AMERICAN HISTORY: Inauguration of President John F. Kennedy

Of the inauguration-eve gala Frank Sinatra (1915–1998) organized for his friend, President-elect Kennedy (1917–1963), columnist Russell Baker (b. 1925) wrote that it “may have been the most stunning assembly of theatrical talent ever brought together for a single show.” Kennedy, Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson (1908–1973), and Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) took part in an extravaganza that included Ethel Merman (1908–1984), Sir Laurence Olivier (1907–1989), Anthony Quinn (1915–2001), Sidney Poitier (b. 1927), Fredric March (1897–1975), Harry Belafonte (b. 1927), Mahalia Jackson (1911–1972), and many others. Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990) conducted the seventy-piece band.


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