We all think we know what Jackie Kennedy was like. She was refined, beautiful, and stylish, and she dealt with her husband’s passing with grace and decorum. That’s what the history books tell us, anyway. But there’s one man still out there who knew her better than many, and that’s because he worked alongside her for years. His name is Clint Hill, and he’s happy to tell the world how Jackie behaved behind closed doors.

Who Is Hill?

Hill was Jackie’s bodyguard, the man whose job it was to be at her side constantly and protect her from harm. He certainly had the chops to look after a first lady. Hill had spent the 50s protecting President Eisenhower and traveling the world as part of his team. And while he’s an old man now, his memory of those days is still sharp.

The Initial Letdown

At first, though, Hill’s new job was a bit of a letdown. “I got the word… that I was to go back to Washington for a new assignment. After an intensive interview, they advised me I was going to be assigned to Mrs. Kennedy. I was very disappointed,” he said to North Dakota Living magazine in 2013.

Protecting The First Lady

Keeping the first lady safe seemed so far away from the excitement of protecting the president. “I had seen what life was like for the agents assigned to Mrs. Eisenhower, Mrs. Truman, and other first ladies. It meant they were going to tea parties and fashion shows,” Hill told the magazine. At that time, though, he didn’t realize what he’d find out about Jackie.

Not What He Expected

Straight away, Hill had assumed that the assignment would mean “a very dull, boring life, and [he] didn’t want any part of it.” But, of course, he was very wrong. He remembered, “As it turned out, it was the best assignment anyone could have ever had, because [Jackie] was so happy and we did so many different things.” Then again, Jackie wasn’t your average first lady.

High Ambitions

Before Jackie even married her famous husband, she had been noted for her wit, intelligence, style, and beauty. She was ambitious, too. When she’d graduated high school in 1947, she’d had to explain in the yearbook what her life goal was. Hers was “not to be a housewife.”

Revolutionizing The Role

And as soon as she was able, Jackie set about revolutionizing the role of the president’s wife. She was determined to make her mark, and one of the first things she set in motion was a massive project to restore the White House to its former glory. Its historical importance had been forgotten over the years, she thought. It may not have been Hill’s choice, but Jackie knew what she was doing.

Everything For A Reason

In a 1961 interview with Life magazine, Jackie lamented the fact that visitors to the White House saw “practically nothing that dates back before 1948.” She went on to insist, “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.” Strong words indeed!

Preservation Committee

And Jackie’s project succeeded. She started a committee dedicated to preserving historical White House artifacts and had some of the most important pieces restored and put on display. She also worked in the Oval Office. Yes, she’s a big part of the reason why it looks as grand as it does today.

Preservation Issues

But arguably Jackie’s main role during her time in the White House was that of preservationist. She was also involved in preservation issues overseas – something that only enhanced America’s standing in the world. And she earned an honorary Emmy Award for hosting a TV special about the restored White House. All the while, Hill got to know the first lady.

Not Interested In Politics

And Hill found out that Jackie was not particularly interested in politics. She didn’t even tend to accompany her husband when he made public appearances. Instead, according to the Secret Service agent, she was utterly devoted to raising her young children.

Not Spoiling The Little Ones

“[Jackie] was a very dedicated, devoted mother,” Hill told North Dakota Living. “She wanted her two children, Caroline and John, to grow up as unspoiled as possible. I always said that was not possible since they were the children of a president. But she tried in every way to make sure that they didn’t become spoiled.” The Secret Service agents had to play a role in this, too.

Letting Them Learn

Hill remembered, “[Jackie] made sure that the agents who were around her didn’t help the children get up if they fell. If they had a problem like that, that was something they had to handle themselves. We wanted to keep them safe, but she asked us to allow them as much natural growth as children as possible.” And he admired Jackie for another reason as well.

Drawing The Crowds

Hill explained that whenever he and Jackie went overseas, “Mrs. Kennedy would attract large crowds. The president would draw 50,000 people to an event. But, when she was with him, the crowd would be 100,000 – it would double.” He considered Jackie’s star factor “a definite diplomatic asset for the United States.” And he has strong opinions on the way the first lady has been portrayed on screen.

Nikita Khrushchev “beguiled” by Jackie

In 1961, Hill accompanied Jackie to a summit of world leaders in Vienna, where the First Lady met then-premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev. According to Hill, the Soviet leader was “beguiled” by Jackie, despite the fact that the First Lady spoke no Russian whatsoever.

