Ruby as a Person

Police Associations

Although the precise nature of his relationship to members of the Dallas Police Department is not susceptible of conclusive evaluation, the evidence indicates that Ruby was keenly interested in policemen and their work. Jesse Curry, chief of the Dallas Police Department, testified that no more than 25 to 50 of Dallas' almost 1,200 policemen were acquainted with Ruby. However, the reports of present and past members of the Dallas Police Department as well as Ruby's employees and acquaintances indicate that Ruby's police friendships were far more widespread than those of the average citizen.

There is no credible evidence that Ruby sought special favors from police officers or attempted to bribe them. Although there is considerable evidence that Ruby gave policemen reduced rates, declined to exact any cover charge from them, and gave them free coffee and soft drinks, this hospitality was not unusual for a Dallas night-club operator. Ruby's personal attachment to police officers is demonstrated by reports that he attended the funeral of at least one policeman killed in action and staged a benefit performance for the widow of another. Ruby regarded several officers as personal friends, and others had worked for him. Finally, at least one policeman regularly dated, and eventually married, one of the Carousel's strippers.

Underworld Ties

From the time that Ruby arrived in Dallas in 1947, he was friendly with numerous underworld figures. One of his earliest Dallas acquaintances was Paul Roland Jones, who was convicted of attempting to bribe the sheriff of Dallas and engaging in the sale of narcotics. Joe Bonds, one of Ruby's partners in the Vegas Club, had a criminal record.

Ruby, who enjoyed card playing and horse racing, was friendly with several professional gamblers. In 1959, he visited Cuba at the invitation and expense of Lewis McWillie, a professional gambler. Alice Nichols reported that Ruby's refusal to give up gambling was one reason why she never seriously considered marrying him. When Sidney Seidband, a Dallas gambler, was arrested in Oklahoma City, his list of gambling acquaintances included Jack Ruby. And other friends of Ruby have been identified as gamblers. Finally, two persons of questionable reliability have reported that Ruby's consent was necessary before gambling or narcotics operations could be launched in Dallas.

Based on its evaluation of the record, however, the Commission believes that the evidence does not establish a significant link between Ruby and organized crime. Both State and Federal officials have indicated that Ruby was not affiliated with organized criminal activity. And numerous persons have reported that Ruby was not connected with such activity.


Despite reports that Ruby visited Havana, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Honolulu, and Mexican border towns, most of his time subsequent to 1947 was spent in Dallas. Some of his travels, including, his efforts in behalf of "Little Daddy" Nelson and his visit to New Orleans in June 1963 have been discussed. Ruby stated that he went to Chicago in 1952, in 1958 when his father died, and in August 1963 when he met members of his family at O'Hare International Airport while en route from New York to Dallas. His August trip to New York motivated by his difficulties with the American Guild of Variety Artists and his desire to obtain talent, has been completely established by hotel records. Early in 1963 Ruby also traveled to Wichita, Kans., because of his interest in stripper Gall Raven, and on May 25, 1963, he apparently registered in an Oklahoma motel.

Although Ruby denies being in Las Vegas after 1937, there are unsupported rumors that he was in that city in late 1962, and the early part of November 1963. Reports that he was in Las Vegas during the weekend prior to the assassination appear similarly unfounded.

There is some uncertainty about Ruby's trip to Havana, Cuba, in 1959. The evidence indicates that he accepted an invitation from gambler Lewis J. McWillie, who subsequently became a violent anti-Castroite, to visit Havana at McWillie's expense. Ruby apparently met McWillie in about 1950, when McWillie operated a Dallas night-club. McWillie, whom Ruby said he idolized, supervised gambling activities at Havana's Tropicana Hotel in 1959 and later was employed in a managerial capacity in a Las Vegas gambling establishment. Ruby testified that he went to Havana for 8 days in August 1959 and left because he was not interested in its gambling activities. McWillie corroborated this story except that he stated only that Ruby visited Havana "sometime in 1959." Three Chicagoans reported seeing Ruby in Havana during the Labor Day weekend in 1959. Meyer Panitz, an acquaintance of McWillie, reported that when he met Ruby in Miami during the "summer of 1959" Ruby stated that he was returning from a pleasure trip to Cuba. The theory that the trip to Havana had conspiratorial implications is discussed in chapter VI. There is no reliable evidence that Ruby went to Havana subsequent to September 1959.

