked horns with the paparazzi.

The flap over these nude pictures wasn't the only time the paparazzi ran afoul of Jackie O. In 1967 a particularly devoted paparazzo named Ron Galella followed Jackie home to her Manhattan apartment building and spent the next five years more or less following her every move, often from a perch on the bench in front of her building. He even went so far as to befriend one of her maids.

Jackie seemed to have taken this annoyance in stride for quite a while, but when Galella jumped in front of JFK Jr.'s bike in 1972, she had seen enough. Jackie O. took Galella to court and received a restraining order to stop Galella from harassing her. Although Galella had orders to stay 50 feet away from the former first lady, and 75 feet away from her children, he openly scoffed at this rule; 10 years later, Jackie had to sue him again. This time Galella finally gave up after facing a $125,000 fine and the potential of spending seven years in prison.

Kennedy wasn't the only person Galella drove to distraction, either. In 1973 he so enraged Marlon Brando that the star slugged him in the jaw, knocking out five of Galella's teeth. Brando's fellow actor Richard Burton loathed Galella so intensely that he hired goons to beat the photographer up.

4. Jackie Kennedy won an Emmy.

When the future First Lady toured the White House with her mother and sister in 1941, she noticed something odd: for a house with such a rich history, all of the furnishings and fixtures seemed awfully modern. Upon moving into the White House 20 years later, she set about to rectify this problem by filling the house with antiques that would accentuate the house's history. As she told LIFE Magazine, "All these people come to see the White House and they see practically nothing that dates back before 1948 ... Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there. It would be sacrilege merely to 'redecorate' it—a word I hate. It must be restored—and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship."

After throwing herself into the restoration process for over a year, Jackie was ready to unveil her restored White House to the public in 1962. On Valentine's Day of that year the major networks broadcast A Tour of the White House, in which Kennedy and CBS newscaster Charles Collingwood surveyed her handiwork. An incredible 56 million viewers watched the program, and the First Lady received a special Emmy, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Trustees Award. Lady Bird Johnson accepted the award for the First Lady, and the statuette is still on display at the Kennedy Library.

5. Jackie Kennedy was good friends with Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol
Getty Images

Warhol's images of the grief-stricken First Lady around the time of her husband's assassination are among the most memorable of his long career, and he actually became quite chummy with his subject. The former First Lady eventually became a frequent guest at Warhol's spread in Montauk, New York, and when the artist died, he left behind a couple of pieces of odd memorabilia.

Warhol was a notorious packrat, and archivists who were trying to sort through his belongings made a pair of interesting Kennedy finds. One was a piece of cake from the wedding of Caroline Kennedy to Edwin Schlossberg in 1986; Warhol had apparently put the cake in a box and forgotten about it. The other find was a bit more titillating: a nude photo of Jackie. Even more interesting, it was apparently autographed by the lady herself; it bore the inscription "For Andy, with enduring affection, Jackie Montauk." Sounds like the former First Lady knew how to have a little fun with her image.

BONUS FACT:

One bonus fact we've mentioned before: Jackie O. was the editor of Michael Jackson's autobiography, Moonwalk.

This story has been updated for 2019.

5 Weird American Cemetery Legends

iStock/grandriver
iStock/grandriver

These strange, spooky cemetery tales of vampires, ghosts, and bloody headstones will keep you up at night. (If you're not too scared, add them to your next cemetery road trip, and keep this guide of common cemetery symbols handy for when you visit.)

1. The Vampire of Lafayette Cemetery

Perhaps it's not surprising that a grave with "born in Transylvania" etched on it would invite vampire comparisons. Local legends say that a tree growing over this grave in Lafayette, Colorado, sprung from the stake that killed the vampire inside, and that the red rosebushes nearby are his bloody fingernails. There are also reports of a tall, slender man in a dark coat with black hair and long nails who sometimes sits on the tombstone. It's not clear what the man who bought the plot—Fodor Glava, a miner who died in 1918—would have thought of all these stories, especially since he might not have actually been buried there.

2. The Green Glow of Forest Park Cemetery

The abandoned Forest Park Cemetery (also known as Pinewoods Cemetery) near Troy, New York, is known for several urban legends. One of the strangest concerns local taxi drivers, who say they pick up fares nearby asking to go home, only to have the passenger mysteriously vanish when they drive by the cemetery. Others tell of a decapitated angel statue that bleeds from its neck—although the effect may be attributed to a certain kind of moss. But one of the eeriest parts of the grounds is a dilapidated mausoleum said to be home to a green, glowing light often seen right where the coffins used to be located.

3. The New Orleans Tomb That Grants Wishes

Famed "Voodoo Queen" Marie Laveau is buried in arguably the oldest and most famous cemetery in New Orleans, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. (Or said to be, anyway—some dispute surrounds her actual burial spot.) For years, visitors hoping to earn Marie's supernatural assistance would mark three large Xs on her mausoleum; some also knocked three times on her crypt. However, a 2014 restoration of her tomb removed the Xs, and there's a substantial fine now in place for anyone who dares write on her tomb.

4. Pennsylvania's Bleeding Headstone

The Union Cemetery in Millheim has one of the nation's weirder headstones: It's said to bleed. The grave belongs to 19th-century local William (or Daniel) Musser, whose descendants tried to replace the tombstone repeatedly, but the blood (or something that looked like blood) just kept coming back—until they added an iron plate on top.

5. Smiley's Ghost in Garland, Texas

A single plot in the Mills Cemetery is home to five members of the Smiley family, who all died on the same day. Rumor has it that if you lie down on the grave at midnight (especially on Halloween), you'll find it very difficult to rise back up, as the ghost of old man Smiley tries to pull you down, hoping to add one more member to the family's eternal resting place.

