Ron Pataky

Ron Pataky

Adam Ronald Pataky was born in Danville, Illinois, on 21st May, 1935. His father owned a heating and air conditioning business. In 1950 the family moved to Columbus, Ohio. After high school Pataky attended Stanford University but failed to graduate.

Pataky returned to Columbus and graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism in 1959. In 1961, he was hired as a film and drama critic for the Columbus Citizen-Journal.

In June, 1964, Pataky went on a trip paid for by Twentieth Century-Fox who used it to publicize three of its films: The Sound of Music, The Agony and the Ecstasy and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. On the trip he met and began a relationship with fellow journalist, Dorothy Kilgallen. This relationship was kept a secret. In her book, Kilgallen (1979), Lee Israel gives Pataky the name of "Out-of-Towner". Apparently Pataky went up to Kilgallen and asked her if she was Clare Booth Luce.

It has been suggested by John Simkin that Kilgallen suspected that "Out-of-Towner" was a CIA spy. She therefore told her friends this is what he said so that if anything happened to her, a future investigator would realize that he was a CIA agent with links to Clare Booth Luce.

On 8th November, 1965, Dorothy Kilgallen, was found dead in her New York apartment. She was fully dressed and sitting upright in her bed. The police reported that she had died from taking a cocktail of alcohol and barbiturates. The notes for the chapter she was writing on the assassination of John F. Kennedy had disappeared.

Some of her friends believed Kilgallen had been murdered. Marc Sinclaire was Kilgallen's personal hairdresser. He often woke Kilgallen in the morning. Kilgallen was usually out to the early hours of the morning and like her husband always slept late. When he found her body he immediately concluded she had been murdered.

(1) Kilgallen was not sleeping in her normal bedroom. Instead she was in the master bedroom, a room she had not occupied for several years.

(2) Kilgallen was wearing false eyelashes. According to Sinclaire she always took her eyelashes off before she went to bed.

(3) She was found sitting up with the book, The Honey Badger, by Robert Ruark, on her lap. Sinclaire claims that she had finished reading the book several weeks earlier (she had discussed the book with Sinclaire at the time).

(4) Kilgallen had poor eyesight and could only read with the aid of glasses. Her glasses were not found in the bedroom where she died.

(5) Kilgallen was found wearing a bolero-type blouse over a nightgown. Sinclaire claimed that this was the kind of thing "she would never wear to go to bed".

Ron Pataky with Dorothy Kilgallen
Ron Pataky with Dorothy Kilgallen

Mark Lane also believed that Kilgallen had been murdered. He said that "I would bet you a thousand-to-one that the CIA surrounded her (Kilgallen) as soon as she started writing those stories." The only new person who became close to Kilgallen during the last few months was Pataky.

Pataky left his job with the Columbus Citizen-Journalin 1980. He later worked as a artist-photographer. He also worked as a Christian counsellor. In 1993, the investigative reporter, David Herschel, discovered that "Out-of-Towner" was Pataky. In an interview with Herschel, Pataky admitted that he worked on articles about the assassination of John F. Kennedy with Dorothy Kilgallen. Pataky also confessed to meeting Kilgallen several times in the Regency Hotel. However, he denied Lee Israel's claim that he was with her on the night of her death.

In December, 2005, Lee Israel admitted that the "Out-of-Towner" was Ron Pataky and that "he had something to do with it (the murder of Dorothy Kilgallen)".

Ron Pataky died on 16th May 2022.

Primary Sources

(1) Lee Israel, Kilgallen (1979)

The Regency Hotel is located at Park Avenue and Sixty-First Street Street; Dorothy's town house was off Park and Sixty-eighth. After he met Dorothy, he stayed at the Regency exclusively on his frequent visits to New York. Dorothy had set up a room arrangement with the hotel. The woman who handled the assignment of rooms at the Regency in 1963 recalled that "he used to stay at the Regency all the time the keys were given to her." Another staff person maintained: "She used to stay at the Regency maybe one day a month. She said she was working on a book. I thought she was collaborating with him."

