Wednesday, November 13, 1963
November 13, 1963
JFK had dinner at the White House.
Guests included former JFK girlfriend Helen Chavchavadze, old friend Lem Billings, Greta Garbo and her best friend dress designer Valentina Schlee and her husband Georges Schlee, who was also Garbo’s lover.
Lem Billings and Greta Garbo were acquaintences, having met at La Fiorentina, the Riviera home of philanthropist Mary Lasker.
Some in Kennedy’s circle felt that Jackie was trying to ease Lem out of the inner ring and invitations to the White House had been scarce that autumn. So, Billings, who had previously boasted to Kennedy of blithe and enchanting encounters with Garbo was understandably excited to be invited.
However, JFK used the occasion to bewilder and embarrass his lifelong devoted friend by asking Garbo just before Billings arrived to take part in a ruse. She was to pretend that she did not recognize him and had never met Billings when he greeted her.
Upon entering the dining room with Jackie, Garbo played the part as befitting the legendary actress she was. Kennedy was delighted and amused with prank and Billings discomfort, cruelly keeping it going until the second course.
It was the last time Billings saw Kennedy alive.