Although Ruby denied ever being in Hawaii, there is some evidence that during the summer of 1961 he was in Honolulu seeking dancing talent. While it is unlikely that Ruby would forget a trip to Honolulu in 1961, there is no other indication that such a trip, if it occurred, had any sinister motives.

Character and Interests

Family Relationships

As mentioned previously, Eva Grant was the only member of the family living in Dallas when Ruby returned to that city in late 1947. In 1948, she returned to the west coast, visiting Dallas sporadically until 1959, when she assumed management of the Vegas. Despite their recurring arguments, during which they sometimes came to blows, Ruby was closer to Eva than any of his brothers or sisters. In the summer of 1963, Eva complained bitterly to Ruby because he gave a friend about $800 instead of paying Vegas Club bills. Eva, citing her poor healthy stated that she should be hospitalized. Ruby rejoined that he had provided her money to enter a hospital. He then shoved her, causing her to fall back about 8 feet and hurt her arm and shoulder. At this point Ruby insisted he wanted her to leave the Vegas Club.

Ruby frequently told Eva to submit to an operation and in early November 1963 she consented. She was hospitalized for a week, leaving about November 13. While she was in the hospital, Jack called Earl and Sam, requesting them to convey their concern to Eva. According to Eva, Jack visited her at the hospital two or three times a day. He kept in constant touch with her throughout the weekend of November 22. Sam Ruby moved to Dallas from Chicago in July 1955, after selling his interest in the Earl Products Co. His son's asthma and Eva's suggestion that he work as a builder in Dallas prompted the move. Apparently as a result of difficulties in collecting the $5,500 Sam loaned Jack in 1955 to pay Federal excise taxes, Jack and Sam were never particularly close to each other. However, Sam entered into a partnership in an unsuccessful ice cream business with Jack's close friend, Ralph Paul. Jack visited Sam and his family occasionally, especially on Jewish holidays, and from time to time they spoke to each other by telephone.

Jack had sporadic contacts with his brother Earl, who remained in Chicago until about 1960, when he moved to Detroit. The most successful of the brothers, Earl often gave Jack business advice and capital. He estimated, perhaps conservatively, that, when arrested, Jack owed him $15,000. The evidence also indicates that Jack borrowed at least $1,000, and probably more, from his sister Marion in Chicago.

Social Relationships

There have been statements that Ruby was a homosexual. The available evidence does not support the allegation. There is no evidence of homosexuality on his part; Ruby did not frequent known gathering places for homosexuals, many of the reports were inherently suspect or based upon questionable or inaccurate premises, and Ruby and most of his associates and employees denied the charge. All the allegations were based on hearsay or derive from Ruby's lisp or a "feeling" that Ruby was a "sissy," seemed "weird," acted effeminately, and sometimes spoke in a high-pitched voice when angry. Some proceeded upon the erroneous theory that Ruby did not date women.

For the better part of 11 years, Ruby dated Mrs. Alice Reaves Nichols, a blonde divorcee, 4 years younger than he. Mrs. Nichols, secretary to a Dallas life insurance company executive, testified that she saw Ruby twice a week between 1948 and 1956, and once a week from then until about 1959. Ruby discussed marriage with Mrs. Nichols, but Mrs. Nichols stated that while dating Ruby she was seeing other men and he was taking out other women. Although there are sharply conflicting reports about whether Ruby dated women who worked for him, the record indicates that Ruby sought and enjoyed feminine company.

Affection for Dogs

Ruby was extremely fond of dogs. Numerous persons stated that he was constantly accompanied by several of the dogs he owned. Testimony at Ruby's trial in March 1964 indicated that he referred to his dogs as his "children." He also became extremely incensed when he witnessed the maltreatment of any of his dogs.

Religious Interests

Reared in the Jewish faith, Jack Ruby was not especially devout. Rabbi Hillel Silverman, whose conservative temple Ruby favored, reported that when Ruby's father died in 1958, Ruby came to services twice daily for the prescribed period of 11 months to recite the traditional memorial prayer. Ruby normally attended services only on the Jewish high truly days and he was quite unfamiliar with the Hebrew language.

Ruby was apparently somewhat sensitive to his identity as a Jew. He forbade his comedians to tell stories directed at Jews or Jewish practices and, on several occasions after 1947, he fought with persons making derogatory remarks about his ethnic origins. The evidence also indicates that he was deeply upset that an advertisement insulting President Kennedy appeared above a Jewish-sounding name.

