- NAME: Pierre Salinger
- OCCUPATION: U.S. Representative, Journalist
- BIRTH DATE: June 14, 1925
- DEATH DATE: October 16, 2004
- Did You Know?: A child prodigy on the piano, Pierre Salinger gave a concert when he was 6 years old.
- EDUCATION: San Francisco State College, University of San Francisco
- PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, California
- PLACE OF DEATH: Cavaillon, France
- Full Name: Pierre Emil George Salinger
- AKA: Pierre Salinger
Best Known For
Pierre Salinger served as presidential press secretary to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 1970s, he resumed his career as a journalist in Europe.
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Born on June 14, 1925, in San Francisco, California, Pierre Salinger worked as an investigative journalist before serving as presidential press secretary for both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He briefly filled a vacancy in the U.S. Senate, then returned to journalism in the early 1970s, eventually becoming the Paris bureau chief for ABC News. He died in France on October 16, 2004.
"As much as I liked and admired the various members of the Kennedy family, my first loyalty was to Jackie."
Pierre Emil George Salinger, known as Pierre Salinger, was born June 14, 1925, in San Francisco, California. One of four boys, Salinger was the product of smart, driven parents. His father, who died when Salinger was in his teens, worked as a mining engineer, while his mother, a native of France, was an acclaimed journalist.
A bright and precocious child, Salinger became fluent in his mother's native tongue as a boy, and never lost his ability to speak French. His first love was music and his talent on the piano was such that he was widely considered a prodigy. By the time he was 6 years old, he had given his first recital.
Concerned that a high-pressure concert schedule might adversely affect his young mind, Salinger's parents prohibited further public performances. Instead, he continued with private lessons. He also concentrated on his studies, and started high school when he was 11 years old.
Following his graduation from high school, Salinger briefly studied at San Francisco State College before enlisting in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He became the commander of a submarine chaser in the Pacific, then returned to California after the war. He enrolled at the University of San Francisco, where he graduated with a degree in journalism.
In 1947, the San Francisco Chronicle hired Salinger as an investigative journalist. He later worked for Collier's magazine. Salinger thrived in undercover work, most notably pretending to be homeless in order to get arrested so he could do a series of stories about prison abuses.
In 1956, Salinger researched and wrote several stories that exposed some of the dealings of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. The pieces attracted the attention of Robert Kennedy, who soon hired Salinger to work as an investigator on the U.S. Senate's anti-racketeering committee.
Salinger's tenaciousness appealed to Robert Kennedy, while his oversized personality served as a point of attraction for Senator John F. Kennedy. Worldly, witty, with a preference for fine cigars and a weakness for women, Salinger shared many common interests with the future president.
In 1959, Salinger went to work for John F. Kennedy; in 1961, at the age of 35, he became the youngest-ever presidential press secretary. Salinger's understanding of television's increasing influence on the world of politics helped set the tone for the Kennedy administration.
Salinger traveled with the president on several high-level trips, including the 1961 meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna. Throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis, Salinger stayed involved in the meetings that outlined the difficult choices the United States was facing.
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