(2) Dorothy Kilgallen, New York Journal American (18th June, 1964)

Since I've been in Europe for four days, not keeping up with the newspapers at all, I don't know how things are going at the United Nations, but I can testify that as of this minute in London, British-U. S. relations seem to be better than ever in history. The sun was smiling on England when landed at London Airport, and the Londoners were smiling on the Americans.

Example One: At the airport, Ron Pataky, the Columbus Citizen-Journal columnist, invited me to ride into town with him. He said to the cab driver: "I haven't any pounds with me will you take American money?" The hackie grinned. "Hop in governor," he said. "It's the best money in the world ''

Example Two: When I reached the Savoy Hotel and my luggage was sent up, I quickly pulled out a little black dress suitable for an evening on the town and rang for a valet. When he arrived. I gave him the dress and asked: "Could I have this pressed as soon as possible, please?" Another big smile: "You can have anything you wish, Miss." said the valet, taking the dress as tenderly as if it were one of the Queen Elizabeth's robes.

Example Three: I rang for the waiter and ordered a club sandwich to tide me over until the night's festivities began By the time he returned I was sitting at my typewriter batting out a column. He wheeled up the sandwich and said, "I must say madam, it didn't take you long to get into action." I explained that I had been on a very fast, busy tour and had to snatch every opportunity to do my writing. "Extraordinary," the waiter beamed "you American ladies are marvelous." My compliments to the British Ministry of Tourism, or whatever they call it. Somebody up there is doing a splendid job.

(3) New York Journal American (15th November, 1965)

The death of Dorothy Kilgallen, Journal-American columnist and famed TV personality, was contributed to by a combination of moderate quantities of alcohol and barbiturates, a medical examiner's report stated today.

As many personalities whose multiple duties and responsibilities demand unceasing attention, Miss Kilgallen experienced recurring tensions in meeting her deadlines for performances - both as a newspaperwoman and TV performer.

In his report today, Dr. James Luke, Assistant Medical Examiner, said that although Miss Kilgallen had only "moderate amounts of each," the effect of the combination had caused depression of the central nervous system "which in turn caused her heart to stop."

(4) William Penn Jones, The Midlothian Mirror (November 25, 1965)

I have a concern for the strange things happening in America in recent months. With the passing of the second anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy, we take not of some of the strange things which continue to plague those around the principals.

Miss Dorothy Kilgallen joins the growing list of persons who have died after a private interview with one of the two members of the Jack Ruby-George Senator team. We have printed the strange deaths of Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe after they had a private interview with George Senator and Ruby’s attorney, Tom Howard. Hunter and Koethe were murdered. Lawyer Tom Howard died under strange circumstances...

Now Miss Kilgallen dies under clouded circumstances. During the Ruby trial in Dallas, Judge Joe B. Brown granted Miss Kilgallen a privilege given no other newsman. She had thirty minutes alone in a room with Jack Ruby. Even the guards were outside the door. Miss Kilgallen told some of what went of during the interview in her columns. But was someone afraid she knew more? Is she another victim of possibly knowing the secret that still moves in the troubled mind of Jack Ruby?...

What is happening in our land? How many murders of persons connected in some way with the assassination principals can go unnoticed by our people? How many lies must we prove on The Warren Commission before a demand for reopening becomes a commanding one?

(5) William Penn Jones, Volume I: Forgive My Grief (1966)

Now we can add to that list of strange deaths that of Miss Dorothy Kilgallen. Miss Kilgallen joins Bill Hunter, Jim Koethe, Tom Howard and others. Miss Kilgallen is the only journalist who was granted a private interview with Jack Ruby since he killed Lee Oswald. Judge Joe B. Brown granted the interview during the course of the Ruby trial in Dallas – to the intense anger of the hundreds of other news people present.

(6) Columbus Citizen-Journal (15th April, 1971)

Suburban Upper Arlington Police are continuing their investigation of conflicting stories in a shooting

incident involving a theater editor, Ronald Pataky of the Columbus Citizen-Journal, and James Otis, former Ohio State University and Celina High School football star.