Played By Hollywood

Jackie’s life has practically been like catnip to Hollywood. The story of her time in the White House and its infamously tragic end has often been played out on screen, while Katie Holmes, Jacqueline Bisset, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Natalie Portman have all portrayed the woman herself.

Portman’s Jackie

Of all those performances, Portman’s is probably the best known. She took the starring role in 2016’s Jackie, and she earned her second Academy Award nomination for playing the grieving Mrs. Kennedy.

Somewhat Freeing

And in 2017 Portman talked with The Hollywood Reporter about the difficulties of playing a famous historical figure. She said, “It’s different if they’re still alive. Then you have this responsibility to them. So maybe it was freeing, in a way, knowing that she wasn’t going to watch it, you know?” There was one guy who did watch it, though, and he wasn’t all that pleased.

Did Not Capture The Essence

We’re talking about Hill, of course. And he didn’t feel like the movie captured Jackie Kennedy’s real self. He was, after all, a witness to many of the events the movie depicted, and according to him, the filmmakers had stretched the truth a lot.

Clouding The Truth In Smoke

In 2017 Hill said to the newspaper, “I walked away shaking my head because of the inaccuracies in the film. They made [Jackie] seem like she was a chain smoker when she was not. She did smoke, but it wasn’t continuous. They invented that she drank heavily, and she did not.”

Inventing Scenes

Hill was angry that the filmmakers had invented some scenes, too. “They had her coming to me and asking me a question about the assassination, and she asked me what caliber gun it was. That never happened,” he said. Unsurprisingly, he still vividly remembers all the details of that tragic day.

But Still Impressed

Hill’s issue wasn’t with Portman’s actual performance, though. The former agent told The Hollywood Reporter, “She did a remarkable job, especially in her speaking. I know that it had to have been very difficult, and she must have worked very hard. It would be great if she could win the Oscar.” In the event, Portman missed out, with Emma Stone scooping the gong for La La Land. Hill may have been disappointed about this, but he was even more upset by another aspect of the movie.

Hill In Jackie

Actor David Caves plays Hill in Jackie, but he doesn’t get a lot of screen time. Hill expressed frustration about that in the interview, saying “From the time the assassination occurred through to the funeral, I was with [Jackie] every waking moment.” He also claimed that writer Noah Oppenheim hadn’t consulted him about the movie’s screenplay. So what was the truth?

Putting his life on the line

Hill’s concerns that guarding the First Lady wouldn’t involve any action proved to be tragically unfounded. On November 22nd, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by US Marine veteran Lee Harvey Oswald while riding in an open-topped motorcade. Immediately after the shooting, Hill leapt into the back of the limo, using his body to physically shield Jackie and her children.

The gruesome aftermath

Hill has spoken of the moments immediately following the assassination on numerous occasions. In one interview, he described seeing Jackie’s eyes “wide with terror” after he leapt into the back of the limo. When Jackie climbed onto the back of the car, Hill recalls realizing, “Good God, she’s reaching for a piece of her husband’s head.”

Heroism on camera

The events of the assassination, including Hill’s heroic efforts to protect the lives of Jackie and her children, were captured by Abraham Zapruder on a Bell & Howey home video camera. The footage – which is known as the Zapruder film – provides the clearest view of the entire incident, and it was used in the subsequent Warren Commission hearings.

Jackie tried to hide JFK’s wounds

According to Hill, Jackie clung tightly to her husband’s lifeless body from the moments after the shooting until they reached the hospital, some half an hour later. While it was clearly apparent that the president was dead, Hill says that he instinctively understood that Jackie didn’t want anyone to see the extend of her husband’s wounds.

A lock of hair

In the days following the assassination, Hill resolutely stayed by Jackie’s side, helping her with matters both practical and emotional. Hill later recalled that one of her requests was for a pair of scissors, which the First Lady used to cut a lock of her husband’s hair while he lay in his coffin.

Jackie wouldn’t leave without JFK’s body

Credit: Hulton Archive / Stringer via Getty

Once John F. Kennedy had been declared dead, plans were made for Lyndon B. Johnson to return to Washington, accompanied by Jackie. The First Lady, however, wouldn’t leave without her husband’s body, which was loaded into a casket and transported to Air Force One – against the wishes of a the Dallas medical examiner, who wanted to perform an autopsy.

