Lee Harvey Oswald FAQ

By W. Tracy Parnell

© 2002


When and where was Oswald born?


Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO) was born in the old French Hospital in New Orleans on October 18, 1939.


Who were LHO's parents and siblings?


His parents were Robert E. Lee Oswald (who died shortly before his birth) and Marguerite Claverie Oswald. LHO had two brothers-Robert born in 1934, and John Pic (a half brother from Marguerite's previous marriage) born in 1932.


What was LHO's childhood like?


In some ways, LHO had a childhood that was typical considering his family's social and economic level and the time period. However, it differed from the norm in a few significant areas. Lee and his brothers were placed in an orphanage at an early age because their mother, Marguerite, was unable (or perhaps unwilling) to care for them. Lee entered the home when he was three years old and stayed for two years. What effect this had on him will never be fully known but his brothers told the Warren Commission that it made them feel unwanted. Young Oswald also grew up without the benefit of a father figure his own father having died before he was born.


There is considerable evidence to indicate that LHO's relationship with his mother was the primary cause of many of his problems later in life. Marguerite Oswald was a self-centered woman who always felt that life had given her the short end of the stick. According to Robert, money was her "God" and despite her claims of poverty she seems to have made significant profits in Real Estate.


LHO lived a nomadic life having moved 21 times from the time he was born until he left home to enter the military. His brothers were often away at military school leaving he and his mother as the only household members. His mother Marguerite had always favored him and spoiled young Lee to a fault. There is, for example, evidence that they shared the same bed until LHO was almost eleven. However, Marguerite was also a working mother and she left Lee alone for hours on end to fend for himself. Lee probably felt conflicted and somewhat rejected by his mother's behavior and he withdrew into his own world which consisted mostly of reading or watching TV. He preferred this to being with other children and had few friends a pattern that carried over into his adult life.


As he grew older, Lee began a pattern of behavior in which he assumed the role of "head of the household". He gave orders to his mother and sometimes even struck her when he became angry. On other occasions he threatened family members with a knife. At one point after a misguided move by Marguerite to New York (where she hoped her oldest son John would support herself and Lee) he was declared a truant and remanded to a home for problem juveniles. There he was diagnosed as having "personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies". He was placed on probation and ordered to report periodically to the court system. But Marguerite thought she knew what was best for her son and they fled the "Big Apple" for New Orleans.


Although LHO fared somewhat better after returning to Louisiana (and later Texas) than he had in New York city the damage to his psyche had apparently been done. He joined the Marines at the age of seventeen as his brother John put it, "to get out and under … (t)he yoke of oppression from  my mother."


Did LHO kill JFK and if so why?


The weight of the available evidence indicates that LHO (acting alone) did indeed kill Kennedy. Because of the untimely murder of LHO by Jack Ruby, we will never know for certain his motive for this crime. However, the following list of motives is based on solid evidence:


  1. There is evidence that suggests that LHO was emotionally unbalanced and acted against JFK at least partly because of this factor. Oswald was diagnosed with ""personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive - aggressive tendencies" at the age of thirteen. The fact that LHO physically and verbally abused his wife Marina adds to this picture of instability.
  2. According to those who knew him and to certain writings attributed to him, LHO had a desire to be recognized as a prominent individual. In the mind of someone who is probably disturbed, the assassination of a public figure would achieve this end. It should be noted here that LHO (according to evidence developed by the Warren Commission) tried to kill prominent right-wing figure General Edwin Walker earlier in 1963 thereby establishing a tendency to act violently.
  3. It is now known that John and Bobby Kennedy waged a secret war against Cuban dictator Fidel Castro that included assassination plots. Whether or not LHO (who was fervently pro-Castro) could have learned of these plots is an open question, however, it is likely that he was angered by the JFK's general policy toward Cuba. It is also likely that he read a speech by Castro that hinted at the plots against him and called for retaliatory action. It is conceivable then, that LHO killed JFK to impress Castro and gain entry into Cuba (he tried to obtain a visa to travel there shortly before the assassination) where he may have hoped to live as a hero. For a detailed study of this thesis see Live by the Sword by Gus Russo.


For more information see the following:


Lee Harvey Oswald’s Motives by Mel Ayton

The Oswald Agenda by Jerry Organ


What movies are based on LHO and/or the assassination of JFK?



Fatal Deception

The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald

Executive Action


How accurate is the Oliver Stone film JFK?


Unfortunately, not very accurate at all. For a complete list of problems with the film see the excellent page by John McAdams at:


John McAdams JFK Page


I also recommend the fine page by Dave Reitzes at:


The JFK 100


Who played LHO in the 1991 film JFK?


British actor Gary Oldman.


What film was playing at the theater where LHO was captured?


"War is Hell" starring Audie Murphy was the film LHO was watching when he was captured at the Texas Theater.


What ever happened to LHO's family?


LHO's mother, Marguerite died in 1981. His brother, Robert, lives in Wichita Falls Texas. He believes that Lee was guilty of JFK's murder and blames his mother in part. Robert has lived a model life and has made a few media appearances recently. Despite the stigma of being the brother of an assassin, he maintains a quiet dignity that has earned him the admiration of many. LHO's half-brother, John Pic, is deceased.


LHO's daughters, June and Rachael took the surname of their stepfather, Kenneth Porter, in 1965. This helped them to remain somewhat anonymous while growing up in Texas, although they still endured the stigma of being the offspring of the assassin of JFK.


According to a 1995 article, June keeps a low profile and works in business. She uses her married name (undisclosed) and tries to protect her own children from the controversy. She manages to keep a sense of humor and mentioned that she enjoyed the "second spitter" episode of Seinfeld, which parodies the Single Bullet theory.


A Texas Monthly article also from 1995, reported that Rachael worked for seven years as a waitress while putting herself through nursing school and went on to find employment in that field. She seemed to be the more conspiracy-oriented of the two girls and enjoyed meeting Oliver Stone during the making of his film JFK


Marina Oswald, the wife of Lee Harvey, has changed her stance on the assassination several times over the years, often apparently due to influence by whatever book or theory is in vogue. She now believes that her husband was innocent. She still lives in Texas.


How much did LHO's funeral cost and who paid the bill?


According to a document from Miller Funeral Home who handled the arrangements, the total cost of $710.00 was paid by Robert Oswald, Lee's brother.


Who is Nick Beef and what was his connection to LHO?


The name "Nick Beef" appears on a headstone near the grave of LHO. JFK Researcher Barb Junkkarinen offers the following explanation that first appeared in a newsgroup post:

"According to the folks in the black suits at the cemetery office, Nick Beef is the stage name of a comedian who bought the plot and had a headstone with that name installed. In his act, he apparently tells people that if they want to find Oswald's grave (which info the cemetery office will not give out)...just ask for Nick Beef instead and you will find Oswald. Only thing is...now they won't tell people where Nick Beef's grave is either! Once the cemetery folks realized a group of us (Arthur and Margaret Snyder, Bill Hamley, and myself) who were out there already knew where Oswald's grave was and were just curious about Nick Beef, they told us the story. Of additional note" Marguerite is buried on the other side of Oswald.... sans headstone."


Where can I find directions to Oswald's grave?


Right Here!


What were the circumstances of Jack Ruby's Death?


Ruby died in 1967 from cancer-related complications (blood clot). Some theorists maintain that Ruby was injected with cancer cells but this is medically impossible.


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