Marina Oswald Porter

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Marina Oswald Porter
Born Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova
(1941-07-17) July 17, 1941 (age 75)
Severodvinsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian (formerly Soviet)
Occupation Pharmacist
Spouse(s) Lee Harvey Oswald (m. 1961–1963; his death)
Kenneth Jess Porter (m. 1965)
Children 3[1]

Marina Nikolayevna Oswald Porter (née Prusakova; Russian: Марина Николаевна Прусакова on July 17, 1941) is the widow of Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. She married Oswald during his temporary defection to the Soviet Union, emigrating to the United States with him. She was not implicated in the assassination and remarried following Oswald's death.

Early life[edit]

Porter was born Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova in Severodvinsk, in the northwest section of western Russia, near Arkhangelsk, and lived with her mother and stepfather until 1957, when she moved to Minsk to live with her uncle Ilya Prusakov, a colonel in the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs, and to study pharmacy.[2]

Life with Oswald[edit]

Porter met Lee Harvey Oswald (a former U.S. Marine who had defected to the Soviet Union) at a dance on March 17, 1961.[3] They married six weeks later and had a daughter, June Lee, on February 15, 1962. In June of that year, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Dallas, Texas. In February 1963, at a party, the couple were introduced to Ruth Paine, a Quaker and Russian language student, by George de Mohrenschildt.

In January 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have ordered a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver and then, in March, a Mannlicher–Carcano rifle.[4] Later that month, as Marina told the Warren Commission, she took photographs of Oswald dressed in black and holding his weapons along with an issue of The Militant newspaper, which named ex-general Edwin Walker as a "fascist". These photos became known as the "backyard photos" of Lee Oswald, which some conspiracy theorists dismiss as faked.[5] The series of photographs were later found in the garage of the Paine household, with the exception of one, which had been given to George de Mohrenschildt.[6][7] The photograph given to De Mohrenschildt was signed by Lee Oswald, and has a quote attributed to Marina in Russian, the translation of which reads "Hunter of Fascists, Ha-Ha-Ha!!!".[8]

In April 1963, Marina and her daughter moved in with Ruth Paine (who had recently separated from her husband, Michael). Lee Oswald rented a separate room in Dallas and briefly moved to New Orleans during the summer of 1963. He returned to Dallas in early October, eventually renting a room in a boarding house in the Oak Cliff district of Dallas. Paine learned from a neighbor that employment was available at the Texas School Book Depository, and Lee Oswald was hired and began working there on October 16, 1963 as an order filler. On October 20, Marina gave birth to a second daughter, Audrey Marina Rachel Oswald. Her husband continued to live in Oak Cliff on weekdays, but stayed with her at the Paine household in Irving on weekends, an arrangement that continued up until the assassination of President Kennedy.

Assassination of Kennedy[edit]

Porter learned of the assassination of Kennedy from the media coverage of the event, and later, of the arrest of her husband. That afternoon, Dallas Police Department detectives arrived at the Paine household, and when asked if Lee owned a rifle, she gestured to the garage, where Lee Oswald stored his rifle rolled up in a blanket; no rifle was found. She was subsequently questioned both at the Paine household, and later at Dallas Police Department headquarters in relation to her husband's involvement in the assassination of the President and the shooting of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit.

She was widowed on November 24, when her husband was shot by Jack Ruby.

After the Kennedy assassination and arrest of her husband, Porter was under Secret Service protection until completion of her testimony before the Warren Commission, making a total of four appearances before the commission. Questions about her reliability as a witness were expressed within the commission, particularly in regard to her claims about an assassination attempt on General Edwin Walker,[9] and her allegation that Lee Oswald had intended to assassinate Richard Nixon.[10][11] In her testimony, she stated her belief that her husband was guilty, an opinion she reiterated in testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978.[12]

Later years[edit]

She remained at first in Dallas, Texas. Per William Manchester in The Death of a President:

The plight of Marie Tippit [wife of J.D. Tippit, police officer shot by Oswald] and Marina Oswald appealed to American generosity; mailbags of checks and cash descended upon them. Mrs. Tippit handled herself admirably.... Marina... led a more colorful career. With $70,000 in donations she engaged a series of business agents. Her husband's Russian diary brought $20,000 and a picture of him holding the Mannlicher-Carcano carbine [the gun used to shoot Kennedy] $5,000. Then she went after the gun itself, arguing that since Oswald was dead it could not be held as evidence. A Denver oil man who wanted it as a souvenir sent her a $10,000 down payment -- about 49,900 percent profit on Lee's original investment -- and then sued [Nicholas] Katzenbach for possession. Early in 1966 a federal court threw the case out. Late that autumn the Justice Department took title to C2766 [the gun's serial number].

