Marina Oswald Porter

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Marina Oswald Porter
Марина Освальд Портер
Marina Oswald in Minsk
Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova

(1941-07-17) July 17, 1941 (age 82)
CitizenshipUnited States
  • (m. 1961; died 1963)
  • Kenneth Jess Porter
    (m. 1965)

Marina Nikolayevna Oswald Porter (née Prusakova; Russian: Марина Николаевна Прусакова; born July 17, 1941) is a Soviet-Russian-American woman who was the wife of Lee Harvey Oswald. She married Oswald during his temporary defection to the Soviet Union and emigrated to the United States with him. After the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Oswald's murder, she testified against Oswald for the Warren Commission and remarried. She ultimately came to believe Oswald was innocent.

Early life[edit]

Porter was born Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova in the city of Molotovsk (Severodvinsk), in Arkhangelsk Oblast, in the northwest of the Soviet Union. She lived there 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]

Marina and her husband Lee Harvey Oswald leaving Russia, 1962

Marina 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 Oswald, born the following year. In June 1962, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Dallas, Texas. At a party in February 1963, George de Mohrenschildt introduced the couple to Ruth Paine, a Quaker and Russian language student.

In January 1963, Oswald mail-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 only one photograph 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 fake.[5] Two photographs were later found in the garage of the Paine household. A third one was in the possession of George de Mohrenschildt.[6][7]

The photo that had been given to de Mohrenschildt was signed and dated by Lee Oswald on April 5, 1963, five days before the attempted assassination of General Walker. George eventually revealed this photograph to the HSCA (House Select Committee on Assassinations) in 1977, shortly before committing suicide. It is similar to the photo published by LIFE magazine in early 1964, except that it has a much larger background. The photo also has a quote 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 neighborhood of Dallas.

Ruth Paine learned from a neighbor that employment was available at the Texas School Book Depository, and Oswald was hired and began working there on October 16, 1963, as an order filler. On October 18, Marina and Ruth Paine had planned a birthday party for Oswald. They put up some decorations and got a birthday cake and wine. Oswald was so moved by the gesture that he had tears in his eyes. He remained emotional throughout the evening, crying and apologising to Marina for all the things he had put her through.[9] On October 20, Marina gave birth to a second daughter, Audrey Marina Rachel Oswald at Parkland Memorial Hospital.[10] 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 until Oswald was arrested for the assassination of President Kennedy.

Assassination of John F. Kennedy[edit]

Marina learned of the assassination of John F. 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, Marina gestured to the garage, where 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 reference to her husband's involvement in the assassination of the President and the murder of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. Marina and Oswald's mother Marguerite Oswald arrived at Dallas City Hall in the evening. Marina was shown the rifle by Carl Day and said in her statement that she was not sure whether the rifle shown to her was Lee's.[11][12]: 263–264  Captain J. W. Fritz of the Homicide and Robbery Bureau stated in a report that Marina did not positively ID the rifle.[13] On the afternoon of November 23, Marina and Marguerite talked to Lee. Marina said that when she saw her husband, he was calm but "by his eyes I could tell that he was afraid. He said goodbye to me with his eyes. I knew that."[14]

Marina was widowed at age 22, on November 24, when Oswald was murdered by Jack Ruby. Marina asked to go to Parkland Hospital to see Oswald's body. She opened his eyelids and said, "He cry, he eye wet."[15] After the assassination of Kennedy and the arrest of her husband, Marina was under Secret Service protection until she completed her testimony before the Warren Commission. 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.[16]

Later life[edit]

Following the assassination, Marina rented a house in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where she also found work as a drugstore clerk.[17] Donations sent to her by anonymous donors totaled about $70,000, roughly equivalent to $688,000 in 2023. She sold Lee's Russian diary for $20,000 and a picture of him holding the rifle for $5,000. She also attempted, but failed, to gain possession of the gun in order to sell it.[18]

In January 1965, Marina enrolled at the University of Michigan,[19] but she later returned to the Dallas area and bought a house in Richardson.[20] On June 1, 1965, she and electronics worker Kenneth Jess Porter travelled to Fate, Texas, and were wed by a justice of the peace.[21]They had a son.[22] She later accused Kenneth of domestic violence.[20] In 1981, Marina had Oswald's body exhumed to refute a claim that a look-alike Russian Soviet agent was buried in place of Oswald.[23] In 1989, she became a naturalized United States citizen.[24] As of 2013, Marina lives in Rockwall, Texas, with her husband, and she generally avoids publicity.[25][26]