8 Fun Facts About Muppet Babies

The Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company

Before prequels were a thing, Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies imagined a world in which the felt-covered characters of Henson’s Muppets franchise—Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, and Fozzie Bear among them—met up as children in a nursery. Left to their own devices, the animated cast led a rich fantasy life while in diapers. For more on this 1984-1991 show, including why it’s so hard to find anywhere except YouTube, keep reading.

1. Frank Oz didn’t really want Muppet Babies.

The idea to infantilize the Muppets came from Michael Frith, a longtime collaborator of Jim Henson’s, in the early 1980s. Frith believed that regressing the characters could allow them to impart moral or educational messages to children already familiar with them. But Frank Oz, a Muppets performer (Miss Piggy) and film director, argued that the Muppets needed to maintain their subversive edge. It was Henson who found a compromise, suggesting that younger versions of the characters appear in a dream sequence for 1984’s feature film The Muppets Take Manhattan. The response to the scene was overwhelmingly positive, and Henson soon teamed with Marvel Productions and CBS for an animated series that began airing in September 1984.

2. Skeeter was the result of a gender imbalance on Muppet Babies.

Most of the principal Muppet Babies cast was made up of recognizable characters, including Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Rowlf, Gonzo, Animal, Bunsen, and Scooter. But Frith, Henson, and producers Bob Richardson and Hank Saroyan decided that the babies were skewing a little too male. Aside from Piggy and their caretaker, Nanny, there were no female characters. To balance the scales, they introduced Skeeter, Scooter’s twin sister, a brainy problem-solver.

Skeeter has made only fleeting and sporadic appearances in the Muppet franchise since, leading to speculation she might be caught up in rights issues between CBS and the Jim Henson Company, which was purchased by Disney in 2004. Fortunately, the somewhat murky situation appears to be at least partially resolved: It was recently reported Skeeter will resurface in the new computer-animated iteration of Muppet Babies, which is currently airing its second season on Disney Junior and has been renewed for a third season.

3. One of the major creative forces behind Muppet Babies was Moe Howard’s grandson.

In 1985, Muppet Babies writer Jeffrey Scott received a Humanitas Prize from the Human Family Educational and Cultural Institute for an episode of the series which the Institute declared did the best job of any kid’s show that year to “enrich the viewing public.” The episode centered on the group fearing one of them might be sent away. The prolific Scott actually wrote all 13 episodes of the first season. His father, Norman Maurer, worked at Hanna-Barbera Productions and got Scott’s foot in the door. His grandfather was Moe Howard, founder and head Stooge of The Three Stooges fame.

4. The Muppet Babies live-action segments were a result of budgetary constraints.

A hallmark of Muppet Babies is when the cast finds themselves thrust into scenes from famous films, a Walter Mitty-esque bit of fantasy fulfillment that blends live-action sequences with animation. According to Frith, devoting a portion of each episode to clips wasn’t entirely a creative choice. By inserting clips, producers could save money on animation. It was also easy for Henson to secure the rights to popular films like Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark because he was friends with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. While some believe those clips are the reason the show isn’t available to stream—sifting through the legal entanglement of reairing the segments might prove costly—that’s never been confirmed.

5. Muppet Babies never explained what the Muppets were doing in that nursery.

Given time to reflect, it seems odd that the Muppet cast would find themselves in a nursery without being supervised by their own parents. Speaking with the Detroit Free Press in 1987, Michael Frith said that the situation was purposely left vague. “I really appreciate the fact that they don’t [ask],” Frith said of his kid viewers. “Is this a day care center? Is this a foster child home? The more we talked about it, the more we felt it should just exist. The kids accept it.”

6. The voice recording sessions of Muppet Babies included copious farting.

Speaking with CNN in 2011, actor Dave Coulier (Full House) recalled that recording sessions for Muppet Babies sometimes involved flatulence. Coulier, who portrayed Animal and Bunsen, among others, said that “lots of fart humor” punctuated the recording studio. “In one scene, Fozzie [played by Greg Berg] and Animal had to climb a ladder,” he said. “As Animal was pushing Fozzie up the ladder, they were making [grunting] sounds. In mid-scene, Greg Berg farted. I looked at [actor] Frank Welker and we couldn’t contain ourselves. Uncontrollable laughter ensued. I was literally on the floor of the studio laughing.”

7. There was an offshoot of Muppet Babies called Muppet Monsters—and it never aired in full.

Following the success of Muppet Babies, CBS and Jim Henson decided to expand on the Muppets' potential as Saturday morning stars by creating a 90-minute block in 1985 titled Muppets, Babies, and Monsters. (Muppet Babies often aired consecutive half-hour installments for an hour total.) In addition to regular Muppet Babies episodes, the program featured another half-hour of Little Muppet Monsters, which featured puppets of new Muppet monster characters named Tug, Molly, and Boo. The three appeared in a framing device that introduced animated segments of adult Muppets. Only three episodes aired out of 15 produced, reportedly due to both Henson and CBS being unhappy with the finished product and Muppet Babies standing strongly on its own. The remaining episodes have yet to see the light of day.

8. Muppet Babies was turned into a live stage show.

To further incite their juvenile audience and monetize their popularity, the Muppet Babies franchise eventually wound up live and on stage. Muppet Babies Live! debuted in 1986 and featured performers in oversized costumes dancing and acting to a prerecorded track. In one skit, the cast appeared in a Snow White homage. In another, Rowlf became Rowlfgang Amagodus Mozart and played the piano. The arena show toured the country. Hank Saroyan, one of the animated show’s producers, wrote the stage show. The performer for Baby Piggy, Elizabeth Figols, also appeared in a live production of Dirty Dancing. The show ran through 1990.

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