Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger passed away at the age of 100 on Wednesday, and while he has been remembered for his incredibly complex, controversial foreign policy legacy, another facet of his life has captured people’s attention: the string of surprisingly gorgeous, glamorous A-list women he romanced in his prime.
From movie stars to top socialites, here is a list of some famous names that Kissinger courted at the height of his foreign policy dominance in the heat of the 1970s, earning him the title “Playboy of the West Wing.”
ZSA ZSA GABOR
According to the Washington Post, Kissinger nearly dated famed actress and Hungarian-American socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor after a rather unlikely introduction from President Richard Nixon:
The diplomat and the Hungarian American socialite were an unlikely couple, but they had hit it off after sitting next to each other during a state dinner at the White House, with the actress raving about Kissinger’s big brain. Kissinger drove her home after dinner in Beverly Hills in 1970 and asked whether he could come inside for a drink, “with Henry showing signs of making an amorous approach to me,” Gabor recalled in “One Lifetime Is Not Enough,” her 1991 autobiography.
Kissinger leaned in for a kiss with Gabor but was abruptly interrupted when his beeper went off with an urgent message from President Nixon.
“Henry, come back immediately. I need you,” Gabor recalled Nixon saying to Kissinger.
“He screwed up that one kiss,” Gabor told David Letterman in a 1987 interview.
Gabor later sent Kissinger flowers, which prompted a call from him.
“My whole staff looks at me differently since I got flowers from you,” he reportedly told her.
When she tried to set up a second date, Kissinger canceled and blamed Nixon. “I can’t fly down because we’re invading Cambodia tomorrow,” Kissinger reportedly told her. “It’s a big secret, you are the first person outside the White House who knows about it.”
JILL ST. JOHN (Rumored)
Kissinger also was rumored to have dated actress Jill St. John for a period. She had earned a name for herself as the first American Bond girl Diamonds are Forever. One tabloid story at the time reported that they set off an alarm at St. John’s Hollywood mansion when the two were walking out to her pool. Both denied the romance and even denied a secret report of being married.
“There has never been a romance,” St. John said in 1971. “It has not been and will never be a great romance.”
It seems that Kissinger not only had a taste for the beautiful women but the funny ones as well.
His brief fling with Murphy Brown star Candice Bergen was noticeably short. She described him as “highly intelligent, very charming.”
Kissinger indeed dated the Academy Award-winning actress for a time.
This would have been a little over a decade after audiences grew to love her in the Billy Wilder classic The Apartment.
Americans knew Sally Kellerman at the time for having played Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the 1970s comedy hit M*A*S*H. In her memoir Read My Lips, she remembers being somewhat horrified by the setup initially.
“Ewww!” she wrote in her book. “I’d be embarrassed to be seen with him. Besides, I’m working for [Nixon’s democratic challenger for president George] McGovern.”
Kellerman eventually sat next to Kissinger at a dinner party and recalled being drawn in by his aura.
“After being introduced, I asked him, ‘So how was China?’” she wrote in her memoir. “‘Why?’ he asked. ‘Did your mother send you an article?’ Damn — that made me like him right away.”
Kissinger also had brief flings with Marlo Thomas and Liv Ullman. He was also photographed accompanying Raquel Welch, Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli.
In his biography, Walter Isaacson said Kissinger dated a string of lesser-known women as well. “He had a weakness for young, beautiful lesser-known types,” wrote Isaacson. “[They] offered, at least in the abstract, the aura of something more illicit.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, that included Judith Brown, star of the X-rated 1970 Danish film Threesome, and Lada Edmund, a stuntwoman specializing in motorcycle and car crashes who worked on Smokey and the Bandit and with Evil Knievel.
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