Kitty Kelley

Kitty Kelley

American journalist and author
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Kitty Kelly
  2. Early Life
  3. Career
  4. Personal Life
  5. Controversial Biographies

Biography of Kitty Kelly

Kitty Kelly is an American journalist and author known for her controversial and unauthorized biographies of famous personalities. She has been described as a "gossipmonger" and the spreader of rumors and innuendos among the rich and famous. Despite criticism, Kelly considers herself a "shameless advocate for transparency" and believes in the freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Kitty Kelley

Early Life

Kitty Kelly, whose full name is Katherine Kelly, was born on April 4, 1942. She is the eldest child of Adelle and William Vincent Kelly, a lawyer. Growing up, Kelly helped take care of her five sisters and brother, John. According to George Carpozi Jr.'s biography "Poison Pen," in 1962, Kelly left the University of Arizona under suspicion of theft. Her parents refused to let her live with them and sent her to Seattle to live with her maternal grandparents. During this time, her health deteriorated, and she relied on a wheelchair for some time. After an eight-month break from school, Kelly enrolled at the University of Washington, where she earned her bachelor's degree.

Kitty Kelley


In 1964, Kelly worked at the New York World's Fair and became the press secretary for Senator Eugene McCarthy. After four years in politics, she spent two years gathering materials for the editorial page of the Washington Post. Since then, Kelly has been an independent writer, with her articles appearing in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, People, Los Angeles Times, and more.

Kitty Kelley

Personal Life

In 1976, Kitty Kelly married Michael Edgley, the head of media for the National Council on Aging. Edgley later quit his job to help with Kelly's first books. It is claimed that he rummaged through Elizabeth Taylor's and her then-husband Senator John Warner's trash. Edgley and Kelly divorced in 1989. She remarried in 1992 to Dr. John Zucker, an allergist from the District of Columbia. Zucker passed away in 2011.

Controversial Biographies

Kitty Kelly's first breakthrough came in 1978 with the biography "Jackie Oh!," which focused on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The book, commissioned by Lyle Stuart, became a New York Times bestseller. In this biography, Kelly depicted John F. Kennedy's romantic escapades and provided candid details about Onassis's love life, depression, and electroshock therapy. However, Lyle Stuart later admitted that he had been deceived by Kelly and that many of the stories turned out to be fabricated.

In 1981, Kelly published "Elizabeth Taylor: The Last Star," followed by "His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra" in 1986, which was hailed as an act of bravery. "His Way" topped the New York Times bestseller list and sold successfully in England, Canada, Australia, and France.

In 1990, Kelly wrote an article for People magazine based on an interview with Judith Campbell Exner, a former girlfriend of Frank Sinatra, who claimed to have had an affair with John F. Kennedy. However, it was later revealed that Exner was terminally ill, and she was paid $50,000 for the interview. Furthermore, Exner's own autobiography did not mention Kennedy's involvement with the mafia, as Kelly's article suggested.

In 1991, Kelly released "Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography," for which she received $3.5 million. The book claimed that Nancy Reagan had an affair with Sinatra, relied heavily on astrology, lied about her age, and had a troubled relationship with her children. The article in Newsweek stated that, despite the salacious claims, Kelly used some accurate information as the basis for her story.

In 2010, Kelly published an unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey titled "Oprah: A Biography," which created a significant buzz in the celebrity world. Oprah Winfrey dismissed the book as a "so-called biography."

In November 2012, Kelly presented "Capturing Camelot: Stanley Tretick's Iconic Images of the Kennedys," a book about the relationship between photographer Stanley Tretick and John F. Kennedy.

Throughout her career, Kitty Kelly has received various awards, including the Oakland Censorship Award from the PEN International Writers' Association and recognition from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for her fearless writing on popular culture.