Jean Hill, the "woman in red" made famous by her appearance in a bright red coat the Zapruder film and Oliver Stone's "JFK" died early today after being rushed to the hospital from her home. Her cause of death is not yet known. A mother and school teacher at the time of the JFK assassination, Hill had been in poor health the last few years.
Hill, standing on Elm Street next to her friend Mary Moorman, was only a few feet from the presidential limousine and was one of the closest witnesses to the assassination of President Kennedy and the wounding of Governor Connally. Both heard the shots and saw the President react. In her autobiography, "Jean Hill: The Last Dissenting Witness," (by Bill Sloan with Jean Hill, Slone Hill, 1992) she wrote, "Then the president looked up and just about that time he grabbed himself across the chest He fell toward Jackie across the seat. Jackie said, 'My God, they've shot him,' and she fell across him." Moorman's Polaroid photo became one of the most widely published still photographs to capture the assassination.
Contrary to the official version of events, Hill claimed to hear four to six shots and she also alleged she saw a man running up the hill across from where she stood. That area is now referred to as the grassy knoll. Thinking this man could be the shooter, she ran across the street and joined others searching behind the wooden fence.
After the assassination Hill was interviewed by both print and television media at times with embarrassing results. Her statement of seeing "a little white dog" in the rear seat with the President and Mrs. Kennedy was actually her attempt to explain something she caught just a glimpse of. Because there was no dog in the car later newsmen and assassination researchers would ridicule her account. However, it was learned, more than twenty-five years later, that a small white stuffed animal was on the back seat. A child had presented Jackie Kennedy with a stuffed animal similar to Shari Lewis' Lamb Chop.
To another reporter she gave her home address on national television not realizing it would be broadcast around the world.
After refusing to travel to Washington to testify for the Warren Commission, Hill finally agreed to be interviewed in Dallas then withdrew for many years. She seldom agreed to speak of her experiences. In fact, not until 1990 when author Jim Marrs contacted her did she agree to meet with him and director Oliver Stone and relate her story. Stone went on to use Hill as one of the main characters in his film and along with the film's leading man, Kevin Costner, became a fan of Hill's charming but feisty personality.
Always dressed in red, in the last few years Hill would speak at student gatherings and attend JFK assassination events. Fearlessly, Hill would tell each interviewer, "All I know is I heard more than three shots and at least one of them came from behind the fence at the top of the knoll."
Hill is survived by a son, Billy, and a daughter, Jeanne.
We have set up a "Jean Hill Memorial" web page for
left for her family. http://jfklancer.com/programs/guests/
Copyright 2000 JFK Lancer
HILL JEAN LOLLIS
Mrs. Jean Hill, known as "the lady in red", as a
result of her role as an
eyewitness to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, died November
7. 2000, in Dallas, Texas, where she had lived for many years.
She is survived by her daughter. Jeanne Poorman of Wilmette.
her husband, Kevin, and by her son, Billy Hill, Jr., a local attorney, and
his wife, Karon. She is also survived by her mother, Irene Turner, and six
grandchildren, Carrie Thornton and her husband, John Thornton; Andrew
Hill, and Jacob, Elissa, Elena, and Emma Poorman. Additional survivors
include Karon Hill's son. Scott Fisher, and Jean Hill's two sisters, Wanda
Jacobs and Ramona Boback. Mrs. Hill was a school teacher for many years in
the Dallas schools and retired a few years ago from H. S Thompson
Jean Hill was the woman standing nearest to the car of President
at the moment of his assassination. In the famous Zapruder film and in
Oliver Stone's motion picture "JFK", she appears in a bright red raincoat,
stepping out to get the President's attention so her friend could snap his
picture. The picture taken became one of the most well known photographs
of the assassination.
Mrs. Hill testified at length before the Warren Commission
interviewed in that proceeding by a young prosecutor named Arlen Spector,
now a United States Senator from Pennsylvania.
She was the last living witness to the assassination whose
conflicted with the conclusions drawn by the Warren Commission. Her
conflict with the findings of the Warren Commission led her to co-author
an autobiography, which she titled "The Last Dissenting Witness".
