|United States Senator
August 4, 1964 – December 31, 1964
|Appointed by||Pat Brown|
|Preceded by||Clair Engle|
|Succeeded by||George Murphy|
|11th White House Press Secretary|
January 20, 1961 – March 19, 1964
|President||John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
|Preceded by||James Hagerty|
|Succeeded by||George Reedy|
|Born||Pierre Emil George Salinger
June 14, 1925
San Francisco, California
|Died||October 16, 2004 (aged 79)
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Renee Laboure, Nancy Joy, Nicole Gillman, Nicole De Menthon|
|Alma mater||University of San Francisco|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Pierre Emil George Salinger (June 14, 1925 – October 16, 2004) was a White House Press Secretary to U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He later became known for his work as an ABC News correspondent, and in particular for his stories on the American hostage crisis in Iran, the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland, and his claims as to the cause of the explosion of TWA flight 800.
Salinger was born in San Francisco, California. His father, Herbert Salinger, was a New York City-born mining engineer, and his mother, Jehanne (née Biétry), was a French-born journalist. His maternal grandfather, Pierre Biétry, was a member of the French National Assembly and devised Yellow socialism. Salinger was raised in his mother's Catholic religion (his father was Jewish). Salinger attended public magnet Lowell High School. After serving with the United States Navy to Lieutenant, junior grade during World War II, Salinger earned a B.S. from the University of San Francisco in 1947. Salinger then began his journalism career as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and as a contributing Editor to Collier's in the 1940s and 1950s.
1960s: The Kennedy years, Presidential Press Secretary, U.S. Senator
In 1961, when John F. Kennedy became President of the United States, he hired Salinger as his press secretary. When JFK was assassinated, Salinger was on a plane flying with six Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, going to Tokyo. Salinger's visit was to have been for an economic conference, and to start working on a visit JFK was going to take in February 1964 as the first American president to visit Japan since World War II. Salinger was retained by President Lyndon Johnson as Press Secretary after JFK's death.
Following his service in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Salinger returned to California and ran for the Senate. He defeated then California State Controller Alan Cranston in a contentious Democratic Primary. Governor of California Pat Brown, who had supported Cranston in the Primary, appointed Salinger a Democratic United States Senator to fill the vacancy resulting from the July 30, 1964 death of retiring Senator Clair Engle; he took office on August 4, 1964. In his bid for a full six-year term in the 1964 election, he was defeated by former actor George Murphy following a campaign in which Salinger's only recent return to his native state became an issue, his legal residency even being challenged in court. Salinger was also hurt at the polls by his adamant support (despite advice from his political managers) of legislation banning racial housing discrimination.
Salinger resigned from the Senate on December 31, 1964, only three days before his term was to expire. Senator-elect Murphy, who was to take office on January 3, 1965, was appointed to fill the remaining two days of Salinger's term, giving Murphy a slight advantage in seniority in the Senate over other members of the "class of 1964" at a time when seniority was even more vital in Senate affairs than now.
Salinger appeared in a third season episode of Batman, "The Joke's on Catwoman," broadcast on ABC on January 4, 1968. In the episode, Salinger portrays "Lucky Pierre," an unscrupulous lawyer who defends Catwoman and The Joker in a trial. In Salinger's first scene, he is sitting at his desk with a photo of a young Richard Nixon prominently displayed, and in an amusing epilogue, Batman (Adam West) laments Lucky Pierre's fate by saying, "If he hadn't gone so wrong, he might have had a fine career in politics, won a gubernatorial race, and the White House even."
Salinger was one of the managers of Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. When Senator Kennedy was shot to death in June, Salinger was 10 to 12 feet (3.0 to 3.7 m) away from him. Salinger claims that Jim McManus, who was also working on the campaign, said to him, "I've got to get the message to Los Angeles, under no circumstances should Bobby go through that (Ambassador Hotel) kitchen ... there's usually grease on the floor. He's going to fall or something." Salinger was devastated by RFK's assassination and moved to France as a correspondent for L'Express. (In 1970, Salinger told a columnist for Newspaper Enterprise Association that JFK asked him in 1963 what he would like to do during his second administration. Salinger said he told Kennedy he wanted to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to France.)
Career in broadcast journalism
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (August 2013)|
In 1989, Salinger provided commentary on the Tour de France for ABC Sports. At the end of the 1980s, he was well known too as a member, with François Spoerry, Paul-Loup Sulitzer and Jean-Pierre Thiollet, of Amiic, World Real Estate Investment Organization in Geneva (vanished in 1997) .