The inauguration

Credit: Keystone / Staff via Getty

Before departing in Air Force One from Dallas Love Field, Lyndon B. Johnson was inaugurated as the 36th president of the United States. A haunting photo captures the somber atmosphere of the moment, with Jackie Kennedy – still visibly in shock and stricken with grief – standing next to Johnson as he is sworn in.


Hill said of Jackie, “I was her confidant. We were very, very close. She and I had a wonderful relationship, very professional. We discussed many things. When she went to Italy in 1962, she didn’t take any staff with her except for her assistant, her maid, and me. I ended up being her social secretary, her press secretary, her ambassador.”

Writing About Her

And though many years have passed since Jackie’s death, Hill continues to write about her, the relationship they shared, and life at the White House when the Kennedys were there. His books include Five Days in November and Mrs. Kennedy and Me. He also talks in interviews about the woman he saw when the cameras were off.

Barbie Doll

When asked to describe his former friend, Hill told North Dakota Living, “Most people saw Mrs. Kennedy as a Barbie doll sitting on a pedestal. That’s not who she was. She was down-to-earth – a very elegant and classy lady, but she had a very bawdy sense of humor.”


The first lady had plenty of hobbies outside of her restoration work, too. Hill remembered her as “very active and athletic,” adding, “She loved to ride horses and was an excellent horsewoman. She loved to water-ski, loved to play golf, loved to play tennis, and walk. It kept me on my toes.” We bet.

The Clint

And while protecting Jackie, Hill may have even invented a new cocktail along the way. The “Clint” – a double Campari, a single vodka, soda, ice, and an orange slice – was created by Hill himself in 1962 when he accompanied the first lady on vacation on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

The Day Of Death

Hill has an Instagram account too, and he often shares stories about Jackie on there. In May 2019, for example, he made a post marking the 25th anniversary of Jackie’s death from cancer. Sadly, his mother had passed away on the same date 20 years before Jackie, so the day held a lot of significance for him.

All Around The World

On that landmark date, Hill wrote on Instagram, “I was fortunate to know Mrs. Kennedy on a personal level, and I have fond memories of our time together in India, Pakistan, Morocco, Italy, and France, as well as Palm Beach, Hyannis Port, and Middleburg, VA. I can still see the joy on her face as she rode her favorite horse across the Virginia countryside.”

The Woman The Public Did Not See

“Yes, she had the grace, dignity, and style that people still write about to this day, but to me, she will always be that woman the public didn’t see,” Hill added. “We went through so much together, Mrs. Kennedy and me. More than anyone can imagine. More than anyone can ever know.” But there’s one intriguing period of Jackie’s life that Hill wasn’t there for. We’re talking about her time on the island of Skorpios with Aristotle Onassis.


Situated on the Ionian Sea, Skorpios is one of the Greek Islands. It lies to the west of the mainland and east of Lefkada island. And while the private retreat is unusual in its shape, it roughly covers an area of 3,280 feet by 4,921 feet. Today, it boasts sandy beaches and thick forests. This, however, wasn’t always the case.

Aristotle’s Retreat

That’s because Skorpios was largely barren when Aristotle “Ari” Onassis purchased it as a private retreat back in 1962. The Greek shipping tycoon bought the land for 3.5 million drachmas, which is the equivalent of around $12,000 in today’s money. And Ari soon set about transforming the arid island into an inviting idyll.

A Tranquil Retreat

To create a tranquil retreat, then, Ari imported more than 200 types of trees to Skorpios. He then established great forests running the whole length of the island to make for a leafy landscape. And alongside helping to create widespread woodlands, he also made East Beach with sand taken from Greece’s Salamis Island.

The Wedding

So in Ari, Jackie seemingly found love and some semblance of security, and the couple married in October 1968. At the time of their wedding, the shipping magnate was 23 years older than his new bride. Yet despite Ari also being one of the wealthiest men on the planet, his nuptials with the former first lady were surprisingly intimate.

Greek Orthodox Service

The couple married in a traditional Greek Orthodox service. Jackie’s children – Caroline and John Jr. – were both involved in the celebration, as was Lee Radziwill, the bride’s sister. The nuptials were also attended by approximately 40 guests who were largely family members and close friends of the pair.


And following the couple’s wedding on Skorpios, they and their guests boarded the businessman’s super yacht Christina for the reception. The island would therefore remain a special part of the pair’s lives and formed one of their six residences. Aside from the private island, you see, the newlyweds owned homes in Paris, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Athens — and they also lived on board the Christina.

