Pamela Harrison Turnure Timmins (born 1937) was the Press Secretary to Jacqueline Kennedy; the first Press Secretary hired to serve a First Lady of the United States. Turnure reportedly had an extramarital affair with 35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy.
Early life and education
Born in New York City, Turnure attended Georgetown University.
Turnure worked for then-United States Senator John F. Kennedy as a receptionist and secretary in his Senate office from 1958 until his election in 1960. Turnure then was hired as the first Press Secretary to a First Lady in United States history, working under Jacqueline Kennedy.
In her role as press secretary, Turnure was frequently present at diplomatic receptions and to receive foreign dignitaries. Turnure also helped to coordinate Ms. Kennedy's nationally televised White House tour and historical preservation efforts.
Turnure was aboard Air Force One at Love Field Airport as Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office two hours and eight minutes after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Shortly after the assassination took place, Vice President Johnson kissed Turnure on the hand.
After the assassination events and funeral, Turnure left for New York and worked on President Kennedy's administrative papers, a project that was funded by Aristotle Onassis. Turnure also served for a period as the manager of Mrs. Kennedy Onassis' private office and was present at her funeral.
After working for the Kennedy family, Turnure was an interior designer in the Manhattan area.
Alleged affair with Kennedy
In The Dark Side of Camelot published in 1997, Author Seymour Hersh alleged that Kennedy had an extramarital affair with Turnure in 1958 when she was working in his Senate office. In 1958, Turnure's landlady Florence Kater took a photograph of the Senator leaving Turnure's apartment in the middle of the night, a photograph that Kater tried repeatedly to bring to public attention to ruin the senator's presidential campaign. The Katers rigged up a tape recorder to pick up the sounds of the couple's lovemaking and snapped a picture of Kennedy himself.
The Katers sent this information to newspapers and one company, Stearn Publications, passed it along to J. Edgar Hoover. Soon after, Hoover "quietly obtained a copy of the compromising sex tapes and offered them to Lyndon Johnson as campaign ammunition." Johnson "had been using all the information Hoover could find on Kennedy - during the campaign, even before the Convention. And Hoover was in on the pressure on Kennedy at the Convention." A few days after the offer was made, Pierre Salinger, the campaign's press secretary, had asked Kennedy whether he really expected Johnson to accept the offer or if he was merely making a polite gesture. Kennedy responded cryptically: "The whole story will never be known. And it's just as well that it won't be." "The only people who were involved in the discussions were Jack and myself," said Robert F. Kennedy. "We both promised each other that we'd never tell what happened."
Turnure was the daughter of Louise Gwynn and Lawrence Turnure, a New York banker. Her stepfather was Frederic Drake, who was publisher of Harper's Bazaar and Vice President of Hearst Communications.
Turnure previously dated Prince Aly Khan. Turnure was married to New York investment banker Robert N. Timmins and resided in Manhattan. Jacqueline Kennedy attended the wedding and threw a private reception for the couple at her Fifth Avenue apartment.
Turnure now resides in Edwards, Colorado.
In popular culture
In the 2016 film Jackie, Turnure was portrayed by Hélène Kuhn.