A Confidante Remembers Kennedy Jr.

updated 04/02/2002 at 12:00 AM EST

originally published 04/02/2002 3:00PM

John Kennedy Jr. confidante Richard Blow, former executive editor of Kennedy's political magazine, George, is poised to publish a memoir about his colleague, "American Son," excerpts of which are due to surface in Vanity Fair's May issue (hitting newsstands this week). As revealed by Reuters, in the days before Kennedy, his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, perished in a July 1999 plane crash, the married couple was engaged in an argument that resulted in his sleeping in a hotel; Kennedy held discussions with Rupert Murdoch's sons concerning the media magnate's purchase of the financially floundering George; and Kennedy vowed to Blow that he would not pilot his own plane without an instructor, because he was recovering from an ankle injury. (There was no instructor on the ill-fated single-engine Piper Saratoga II HP airplane when it went down near Martha's Vineyard, taking the lives of all onboard.) Kennedy, according to Blow's portrait, was alternately charming and hot-tempered, and sometimes enjoyed reading about himself in gossip columns with "a sort of bemused fascination as if they were covering a stranger who happened to share his name." As for the relationship between husband and wife, "John was ecstatic in her company," writes Blow. "He would gaze upon her as if he couldn't completely believe what his eyes were taking in." Bessette, says the author, "dieted herself rail-thin, plucked her eyebrows until they were mere wisps, dyed her hair the color of white corn." Blow also said that once, when Kennedy was about to stroke the top of her head, she stopped him, saying, "I've got so many chemicals in this hair, you're going to break it."

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