Lack Of Privacy

So thanks to the couple, Skorpios became one of the best-known private islands on the planet. The retreat’s fame, however, came at a cost to the pair’s privacy. In 1971, Jackie was snapped sunbathing naked on one of the island’s beaches. The photographs were subsequently published in Italy in 1972, provoking outrage in the States.

The Pictures

It turned out that Settimio Garritano had taken the revealing nude photographs of Jackie. The Italian paparazzo had managed to gain access to Skorpios by pretending to be a gardener. And after learning that the former first lady sometimes sunbathed naked, he took a boat to her preferred spot and hid the vessel behind some undergrowth.

Hiding Out There

From Garritano’s concealed position, then, he leered on as Jackie undressed until she was completely nude. In 2009 the photographer confessed that he’d struggled to believe the rumors about her habits at first. He told The Telegraph, “It didn’t seem possible.”

A Matter Of Moments

But as Garritano had peeked out from behind the undergrowth, he had seen Jackie laid bare with his own two eyes. He later revealed, “Suddenly, she appeared and wandered around the patio area. I concentrated on just taking the pictures, not composing them. It was a matter of moments, not even minutes.”

Struggling To Sell

At first, though, Garritano had struggled to sell the nude images that he’d captured of Jackie. That’s because several editors had simply refused to print them. However, the snaps then appeared in a 1972 edition of the Italian magazine Playmen. And while the decision to print the pictures caused a stir in the former first lady’s native U.S., her husband seemed unconcerned by the uproar.

Published In Hustler

Following the furor that the naked photographs created, you see, Ari reportedly said, “Sometimes I take my clothes off to put on a bathing suit. So does my wife.” The images were eventually published by the American magazine Hustler in 1975 too. That edition consequently became the publication’s all-time best-seller.

Kennedy Curse

Jackie has been accused of transferring the so-called “Kennedy Curse” to the Onassis family by marrying the shipping magnate. Ari’s daughter, Christina, certainly believed that her father’s new wife had brought them bad luck. And her suspicions surrounding the former first lady must only have been intensified when her mother died in 1974 following an alleged drug overdose.

Bringing The Curse

The Onassises’ string of bad luck continued when the family’s business empire ran into difficulties too. And at the same time, Ari’s health continued to fail. Soon, he too reportedly came to believe that Jackie had brought the Kennedy curse to his family. And as a result, the businessman looked into divorcing his wife. He also changed his will to reduce the payout she’d receive after his death.

The Sole Heir

So when Ari died in Paris in March 1975, Christina was named as his sole heir. However, Jackie contested her late husband’s will, and – after a couple of years of negotiations – she accepted a $26 million settlement from her estranged stepdaughter. Meanwhile, the shipping magnate was laid to rest on his beloved Skorpios — where his son also lies.

Tragedy Strikes Again

Sadly, the misfortunes that the Onassis family experienced didn’t end with Ari’s death and Jackie’s subsequent estrangement. Tragedy struck again in 1988 when cardiac arrest claimed Christina’s life at just 37 years old. The former first lady herself also died at the relatively young age of 64. This was in 1994 after she’d contracted Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer.

Buried Together

Following Christina’s death, though, she was buried alongside her father and brother on Skorpios. The island and the rest of Christina’s share in the Onassis assets then passed to her only child, Athina Onassis Roussel. Athina subsequently became one of the world’s richest women. However, the heiress rarely frequented Skorpios. She moved to Sao Paulo after marrying the Brazilian showjumper Àlvaro de Miranda Neto.

Jackie went back to work

Credit: Reg Lancaster / Stringer via Getty

Despite the reported $26 million Jackie received from her settlement with Christina Onassis, the former First Lady eschewed a life of leisure and went back to work. As well as working as a book editor for Viking Press and Doubleday, Jackie continued her historic preservation efforts, campaigning to save Grand Central Terminal from destruction.

A final romance

In the early 80s, Jackie began a romantic relationship with Maurice Tempelsman, a Belgian-American diamond merchant and longtime friend. In 1993, the couple hosted President Clinton at Jackie’s home in Martha’s Vineyard. A year later, the former First-Lady received a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which would prove fatal.

Selling The Island

Given that Athina Onassis seemingly had little interest in Skorpios, the private island reportedly caught the attention of Giorgio Armani and Bill Gates. It’s rumored that both men even expressed an interest in buying the retreat at one time or another. However, Athina eventually sold the idyll to Russian heiress Ekaterina Rybolovleva in 2013.