Police reported that no one was hurt in the shooting and that no charges have been filed. Several shots had been fired at Pataky's residence early Tuesday.

Pataky reported to Police that he and Otis had become involved in an argument. Otis, now a Columbus

restaurant owner and member of the Kansas City Chiefs professional football team, told Police that Pataky threatened him with a blackjack and that four shots were fired at him as he left the editor's house.

Pataky also told Police that Otis had fired a shot at him.

(7) Lee Israel, Kilgallen (1979)

The Out-of-Towner had contended, during our initial talks, that he was not in New York on Sunday, November 7; that he and Dorothy chatted unextraordinarily at about 12:30 A.M., just before she died, he in his home and she in hers. It was, he said, "a vanilla conversation."

With new awareness and growing dubiety, I questioned him again about the nature of their relationship. These are excerpts from the conversation: ;

SUBJECT: There was some indication that it was special on her part. I kept that in line, if you can understand that. And we remained, literally to the night of her death, very, very dear friends... It certainly was not a passing fancy, our relationship; on the otherhand, it was not a love affair, either, unless you want to make your terms very loose.

LEE ISRAEL: No, I don't want to make my terms very loose. I want to know what she was believing and what she was fantasizing.

SUBJECT: We were very close in that we talked long-distance several times a week at least; and I saw her frequently. And I have every reason to believe that she liked me a great deal and needed something to love. I don't think that she was - quote - in love with me. I think there's a possibility that for a short time she thought it. But we did work that out.

LEE ISRAEL: How did you work it out?

SUBJECT: Just by saying, "This is silly." And I told her, "I'm not in love with you. I love you. You're my friend." It would frequently come up. It was not infrequent that she would have been drinking. It would be late at night, by the nature of both our jobs, and some of the conversations were not as coherent as I would have liked them to be. I'm having trouble interpreting the questions.

(8) David B. Herschel (18th November, 1993)

As the thirtieth anniversary of the JFK assassination approaches, I must tell the world about a 58-year-old man who can identify the conspirators. What follows has never been published before. I am a journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University who was born after the assassination. I don't have the money to travel to New York City where I know of people who can testify that this 58-year-old man holds the key. In the limited time I have had to solicit media people who could expose this story, they have all dismissed the idea as libelous. The Washington Post and the New York Press (a free weekly) turned it down. My faculty has no pull.

So please, somebody, steal the following story! I'm a poor student who must prepare for final exams. Can you send this along to a journalist you know who can publish or broadcast it? He or she knows that the best defense against libel is the truth, which is:

The JFK assassination conspirators recruited Ron Pataky, now 58, to seduce and kill journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. Their motive was to prevent her from printing the truth about November 22, 1963 in her widely read newspaper. She had already published front-page stories in newspapers around the country implicating Chief Justice Earl Warren and the Justice Department in the cover-up. She worked closely with Mark Lane, a lawyer who in 1964/65 was working on his ground-breaking assassination book "Rush To Judgment." He gave Kilgallen leads for her news stories. In the fall of 1965, she told him and other friends that she was about to travel to Dallas, where she expected to find evidence that would break the JFK case wide open.

But on November 7, 1965, a newspaper columnist named Ron Pataky waited for his intimate friend Dorothy Kilgallen to arrive for a prearranged meeting in the cocktail lounge of New York's Regency Hotel. That night she appeared as usual as a panelist on the TV game show called "What's My Line?". Millions of people around North America saw her figure out the careers of two contestants as CBS broadcast the series live from 10:30 to 11:00 pm. She then joined Bob Bach, the producer of "What's My Line?", at a club called P.J. Clarke's, whose employees later admitted having seen her. After midnight, she left Bach to visit the cocktail lounge of the Regency Hotel (Park Ave. and 61st St.), whose employees have never admitted what they saw.

One Regency employee, Harvey Daniels (press agent), did tell a writer in 1976 that he saw Kilgallen enter the cocktail lounge at about 1:00 am on November 8. But he did not pay attention to where or with whom she sat. He left the building shortly thereafter. This writer who interviewed him is Ms. Lee Israel, a veteran magazine journalist whose conversations with Helen Gahagan Douglas and Katherine Hepburn had appeared in Esquire and Saturday Review. When Ms. Israel tried to interview other Regency employees for the Kilgallen book she was working on, the management (Loews Hotels) warned her away.

