Registered: Jan 2003
Local time: 12:36 PM
Location: Santa Cruz
John F. Kennedy's intern admitted to the Daily News yesterday: "I am the Mimi."
Marion (Mimi) Fahnestock, now 60, called it a huge weight off her shoulders to finally reveal her affair with the dashing young President four decades ago.
"The gift for me is that this allowed me to tell my two married daughters a secret that I've been holding for 41 years," she said. "It's a huge relief."
"It's all true," said Fahnestock, sitting in a pew in Manhattan's Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where she works as an administrator.
Referring to stories in The News this week detailing the affair, she said: "I was 19 years old. It was 1962, '63, and it's the truth."
Fahnestock, who was identified only as Mimi in long-sealed White House documents, didn't want to discuss the assassinated President.
"I think the world knows what he was like," said Fahnestock, a tall, slim woman with short blond hair. She declined to be photographed.
Long before Bill and Monica hit the headlines, Kennedy's affairs were common knowledge in the White House, but reporters kept quiet about what was considered the President's private life.
The long-forgotten affair was disclosed in a sealed portion of a 1964 interview with Barbara Gamarekian, a former White House press aide.
Gamarekian recently agreed to reveal the tale to historian Robert Dallek, who was researching his new Kennedy biography, "An Unfinished Life."
Although he never tracked down Mimi, Dallek concluded that Kennedy - whose roving eye was legendary - had a fling with the intern.
"Apparently, her only skill was to provide sexual release for JFK on those trips and maybe in the White House," Dallek said.
Came to interview Jackie
The then-Mimi Beardsley was a senior at Miss Porter's School in Connecticut when she came to the White House in 1961, months after Kennedy became the youngest elected President in history.
The editor of her school paper, Mimi was invited to Washington to interview Jacqueline Kennedy, who had graduated from the exclusive girls' boarding school.
She never met the First Lady but quickly captured the attention of the world's most powerful man.
A year later, Mimi was awarded a prestigious internship in the White House, though she couldn't even type.
"I was 19 years old, a very young, very naive, very innocent young girl," said Fahnestock, who lives on Manhattan's upper East Side.
The striking teenager was invited to White House pool parties with a handful of other young women and flown on Air Force jets to secret liaisons with Kennedy at resorts and summit meetings, Gamarekian said.
Once, presidential aides caught her hiding on the floor of a limousine in JFK's entourage in the Bahamas moments after the President left.
Fahnestock declined to discuss her time in the White House but said in measured tones, "All of these things are true. Remember, I was 19 years old. It was my first job."
Left before assassination
Mimi worked two summers at the White House and stayed into the fall of 1963 before returning to college, just a few weeks before Kennedy was gunned down Nov. 22.
The next year, she married. She had two daughters and later divorced. Through it all, she did everything she could to keep her White House affair under wraps.
She declined to say whether she had told her former husband, the late Anthony Fahnestock.
"I kept it a secret," she said simply. "I didn't have a story to tell."
Fahnestock, a grandmother of four, said she decided to end her long silence after JFK's affair with the intern made news this week.
"It's a gift that my daughters know this is a piece of my history," she said. "They are totally supportive of me."
Now that her secret is out, Fahnestock said, she wants to return to a private life.
"I have a wonderful job ... a close family, a lot of friends," she said. "I have a life to live."
Source: Daily News