Support of conspiracy theories[edit]

Though she has not formally recanted any of her Warren Commission testimony,[27] Marina has said, in various interviews since the late 1980s, that she came to believe that Oswald was completely innocent of the murders of President Kennedy and Officer Tippit.[24][28][29][30] Jim Leavelle, the detective who was handcuffed to Oswald when Ruby shot him, had several meals from time to time with Marina and said that Marina would "sound him out" to see if he had any doubts on Oswald's guilt.[31] In 2018, Marina was contacted by several conspiracy theorists for the theory that the unidentified "prayer man" filmed on the steps of the Texas School Book Depository during the assassination by Dave Wiegman, Jr., of NBC, and James Darnell, of WBAP-TV, was Oswald. Ed Ledoux phoned Marina after Stan Dane had sent enlargements of the Darnell and Wiegman films showing the "prayer man" figure and a copy of his book Prayer Man: The Exoneration of Lee Harvey Oswald. An unprompted Marina volunteered, "It’s Lee".[32] She maintains her belief that Oswald was the "prayer man".

See also[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 978-1-588-36593-4.
  3. ^ Hosty, James P; Hosty, Thomas (2013). Assignment: Oswald. Skyhorse. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-628-72187-4.
  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 978-1-620-40281-8.
  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 978-1-586-42217-2.
  9. ^ Gerald Posner, "Case Closed", Warner Books, 1993, p. 159–160.
  10. ^ Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: Hearings Before the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1964.
  11. ^ Rattan, Mary (November 22, 1963). "[Affidavit in Any Fact - Statement by Marina Oswald, November 22, 1963 #2]". The Portal to Texas History. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  12. ^ "Testimony of J.C. Day". Warren Commission Hearings. 4 – via
  13. ^ FBI Report of Capt. J.W. Fritz, Warren Report, appendix 11, p. 600.
  14. ^ "Oswald's Wife Says He Developed 2d Personality". The New York Times. November 24, 1964. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  15. ^ "Marguerite 2/10/64 AM". Marquette University. Archived from the original on December 18, 2002. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  16. ^ "Marina Oswald Concedes Husband Could Be Killer". Observer-Reporter. September 15, 1978. p. D–3. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  17. ^ The RICHARDSON Echo, Wednesday, Mar 04, 1964,Richardson, TX
  18. ^ William Manchester, The Death of a President
  19. ^ Marina Oswald was provided support and housing there by the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, led by Ernest T. Campbell ("Mrs. Oswald Enrolls Quietly at U of M". Petoskey News-Review. United Press International. January 5, 1965. p. 2 – via access icon)
  20. ^ a b The Death of a President by William Manchester, p. 635 (paperback)
  21. ^ "Oswald widow made 'hectic' trip to Texoma to re-marry". Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  22. ^ Andy Soltis (November 1, 2013). "Oswald widow snapped for 1st time in 25 years".
  23. ^ "Marina Oswald Porter:The woman behind the exhumation of Lee Harvey Oswald, October 5- UPI Archives". October 5, 1981. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  24. ^ a b Interview with Oprah Winfrey at the Wayback Machine (archive index) (November 22, 1996)
  25. ^ Krystina Martinez, Rick Holter (November 20, 2013). "Whatever Happened To Marina Oswald?". Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  26. ^ "As paparazzi stalk her, Kennedy assassin's widow lives quiet Dallas-area life". Dallas News. November 10, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  27. ^ "Oswald Widow Says She Lied To the FBI". Washington Post. December 21, 2023. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  28. ^ Posner, G. (2003) [1993], Case Closed, Anchor Books, p. 345.
  29. ^ "Oswald's Widow Believes He Didn't Act Alone". Deseret News. January 30, 2024. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  30. ^ "Marina: Lee Oswald didn't do it - UPI Archives". UPI. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  31. ^ Sabato, Larry J (2013). The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F Kennedy. US: Bloomsbury. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-620-40281-8.
  32. ^ Kamp, Bart (2023). Prayer Man: More Than A Fuzzy Picture. p. 85. ISBN 978-1442232853. Retrieved February 25, 2024.


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