I found out earlier this month (November 1993) that several employees of the Regency who were on duty that night still work there. The only name I know is John Mahon, a bartender. He told me that he and various waiters and bellhops will talk if you clear it with Loews Hotels. The contact person, Debra Kelman, did NOT work there in 1976 when Loews told Lee Israel to keep away.

The direct line to Debra Kelman is 212-545-2833. On the phone she sounds too young to remember the assassination. But I don't have the money to stay in New York to interview anyone.

What could you get out of an interview with a Regency employee? Well, the official cause of Dorothy Kilgallen's death is an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol, "circumstances undetermined." I interviewed Ron Pataky and I believe he gave her a Mickey Finn in that hotel lounge. When Loews Hotels warned away Lee Israel in 1976, the media did not have the power it has today. Oprah Winfrey and cable TV had not yet come along, and the JFK assassination was still largely a taboo topic. Someone who approaches Loews and then bartender John Mahon and other Regency employees may get better results today.

You might wonder about contacting Ron Pataky. I already interviewed him on the phone for three hours and taped it. In the beginning of the conversation he became very upset when I asked about his frequent stays at the Regency in 1964/65. He then rambled on about his "close friendship" with Dorothy Kilgallen. He later admitted to talking to her on the phone long distance five times a week, often at three in the morning. He revealed that she made overseas calls to him from a vacation she made to Europe, and she sometimes used his Regency Hotel suite to change clothes before they painted the town in New York. He says he wrote the lead paragraph to one of her JFK articles. He first met her a year and five months before she died, but he denies that they had an affair.

(9) David Yarnell, Florence Smith: The Forgotten Witness (6th December, 2004)

John Simkin was right when he said Pataky was a newspaper critic trying to become a songwriter. Johnny Mathis did indeed record the Pataky composition "While Stephanie Sleeps," but it never appeared on an album.

Madisonville, Kentucky ? Longtime home of Katherine Stone Stevens. In 1965 Ms. Stevens sold dynamite to coal mines and quarries in Kentucky. She was in New York City the night Kilgallen died to appear as a What's My Line contestant. Kilgallen determined what her line was. After everyone left the studio, Ms. Stevens saw Kilgallen very absorbed in conversation with Pataky at the Regenc Hotel. They were NOT drunk. They were discussing "very serious business" in the words of Ms. Stevens.

Anyone near Scottsdale, Arizona? That's home to ex - cop John Doyle since 1980. Prior to that he operated a tavern / restaurant called Doyle's Terrace near LaGrangeville, New York. Lee Israel devotes two pages to him in the "epilogue" of her book. Lee told me by telephone that Doyle probably was dishonest during their 1977 interview. Consider that he claimed Kilgallen "was not long for this world, the liver being the way it was." Consider that four months after Kilgallen died, Doyle retired from the NYPD without a pension and opened an expensive restaurant in an expensive suburb near Vassar College.

Anyone here near Boca Raton, Florida ? That's the longtime home of Alvin Malnik, the attorney who represented Meyer Lansky until the latter's death in 1983. Malnik also represents small - time comedians like George Hopkins, a Kilgallen friend whom she plugged in her Voice of Broadway on April 15, 1964. Hopkins and Kilgallen were both guests on the "Nightlife" television talk show hosted by Les Crane on July 23, 1965.

When George Hopkins asked his lawyer Malnik about Kilgallen's death, Malnik replied that anyone who tries too hard to investigate it will get killed. He said Lee Israel came that close to getting killed, but "they" let her go with the hope that only conspiracy nuts will embrace her book.

(10) John Simkin and Lee Israel discussing Dorothy Kilgallen (20th December, 2005)

John Simkin: In your book you make a lot of Kilgallen’s relationship with the man you call the "Out-of-Towner". In fact, you imply that he was in some way involved in her death. Is it correct that the man’s name is really Ron Pataky?