Marina had spent the money long ago. With affluence she had acquired mobility. At first she had told the press that the strongest force in her life was her love for the father of her children; she only wanted to live near his grave. This quickly changed. First she became a coed at the University of Michigan. Returning to Dallas, she bought an air-conditioned house, a wardrobe of Neiman-Marcus clothes, and membership in the Music Box, a private club. She became a chain-smoker and a drinker of straight vodka. In the Music Box she spun through a series of romances. Then, in 1965, in a Texas town called Fate, she became a June bride.[13]

She married Kenneth Jess Porter, with whom she had a son.[14] Porter was a twice-divorced drag racer who was in jail 11 weeks after the marriage. Marina accused him of domestic violence, but a justice of the peace "reunited them."[15] In the mid-1970s, she moved to Rockwall, Texas.[16] In 1989, she became a naturalized United States citizen.[17] She has appeared in numerous documentaries on the Kennedy assassination. She now contends that Lee Oswald was innocent of the assassination.[17][18]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Granberry, Michael (November 9, 2013). "As paparazzi stalk her, Kennedy assassin's widow lives quiet Dallas-area life". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Mailer, Norman (2007). Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery. Random House. p. 137. ISBN 1-588-36593-X. 
  3. ^ Hosty, James P; Hosty, Thomas (2013). Assignment: Oswald. Skyhorse. p. 112. ISBN 1-628-72187-1. 
  4. ^ "Chapter 4: The Assassin". Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. 1964. pp. 118–119. 
  5. ^ Groden 1995, pp. 90–95.
  6. ^ Bugliosi 2007, pp. 793–95.
  7. ^ Sabato, Larry J (2013). The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F Kennedy. US: Bloomsbury. p. 486. ISBN 1-620-40281-5. 
  8. ^ Johnson McMillan, Priscilla (2013). Marina and Lee: The Tormented Love and Fatal Obsession Behind Lee Harvey Oswald's Assassination of John F Kennedy. Steerforth Press. p. 360. ISBN 1-586-42217-0. 
  9. ^ Groden 1995, pp. 62–63.
  10. ^ Warren Commission Report. Barnes & Noble. 2003. pp. 187–88. ISBN 0-760-74997-3. 
  11. ^ Bugliosi 2007, pp. 697–98.
  12. ^ "Marina Oswald Concedes Husband Could Be Killer". Observer-Reporter. September 15, 1978. p. D–3. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ The Death of a President by William Manchester, p. 635 (paperback)
  14. ^
  15. ^ The Death of a President by William Manchester, p. 635 (paperback)
  16. ^ "The secret life of Lee Harvey Oswald's widow who believe's that he had killed JFK as it's revealed assassin cared so much for president he sobbed when his premature son Patrick died". DailyMail. October 30, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Interview with Oprah Winfrey at the Wayback Machine (archive index) (Nov. 22, 1996)
  18. ^ Posner, G (2003) [1993], Case Closed, Anchor Books, p. 345 .
  19. ^ Bolam, Sarah Miles; Bolman, Thomas J (2007). The Presidents on Film: A Comprehensive Filmography of Portrayals from George Washington to George W Bush. McFarland & Co. p. 110. ISBN 0-786-42481-8. 
  20. ^ Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 139. ISBN 0-810-86378-2. 
  21. ^ "Errol Morris Interviews Stephen King". The New York Times. November 10, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  22. ^ Blake, Meredith (November 8, 2013). "'Killing Kennedy': Michelle Trachtenberg on playing Marina Oswald". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  23. ^ Quantum Leap IMDB


  • Bugliosi, Vincent (2007). Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F Kennedy. WW Norton & Co. ISBN 0-393-07212-6. .
  • Groden, Robert J (1995), The Search for Lee Harvey Oswald: A Comprehensive Photographic Record, Bloomsbury, ISBN 0-747-52401-7 .

External links[edit]