Program Details

The Four Lives of Jackie O

René Silvin

Course Description

Join Silvin as he explores the four distinctly different phases of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’ life. The first period covers details of Jacqueline Bouvier’s parents and reviews her youthful accomplishments. The second  period discusses Jackie’s life as Mrs. John F. Kennedy, including her support of her husband’s political career and her 3-year tenure as America’s 35th First Lady during the “Camelot era.” After JFK’s assassination, she remained active as what Life magazine called “America’s unofficial roving ambassador.” From 1968 to 1975, Jackie married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. This part of the presentation includes personal anecdotes because Mr. Silvin interacted with the Onassis children and “Jackie O.”  Arguably the most peaceful period of her life, 1975 – 1994, Jackie worked as an editor, notably for Doubleday, and lived with her supportive companion Maurice Tempelsman. René will discuss details of her death at age 64 in May 1994.

About the Instructor

  • Born in New York, René Silvin, MBA grew up in Swiss boarding schools. After earning his bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in 1970 and two master's degrees in business from Cornell University in 1972, he spent 25 years in the investor-owned hospital industry. Since retiring, Silvin has published five books, including a memoir about his friendship with the late Duchess of Windsor, as well as a history of Palm Beach, Florida seen through the eyes of the famous society architect, Addison Mizner, and a coffee table book titled “Normandie: The Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner," which is a historical novel that brings to life the magnificent flagship of the French line, Normandie, which met its tragic end during WWII. He continues to add lecture topics, through offering well-researched, glamorous stories with historical significance, infused with personal experiences, including a history of transatlantic ocean liner travel, the history of Mar-a-Lago, and a series of presentations about the pitfalls of being too rich. Silvin is the former chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission.