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  Reputed JFK Mistress Exner Dies

The Associated Press
Sunday, Sept. 26, 1999; 10:45 a.m. EDT

DUARTE, Calif. –– Judith Campbell Exner, a reputed mistress of John F. Kennedy who claimed to have ferried messages between the president and Mafia boss Sam Giancana, has died of breast cancer. She was 65.

Exner died Friday night at the City of Hope Cancer Center, hospital officials said. She had suffered from the illness since 1978, according to her attorney, James Lesar of Washington, D.C.

Exner made waves in 1977 with her autobiography, "My Story," that included a description of her alleged affair with Kennedy.

In a 1996 issue of Vanity Fair, Ms. Exner said she ended a two-year affair because she hated being "the other woman," and also claimed that she aborted Kennedy's child 10 months before he was assassinated.

She also claimed that during Kennedy's presidency she was Giancana's lover and carried messages between the president and the Chicago mob boss, including details of a plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Some have doubted that story, including Giancana's daughter, Antoinette, who has said her father had "utter contempt" for Kennedy and never mentioned any contact with the president during his time in the White House.

In a 1975 appearance before the U.S. Senate intelligence committee, Exner said she had an 18-month affair with Kennedy before and after he entered the White House, and that she later had an affair with Giancana.

But she said she knew of no ties between the two.

Lesar, in a statement, said Exner lied because she feared she would be killed, as Giancana had been months earlier.

Exner was born Judith Katherine Inmoor on January 11, 1934 in New York but grew up primarily in the Los Angeles, her attorney said.

At 18, she married actor William Campbell and moved with him in entertainment circles. After their 1958 divorce, she briefly dated singer Frank Sinatra, Lesar said.

At a 1960 Las Vegas performance of Sinatra and other members of the famous "Rat Pack," Sinatra introduced her to Kennedy, who was in town on a presidential campaign swing, Lesar said.

© Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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