Frank Sinatra, the Mob and the Kennedy Clan (part 1)
The Kennedy family had long-standing links with show business. Joe Kennedy, bootlegger-turned-ambassador, had been a business partner of RKO film studios in the 1940s and the actress Gloria Swanson had been his mistress. When Joe's daughter Pat married Peter Lawford in 1954 and moved into the former house of Louis B. Mayer, JFK -always attracted to Hollywood- spent much time socializing in California, got to know Lawford's circle and became particularly friendly with Sinatra. JFK loved hearing the gossip about sex in Tinseltown and was fascinated by Sinatra's swinging lifestyle.
When JFK, a Catholic, was seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 1960, Joe Kennedy approached Sinatra to ask Sam Giancana to help swing a primary in anti-Catholic West Virginia. Giancana agreed, as a favour to Sinatra, undoubtedly imagining that a candidate he had helped to secure power would be useful, or at least able to reduce the FBI surveillance that he had to endure. Funds were dispersed, bribes were accepted, and Kennedy won the primary and then the presidency.
Outside the political arena, JFK was introduced to many girls by Sinatra -often his former lovers, including the most glamorous and vulnerable movie star of all, Marilyn Monroe, who became his mistress. As in thrall to his gangster buddies as he was to politicians, Sinatra sometimes introduced the same girls to Sam Giancana, including a 25-year-old starlet, Judith Campbell. During one brief period in history, Campbell was probably mistress to both the leader of the Mob in Chicago and the President of the United States.
And at the centre of this tangled web of corruption and power was the skinny crooner from Hoboken.