Marina Oswald Porter

Marina Oswald Porter Biography

Marina Oswald Porter was the Russian-born wife of Lee Harvey Oswald, John F. Kennedy's accused assassin. She later remarried and became a U.S. citizen.


Marina Oswald Porter was born on July 17, 1941, in Molotovsk (now Severodvinsk), Russia. In 1961, she met and married Lee Harvey Oswald, an American who had defected to the Soviet Union. She came to the United States with him the next year, and was still married to Oswald when he allegedly assassinated President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Later, Marina married again and became an American citizen.

Early Life

Marina Oswald Porter was born Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova on July 17, 1941, in Molotovsk (now Severodvinsk), Russia. She was raised by her maternal grandmother during World War II, as her single mother needed to work. After the war, Marina lived in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) with her mother and stepfather.

Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald

Marina's mother died in 1957; at age 18, she went to live with relatives in Minsk. There, in March 1961, she met Lee Harvey Oswald, an American who had defected to the Soviet Union. The two married on April 30, 1961. Soon after the wedding, Oswald spoke to the U.S. embassy about returning to the United States with his new wife.

In February 1962, Marina and Oswald had a daughter, June. Later that year, the small family managed to leave the Soviet Union. They ended up in Texas, where Marina had to deal with a lack of resources—Oswald never held a job for long—as well as his rages and violence toward her. Saying he wanted to keep practicing Russian, he also discouraged Marina from learning English.

A pregnant Marina chose to live with a friend, Ruth Paine, in Irving, Texas, while Oswald looked for work. Even when he got a job at the Texas Book Depository, he stayed in Dallas during the week, usually visiting Irving on weekends. Marina gave birth to the couple's second child, Rachel, in October 1963.

JFK Assassination

On November 22, 1963, shots fired from the Texas Book Depository killed President John F. Kennedy. Oswald came under suspicion when he was absent from an employee roll call at the Depository and was arrested soon afterward. While being transferred to the county jail on November 24, 1963, he was killed by Jack Ruby.

Marina buried her husband, then had to face official questioning. However, although Oswald had visited Marina the day before the assassination, and had stored his rifle in Paine's garage, she was not implicated in the crime.

Remaking Her Life

Following the assassination, Marina and her daughters were assisted by donations of approximately $60,000. In 1965, she married Kenneth Porter; with Porter, she had a third child, Mark. Marina also mastered English and became a U.S. citizen.

Since marrying Porter, Marina has lived in the Dallas suburbs, usually avoiding the spotlight. She did collaborate on a book about her life with Oswald, Marina and Lee (1977). And though she told the Warren Commission that she believed Oswald had killed the president, Marina later revealed that she had changed her mind and thought her husband had been set up.

Marina was unwilling to give interviews tied to the 50th anniversary of the assassination. However, she had Oswald's wedding ring auctioned off, along with a note containing the line: "At this time of my life I don't wish to have Lee's ring in my possession because symbolicly [sic] I want to let go of my past that is connecting with November 22, 1963."

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