Jackie O to Jolie: Celebrity Degrees of Separation

The similarities between Jackie Onassis and Angelina Jolie goes beyond the obvious.

The large round sunglasses, the long, tawny hair, the frequent presence of children being led by the hand, the perpetual globetrotting, the unrelenting speculation about their private lives – the similarities between the two women who are, arguably, the most famous in the world in their times, are obvious.

Jackie Onassis and Angelina Jolie: more in common than meets the eye.

Beneath the surface, however, certain core personality traits are shared by the former First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and actress Angelina Jolie. Both rather proud of their partial French heritage, they also both endured an unusually traumatic divorce of their parents. Each had a single sibling to whom they closely bonded. Despite their rational defense of American generosity around the world and unique talents which spring from the American culture, they are also so vastly interested in the cultures of a multitude of other nations and peoples, and never cease to find adventure and mission in exploring new countries.  Jackie Kennedy’s explorations through Europe, Asia and South America as First Lady and then through the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe were not mindless vacations but missions on behalf of her husband’s State Department and later in pursuit of book projects focused on unique aspects of different cultures. Angelina Jolie’s trips have had an equally public agenda, going as a U.N. representative on matters of refugees and orphans. Their orderliness and sense of driven purpose also afford each a balance between the fullest responsibilities of motherhood and a later-blooming outreach of careers, one at age 46 into publishing, the other at age 35 into directing. So close and yet….six degrees of separation between them.

On May 26, 1976, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis proved herself to be enough of a fan of Beatles Paul McCartney and his group “Wings,” to not only attend their “Wings Over America Tour” concert at Madison Square Garden  but to also join in the after-concert private party backstage, where the two famous 60s Pop Culture icons met for the first time. Jackie O (as she was famously dubbed following her second marriage, in 1968 to Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis) had promised to attend as long as there were no members of the press invited; it was a request with which McCartney and his wife Linda complied.

On April 10, 1999, in a tribute concert to his late wife Linda, who had succumbed to cancer, Paul McCartney was joined onstage at the Royal Albert Hall by fellow British singer Tom Jones. Another icon of the Pop 60s, Jones’s strong but smooth voice received its first widespread distribution with the song, What’s New Pussycat? the hit song of the same-named film, which also marked the scriptwriting and acting debut of Woody Allen.

On August 10, 1977, Tom Jones was visited backstage at a Los Angeles concert by Austrian-born bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. That year, Schwarzenegger began his climb to global fame, appearing in the documentary Pumping Iron and publishing his autobiography, Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder.

On April 11, 2007, the former actor Arnold Schwarzenegger was in year five of his nine years as Governor of California, having first been elected during a 2002 recall of Governor Gray Davis. That day he met with California’s United States Senator Dianne Feinstein in her Hart Senate Office Building suite to discuss environmental issues of the Golden State.

On June 14, 2011, in her capacity as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein met with General David Petraeus, commander of the war in Afghanistan, in preparation for confirmation hearings before the committee for his appointment as Director of the C.I.A.

On February 6, 2008, General Petraeus, then the top U.S. commander in Iraq, overseeing military operations during the Iraqi War, met in Baghdad with American actress Angelina Jolie. Jolie was there in her role as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador, urging a more systematic plan to aid the over 2 million Iraqis displaced as a result of the war. She also met with then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi migration officials, U.N. officials, Iraqi employees at the U.S. Embassy, and those citizens of Iraqi coping with their displacement. In a press interview and a statement released through the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Jolie articulated her concerns:

“There’s lots of goodwill and lots of discussion, but there seems to be just a lot of talk at the moment and there are a lot of pieces that need to be put together. What happens in Iraq and how Iraq settles in the years to come is going to affect the entire Middle East. And a big part of what it’s going to affect, how it settles, is how these people are returned and settled into their homes and their community and brought back together and whether they can live together and what their communities look like….I am concerned as a humanitarian, of course, but I am also concerned as an American about the desperation and aggression that can come from years of neglect and displacement.”