In 1991, two Libyans were indicted over the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, but Salinger believed Libya had been set up. In a 1989 ABC Prime Time Live Special, he and his producer, Lex Coleman named the so-called "Kenyan Three" as the masterminds of the bombing. The program won an Emmy Award.
After the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, ABC started work on a special program about the invasion and sent Salinger to the Middle East, where he obtained a transcript in Arabic of a conversation between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, in which Glaspie famously told Saddam: "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts," interpreted by some as giving Saddam the green light to invade Kuwait, which he did days later.
Life after ABC
After leaving ABC, Salinger moved back to Washington, D.C., and became an executive with the Burson Marsteller public relations firm before returning to France in 2000. Until the late 80s, Salinger had been a popular TV pundit in France, and was a frequent guest on French news and public affairs shows when someone was needed to explain or interpret American events for French viewers. Salinger even hosted a program for the cable network A&E in the early 1990s called Dining in France.
Salinger later became known for his claims in November 1996 that friendly fire from the United States Navy was the cause of the TWA Flight 800 crash. In November 2000, he became exasperated when he was denied permission to give exonerating evidence as part of his testimony before the Scottish Court in the Netherlands to try two Libyans for the downing on December 21, 1988, of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Salinger stated that he knew who the real bombers were, but was told by trial judge, Lord Sutherland: "If you wish to make a point you may do so elsewhere, but I'm afraid you may not do so in this court."
He later made a permanent move to France, making good on his promise that, "If Bush wins, I'm going to leave the country and spend the rest of my life in France."
Salinger died in October 2004 of heart failure in Cavaillon hospital near his home, La Bastide Rose, in Le Thor, France, at the age of 79. He is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
- A Tribute to John F. Kennedy (editor, with Sander Vanocur), 1964
- With Kennedy (1966)
- An Honorable Profession: A Tribute to Robert F. Kennedy (editor with Edwin Guthman, Frank Mankiewicz, and John Seigenthaler), 1968
- On Instructions of My Government, 1971
- Je Suis un Americain (I am an American), 1975
- La France et Le nouveau Monde, 1976
- Venezuelan Notebooks, 1979
- America Held Hostage: The Secret Negotiations, 1981
- Reporting U.S.-European Relations (with Michael Rice, Jonathan Carr, Henri Pierre, and Jan Reifenberg), 1982
- The Dossier(With Leonard Gross), 1984
- Above Paris: A New Collection of Aerial Photographs of Paris, France (author of text), 1984
- Mortal Games (co-author with Leonard Gross), 1988
- Secret Dossier: The Hidden Agenda Behind the Gulf War (co-author with Eric Laurent), 1991
- Tempete du Desert: Les Secrets de la Maison Blanche, 1991
- P.S., A Memoir, 1995
- John F. Kennedy, Commander in Chief: A Profile in Leadership, 1997
- Escape to Hell and other stories (foreword, collection authored by Muammar Gaddafi), 1998
- "Watch". Booknotes. 1995-11-12. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
- Salinger, Pierre (2001). P. S.: A Memoir. St. Martins Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-312-30020-4.
- Yollin, Patricia (October 17, 2004). "Pierre Salinger -- press secretary to presidents". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Purdum, Todd S. (October 18, 2004). "Pierre Salinger, Press Secretary to Kennedy, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "Pierre Salinger's profile". NNDB. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Historical resources, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (2004). "Pierre Salinger Biography". Retrieved 2008-11-11
- Rusk, Dean (1990). Rusk, Richard; Papp, Daniel S., eds. As I Saw It. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 296. ISBN 0-393-02650-7.
- Don Bradley, "Managing Democratic Campaigns, 1943-1966" (Oral History, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1977-79)
- "'Lucky Pierre' Gets To Be On 'Batman,'" St. Petersburg Times, Saturday, December 16, 1967.
- P.S., A Memoir November 12, 1995
- JFK's press secretary dies at 79 17 October 2004
- CNN on Salinger and TWA Salinger 'totally sure' TWA 800 missile theory is true March 13, 1997
- Pierre Salinger October 18, 2004
- Lockerbie trial adjourns 21 November 2000
- Former Kennedy aide Pierre Salinger dies October 18, 2004
- Pierre Salinger at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Poppy And Pierre Salinger Foundation
- Pierre Salinger Museum
- Booknotes interview with Salinger on P.S., A Memoir, November 12, 1995.
- The Story of Pierre Salinger, Le SUPERMAN de la communication., Illustrated by Alex Di Gregorio.
James C. Hagerty
|White House Press Secretary
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 1) from California
Served alongside: Thomas H. Kuchel
George L. Murphy
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Senator from California
John V. Tunney