George Harrison and Brian Epstein (1965)

Photo by: Leslie Bryce

Jock McLean, who worked as an assistant to George Harrison 50 years ago, noticed the depth of the relationship between the Beatles and Mr. Epstein one August day not long before the manager’s death. Mr. McLean’s job was to pick up the singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, a promising new artist in those days, and drive him to a meeting with Mr. Harrison at the house he was renting on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills, Calif.

There was talk of Mr. Nilsson perhaps joining the Beatles’ nascent company. That’s when things went sour, Mr. McLean said.

“George was talking about how wonderful the whole thing was going to be, trying to convince Harry to join the company,” Mr. McLean recalled. “It was all great until Harry said, ‘The only thing is, I don’t think I could be managed by a gay man.’” (Mr. Epstein’s sexuality was known by many in the industry at the time.)

Incensed, Mr. Harrison gave his assistant a nod.

“In a heartbeat, Harry was out of the house,” Mr. McLean said. “George, like all the Beatles, was extremely supportive of Brian. To them, Brian was the man.” (After Mr. Epstein died, Mr. Nilsson had a rapprochement with the band and worked closely with John Lennon.)

- Jim Farber, “The Gay Architects of Classic Rock”, The NYT (Oct. 2017) 

“Truman Capote ran into Kennedy in the street sternly lecturing two small boys he caught smoking cigarettes. The boys had to swear never to smoke again. “It was as if he was some sort of avenging angel who had fallen out of heaven upon them,” recalled Capote. The boys promised and ran down the street, until one swung around and asked, “Can I have your autograph, Mr. Kennedy?” In a time of moral uncertainty, Kennedy did not lose sight of the right thing to do. The real question was whether he could summon the courage to do it.” — Robert Kennedy: His Life


Bobby walking with children and Manhattan borough president Edward R. Dudley during a trip to Harlem, New York c. 1967.