Lee Israel: Yes.

John Simkin: Did you find any evidence that Ron Pataky was working for the CIA?

Lee Israel: No. Only that he dropped out of Stanford in 1954 and then enrolled in a training school for assassins in Panama or thereabouts.

John Simkin: Do you believe that Ron Pataky murdered Dorothy Kilgallen?

Lee Israel: He had something to do with it.

(11) Sarah Jordan, MidWest Today (21st October, 2007)

Then John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. Dorothy was devastated. Ten months before, she had taken her young son Kerry on a tour of the White House one Saturday. To their surprise, President Kennedy invited them into the Oval Office and was extraordinarily kind.

As a formidable crime reporter, Kilgallen immediately started asking tough questions of the authorities. She had a good contact within the Dallas Police Department, who gave her a copy of the original police log that chronicled the minute-by-minute activities of the department on the day of the assassination, as shown in the radio communications. This allowed her to report that the first reaction of Chief Jesse Curry to the shots in Dealey Plaza was: "Get a man on top of the overpass and see what happened up there." Kilgallen noted that he lied when he told reporters the next day that he initially thought the shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository.

Dorothy challenged the credibility of Howard Brennan (who supposedly gave police a description of the shooter). She wrote articles about how important witnesses had been intimidated by the Dallas police or FBI.

In the midst of her aggressive reportage on the Kennedy case, Dorothy met a man who was to intrigue her the last months of her life. He helped her on some of her JFK stories but ultimately was to come under suspicion by amateur sleuths as having been involved in her death. Questions about him were raised by Lee Israel, who wrote the 1979 biography "Kilgallen." She never printed his name, and referred to him only obliquely as "the Out-of-Towner." But he is Ron Pataky, and he was interviewed by Midwest Today publisher Larry Jordan.

Employed then as an entertainment writer for the Columbus Citizen-Journal, Ron first met Dorothy in June 1964 during a press junket for journalists covering the film industry. "[We were in] Salzburg [Austria] on the set of 'The Sound of Music.' And the bus had arrived at the set from the hotel," he recalls. "She walked up to the door of the bus and kind of tripped and I caught her by the elbow. She was on the outside of the bus. I looked at her and I said, 'Well, hello!' knowing instantly who it was. She said, 'Thank you very much. And who are you?' flirtatiously. She giggled a lot. She was giggling the first 30 seconds we ever talked and kind of charming. And I said 'What are you doing after we get off the [bus]?' And she said 'Nothing.' And we went and had drinks."

Over the next 17 months, Ron and Dorothy rendezvoused often. Sometimes she'd come to Ohio to see him, and he even took her to meet his mother. He'd frequently go to New York. "[We'd] shuck the rest of these phonies and go off and do our thing," Pataky explains. "We made trips together. We went to Florence together, we went to London together." Yet Pataky steadfastly insists that he and Dorothy were platonic. He says, "We'd kiss hello on the cheek if I was coming into town. But there was no goodnight kiss when I dropped her off, and I dropped her off a lot of times. Because it wasn't that kind of relationship. Never. Not even close. I had my girlfriends. She knew about them." Ron avows they had nothing to hide. He says that while they did openly meet at hotels "we never, ever spent any time in a hotel room."

But that's not what Marc Sinclaire claimed. Marc was Dorothy's chief hairdresser and confidant. Though he later found her body, he was never questioned by the police and never spoke out publicly. His remarks are published here for the first time anywhere.

He said that one Sunday night in February 1965, as he was doing Kilgallen's hair at her townhouse just before she left to do "What's My Line?", her married daughter, Jill, came by and confronted her mother. Jill "was very angry," Sinclaire alleged. She mentioned Ron Pataky by name and "said that she was highly infuriated because her mother was going out with this man and sleeping with him all over town, and she said, 'It's just too embarrassing to be seen in public with you.' And after she left, Dorothy cried. And she said, 'I don't know why Jill wants to behave this way. She knows about her father [and his indiscretions]. I've told her. And she knows a lot of other things.' " She vowed, "I will never see [Jill] in public again." And she never did.