She was featured prominently in the movie "JFK" and
served as technical
advisor to the director. Oliver Stone. Mr. Stone wrote the Forward to her
book, and his film featured a character that portrayed Mrs. Hill. Her
brave and interesting account of running up the "grassy knoll" (a term she
coined in her testimony) to chase the man she believed was shooting at the
President was riveting and controversial, and she was often in demand as a
speaker. She appeared on numerous national television programs, including
"The Today Show", "Oprah", "Geraldo". "Montel Williams", and "Maury
Povich". She continued her speaking activities until shortly before her
death and was well loved by her many friends at 21 Turtle Creek, where she
resided. She will be missed by all.
Her family has requested that in lieu of flowers any remembrances
to the March of Dimes, ATTN: Marie Finucane, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White
Plains, New York 10605, or to Amigos de las Americas. P.O. Box 367,
Winnetka, Illinois 60093. A memorial service will be held on Thursday.
November 9, 2000, at 12:00 noon, at the Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home in
the Northwest Highway Chapel, followed by a private interment.
Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home Cemetery Mausoleum 7405 W. Northwest
Highway Dallas (214) 363-5401
Jean Hill, 69, Dies
From News Services
Saturday, November 11, 2000; Page B07
DALLAS Jean Hill, 69, known as "The Lady in
Red" in an eyewitness film of President John F.
Kennedy's 1963 assassination, died of a blood disease Nov. 7 in Parkland Hospital, the same
Dallas facility where Kennedy was rushed after being fatally shot while riding in an open
Mrs. Hill, a Dallas schoolteacher, was wearing a red raincoat
and watching the Kennedy
motorcade in Dealey Plaza when she saw the president assassinated. The color film shot
by Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder shows Mrs. Hill standing with a friend, Mary
Moorman, on Elm Street on Nov. 22, 1963. The Lincoln Continental containing Kennedy,
Texas Gov. John Connally and their wives passed about 15 feet away from her.
Mrs. Hill, in a police affidavit, said she had heard "two
shots" and, after a pause, "three or
"She loved the fact that she was a witness to history,"
Mrs. Hill's daughter Jeanne
Poorman told the Reuters news service.
"With the inordinate number of people connected with witnessing
the assassination who
died in suspicious circumstances, she was proud that she was a survivor," Poorman said of
Poorman said her mother thought the shots came from the grassy
knoll nearby, not the
book depository across the street, and ran to the area thinking she would be able to spot
Instead of catching up with the gunman, Mrs. Hill said, she
was seized by two men in
police uniforms and briefly taken into custody despite telling them she thought the
assassin was running from the knoll.
Mrs. Hill repeated her account to the Warren Commission in
1964, then stayed out of the
public eye for about 25 years. In 1991, she worked as a consultant for Oliver Stone's film
"JFK." Over the last several years, she had been speaking to groups about her 1963
She also co-wrote "JFK: The Last Dissenting Witness" with Bill Sloan.
Mrs. Hill taught in the Dallas public schools for more than
20 years, retiring from H.S.
Thompson Learning Center.
The Associated Press
Thursday, Nov. 9, 2000; 11:37 p.m. EST
DALLAS (AP) Jean Hill, an eyewitness to the Kennedy assassination
became famous as "The Lady In Red" in the Zapruder film capturing the
shooting, died Tuesday of complications from a blood disease. She was 69.
The color film shot by Dallas dressmaker Abraham Zapruder shows
in a red raincoat as she stood with friend Mary Moorman on Elm Street on
Nov. 22, 1963. The Lincoln Continental containing Kennedy, Texas Gov. John
Connally and their wives passed about 15 feet away.
Hill, in a police affidavit, said she had heard "two shots"
and, after a
pause, "three or four more."
In 1964, the witness repeated her account to the Warren Commission.
stayed out of the public eye for about 25 years, then added details she had
earlier denied, such as seeing a rifle and a gunman.
Hill worked as a consultant for Oliver Stone's film "JFK" in 1991.
South of the Appomattox