 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – Paul McCartney –

Tom Jones – Arnold Schwarzenegger –

Dianne Feinstein – David Petraeus – Angelina Jolie

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Categories: #WPLongform, Celebrity Degrees of Separation, Facebook of the Famous, The Kennedys

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6 replies »

  1. I wonder how the McCartney’s went about inviting Jackie to their backstage party? Was she the one who sent out a feeler? I’ve just read one of the narratives of Jackie at Doubleday. I know she was interested in publishing celeb. memoirs/bios; and I am curious as to whether she was the one who requested a backstage pass? Granted, she was a very prestigious guest, whom most people did want to meet, even Paul and Linda McCartney. In the picture of Jackie & Paul, Jackie looks like she just came out of a root canal apt! What a strange smile, Mona Lisa, NOT! That is how some drag queens I know “do” Jackie.

    I do thank you for sharing that snapshot of Jackie & Paul, it is very different!

    • Root canal! Perfectly put. It’s the only known image of Jackie Kennedy with one of the Beatles to come to light thus far – although I do know she bumped into John Lennon in New York during the Sixties. I would imagine that she may have been pursuing McCartney’s memoirs – excellent surmise there. I know she attended the National Democratic Convention two months later in her role as editor to try and pin down Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to gain his cooperation on a biography one of her author’s was writing on him – and was stunned and fled her seat when the person at the podium pointed out her presence to the entire convention hall – as “the President’s widow.” She had gone there in her capacity as the editor of her new life, not the old, but she could never escape it. And, like Daley, it seems that if she were pursuing McCartney’s memoirs, she did not always strike luck.

  2. lovevd reading abut the comparison of 2 greAT LADIES

  3. Thank U Carl, for patiently answering my questions. I was reading that part of Jackie fleeing her seat at DNC Convention, I do recall seeing her on TV, smiling & looking beautiful as always, she was wearing a long, gypsy type dress- — very diferent from her tailored Box Suites. (I am a huge Jackie fan & that’s why I recall all this minute), she very seldom appeared live, on TV. I think it is so sad that as a nation we never got one live opportunity to express our enormous love & regard for her. I was hoping that one of the “anniversaries” or museum events, we would have opportunity to position her in front an adoring public and give her 1 foot-stomping, Rock Star Ovation, I don’t think she ever felt how much love surrounded her.*

    * just like Bobby Kennedy got when he addressed DNC Convention for LBJ’s nomination. That was something. BTW, Bobby Jr., draws HUGE crowds just as responsive. He is every bit his father’s on. He truly, unlike Cousin Caroline, deserves,
    the torch passed to him. I had opportunity to meet w/him once, & I guess I chickend out, HUGE MISTAKE. My prayer is that he will run for very, very high office. I would vote for him in a NY minute, and I am staunch conservative GOP. Many, many more folks feel the same. People who know bout the environment say his Riverkeepers org. have pulled off real miracles for waters of NY.

    • Susanne – Forgive my long delay in responding, these “house” articles have been hell to write – anyway, I think that her appearance at the Democratic Convention sort of overwhelmed her – we always forget that while the public may perceive something, understandably, through the lens of our perception of a public figure, based on their pictures or footage, that they’re aging and changing and moving along like everyone else. I always think of how people said the Nixon marriage was cold, and they were alienated, etc. but that might have been based on their five years in the White House – when in fact they lived almost the entire second full half of their marriage after leaving the White House. I think the same was true of Jackie Onassis. She had so moved on with her life – she had to, she realized – so that when she went to the convention, specifically to meet Chicago Mayor Daley and try and get his cooperation for a book about him being written by one of her authors, everyone else perceived her presence there as the “Camelot widow” and perhaps it was naive of her not to realize or anticipate this, she was living in her real life with tasks and things to do related to work – not plan appearances as a former First Lady. I also think that the crowds and “fans” chanting her name in earlier years had sort of freaked her out. I also think it wasn’t only because of the assassination that she fond it painful to look back. I know that towards the end of her life she had dinner with her son and they spoke about his father and she let it slip that were she to have meet him then, in the late 1980s she would never have dated him being the person she had become. It upset him, but I think it may be – and this is only speculation – as much the treatment she received in response to her love towards her husband which later left her wanting to avoid too much affection for her as “Mrs.” – it might have brought on a sense of in-authenticity to her privately.

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