Physical Activities and Violence

While in Dallas, Ruby continued attempts to keep in excellent physical condition. He frequently exercised at the YMCA, the Carousel, and his apartment, where he maintained a set of weights. Ruby was extremely concerned about his weight and health, including his baldness, and about his appearance in general.

Ruby's concern for his physical well-being was partially motivated by practical considerations, for he was his own unofficial club bouncer. On about 15 occasions since 1950, he beat with his fists, pistol whipped, or blackjacked patrons who became unruly. At other times, he ejected troublesome customers without a beating, in many instances, justifiably. However, many people stated that he employed more force than necessary, particularly because he often ended a fracas by throwing his victim down the stairs of the Carousel.

Besides acting as a bouncer, Ruby on numerous other occasions severely beat people who were not club patrons, usually employing only his fists. Several of these episodes have been discussed in connection with Ruby's relationship with his employees. In 1951, Ruby attacked a man who had called him a "kike Jew" and knocked out a tooth. At about that time Ruby is also reported to have knocked a man down from behind and then to have kicked him in the face. In about 1958, Ruby disarmed a man who had drawn a gun on him at the Vegas, beat him almost to death, put the gun back in the man's pocket, and threw him down the stairs. In 1958, Ruby reportedly knocked down a man at the Vegas who was 6'3" tall and weighed 230 pounds. Ruby was approximately 5'9" tall and weighed about 175 pounds. Ruby then made the man, who had slapped his date, crawl out of the club. In a fight at the Vegas, reportedly witnessed by policemen, Ruby severely beat a heavyweight boxer who had threatened him.

During 1962, several violent episodes occurred. Ruby beat a man who refusal to pay admission or leave and then shoved him down the stairs. He "jostled" a woman down the stairs of the Carousel and struck her escort, who was "much smaller" than he. On one occasion, Ruby picked up a man who was arguing with his date, knocked him to the floor, cursed him, and then removed him from the Vegas. When a cabdriver entered the Carousel and inquired about a patron who had neglected to pay his fare, Ruby struck the cabdriver.

In February 1963, Ruby badly beat Don Tabon, who had made some remarks about Ruby's lady companion, injuring Tabon's eye. Ruby was acquitted of a charge of assault and Tabon sought no monetary relief because he believed Ruby financially incapable of satisfying any resulting judgment. A doctor who went to the Carousel several times between August and November 1963, stated that on each occasion Ruby ejected someone from the club.

Buddy Turman, a prizefighter and Ruby's friend, stated that Ruby "picked his shots." According to Turman, a bouncer at the Vegas for about a year, Ruby's victim was frequently drunk, female, or otherwise incapable of successfully resisting Ruby's attack. The evidence indicates that, unlike his youthful escapades, Ruby was often malicious. He frequently felt contrite, however, when his anger had passed or when his victim was an old acquaintance, and he would seek to make amends for his violent temper.

With two exceptions, there is no evidence that Ruby settled disputes with firearms. Shortly before Joe Bonds' conviction in 1954, Ruby is reported to have chased Bonds with a pistol. And, Larry Crafard reported that about a week before the assassination, Ruby told him to get Ruby's gun so that an AGVA official and former employee, Earl Norman, could be ejected. Although Ruby did not often use his gun, it was frequently accessible when he was carrying large amounts of money.

Generosity to Friends and the Need for Recognition

While Ruby often flared up and acted aggressively, he seemed to calm down or forget his anger quickly, and there is also a great deal of evidence that he was extremely generous to his friends. He loaned money to them and apparently cared little whether the loans would be repaid. He was quick to offer employment to persons desperately in need of a job and he lent considerable aid to persons seeking work elsewhere. Moreover, when friends or new acquaintances had no roof over their heads, Ruby's apartment was frequently theirs to share.

Ruby's unusual generosity may be explained in part by his extremely emotional reaction to persons in distress, which may have resulted from his firsthand familiarity with poverty, and by his unusual craving to be recognized and relied upon. Many of Ruby's acquaintances described him as a "publicity hound," "glad hander," and "name dropper," one always seeking to be the center of attention. Apparently the "egocentrism" of his youth never left Ruby. Yet, frequently he sought reassurance from persons he admired.

Source: Warren Commission Report