The assassination of American President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 changed society. A world who became transfixed on the images and reports as they spilled out from Dallas, Texas where he had been shot, publicly in front of an unsuspected and unprepared American public.
American news outlet The Hollywood Reporter asked celebrities, alive that fateful weekend, to share their memories and how it impacted them then and now. Read some of their accounts below:
Kelsey Grammar (Frasier): I was in Miss Rizzuto's third grade class at PS 22 in New Jersey. Our principal walked into the classroom and told her, and she started to cry. They let us out early. It was just a sad day. It was like when Sadat was shot. You say, "Oh no, people who were just trying to do the world some good."
Alan Alda (M*A*S*H): I was getting out of a car. I remember the autumn leaves in the gutter and the neighbor next door said, "It's terrible about the president isn't it?" That's how I found out. I think it was the first time I realized a president could be assassinated, and how it could affect our lives. We all knew about Lincoln, but Lincoln was so far in the past. It had the same effect on me it did on everybody else. Some part of your brain that had been devoted to that person was killed off.
William Shatner (Star Trek): I was filming at Universal Studios when I heard the president was assassinated. The studio, for the first and only time in my career, closed.
Joan Collins (Dynasty): I was in a taxi driving down Park Avenue in New York, cradling my newborn baby girl after seeing her pediatrician. Suddenly, we noticed cars pulling over to the curb and people getting out with expressions of shocked dismay, which gave way to tears. I asked the taxi driver what was happening, but he didn't know. As soon as we got back to my apartment I heard sounds of inconsolable weeping coming from the office of my husband, Anthony Newley. He was with his one-time writing partner, Ian Fraser, and the housekeeper, all of them sobbing. When they told me that our wonderful president was dead, I sank onto the sofa, still holding my baby and started sobbing myself. I couldn't stop for three days. To me he epitomized everything wonderful in America and it felt like someone had wrenched all the hope and optimism from my soul.
Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront): Jeff [Hayden] and I were in the office, at the end of the house, when all of a sudden, I heard our 8-year-old son, Darrell, crying. He came running down the long hall and rushed into our room. Then our daughter, Laurette, who was 5, came in crying. I couldn't imagine what had happened. I just lost my breath. And Darrell said, "Someone killed President Kennedy!" We were a close-knit family and it was a horrible, horrible day. What could you say to them? How could you soften that in any way? Just thinking about it, my heart gets broken all over again.