The Deal

Ekaterina is the daughter of billionaire businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev. She was, in fact, just 24 when she acquired a long-term lease of Skorpios, and the deal struck between the two women was reportedly worth $150 million. However, it was not immediately clear what the heiress would do with the island.

Making It Private

Yet one of Ekaterina’s first moves after acquiring Skorpios was to prevent tourists from coming to the private island. Visitors had previously been permitted, you see, although their access was confined to a couple of the retreat’s small coves. Under the new owner’s tenure, however, it seemed that outsiders would not be tolerated at all.

Team Of Bodyguards

To ensure that no one could access Skorpios, Ekaterina employed a specialist team of bodyguards from the United States and France to patrol the island around the clock. They also apparently use advanced surveillance equipment. The heiress reportedly wanted to enlist a team of frogmen to guard the waters surrounding the retreat as well.

Deterring The People

Yet it’s believed that those strict security measures were put into effect on Skorpios without permission from the Greek police. But in any case, they seemingly worked in deterring people from visiting the private island. In the years following Ekaterina’s purchase, mind you, several ghost stories have emerged from the tightly guarded retreat.

Unexplained Sightings

Following the sale of Skorpios, for example, several unexplained sightings were reported on the island. And they involved a silhouette of a man who looked like Ari. This led to a spine-tingling tale. In his will, people said, the shipping magnate stated that the retreat must remain in the Onassis family. And so it was rumored that the businessman had started haunting his former home — maybe as a direct result of Ekaterina’s purchase.

As Reported By A Guard

Two such sightings were, in fact, apparently reported by a security guard who worked for Dmitry Rybolovlev. The unnamed man allegedly told Greece’s Espresso newspaper that he first came across the strange shadow while patrolling Skorpios in 2016. The figure had seemingly worn a black suit and held a cigar in one hand.

Flickering Lights

The security guard reportedly said he had not seen the man before and had tried to approach him. But as he walked towards the silhouette, he said, the shadow vanished into thin air. While on another occasion, the same man had allegedly noticed flickering lights inside one of Skorpios’ villas. But there had been no one in the residence, he seemingly said. And in an even spookier development, an electrician supposedly later confirmed that there had been no issue with the building’s power supply.

Spotting The Late Former Owner

So, following these two unsettling experiences, the alleged security guard in question realized that the man he’d spotted resembled the island’s late former owner. The incident had reportedly scared him so much that he quit his job and never returned to Skorpios. Others who’ve frequented the island can also attest to a strange presence at the location.

Dressed In Black

For instance, another person who believed they’d seen Ari’s ghost on Skorpios was a fisherman from the nearby island of Lefkada. Speaking to Keep Talking Greece, he revealed that he’d seen a figure dressed in black approaching one of the villas. At first, he said, he’d believed his eyes had deceived him. But after hearing about the security guard’s spooky experiences, the angler then became convinced that he’d encountered the island’s former owner.

Ari’s Ghost

The rumored sightings of Ari’s ghost on Skorpios hit headlines in Greece in May 2018. Of course, there’s no way of knowing if the shipping tycoon is indeed haunting the private island. Given the wishes that he outlined in his will, however, there’s a chance that he wouldn’t have been happy about the new owner’s plans for Skorpios — which emerged in September 2018.

Luxury Resort

For it was around then that Sergei Tsernitsin, a representative of Dmitry Rybolovlev, thanked the Ionian Island Regional governor, Theodoros Galiatsatos, for helping a proposed development on Skorpios. Yes, Dmitry is reportedly planning to build a luxury resort on the island. This would consist of at least 12 villas and several restaurants and spas as well as a marina.

Only Resort In Greece

The project proposed by the Rybolovlev family would be the only luxury resort in Greece. It would also become the latest in a select number of destinations situated on private islands. As an official EU Natura site, however, Skorpios is protected. This means that buildings can only be erected on five percent of their acreage. Ari’s legacy on the retreat, then, shouldn’t be threatened after all.

Famous architects

When it comes to turning Skorpios into a luxury haven for the ultra-wealthy, Rybolovlev is certainly sparing no expense. The billionaire has enlisted the services of Snøhetta, a Norwegian architectural firm whose previous work includes designing Egypt’s new Library of Alexandria, Oslo Opera House (pictured) and Europe’s first underwater restaurant. While Snøhetta’s fee hasn’t been disclosed, you can bet it’s eye watering.