Henry Kissinger became an unlikely media star during his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations, frequently appearing on magazine covers and front pages and attaining man-about-town status.
Press attention at the time focused as much on the intrigue over his personal life as it did his role shaping American foreign policy. Mr. Kissinger was often a cover star of Time Magazine, appearing on the front of the magazine 15 times while he was in office, the first just weeks after he joined the Nixon administration as national security adviser in 1969. He shared the title of Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 1972 with President Richard Nixon, to Mr. Nixon’s reported dismay.
Mr. Kissinger was adept at schmoozing reporters, enjoying a close relationship with many. He received a number of affectionate nicknames in the press, such as “Henry the K” and “super secretary.” A 1974 cover of Newsweek magazine depicted him as a superhero, bearing the headline “It’s Super-K!”.
Despite his short stature and glasses, Mr. Kissinger was seen as a sex symbol during the 1970s, with gossip columns devoting inches to the actresses he was seen with. His reputation as “the Playboy of the Western Wing” was something he helped to cultivate, telling Sally Quinn, then a society reporter for The Washington Post, “why don’t you assume I’m a secret swinger?” In a 1971 profile of Mr. Kissinger in WWD, headlined “I Wonder Who Is Kissing Now,” Mr. Kissinger compliments the reporter’s hot pants.
He put an end to the rumors of dalliances with starlets in 1974, when he wed Nancy Maginnes. Their wedding made the front page of The New York Times, which noted that while there had been rumors of upcoming nuptials, Mr. Kissinger “gave no indication that he was about to be married when he met with newsmen shortly before noon today to comment on his talks yesterday and this morning with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan of Israel.” The newlyweds were captured in a photo by The Associated Press after their wedding before they left to honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico.
The post On Duty and Off, Kissinger Proved Mesmerizing as a Media Figure appeared first on New York Times.