Fifty-five years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas,Texas. The reporter for Life Magazine who was able to get the famous Zapruder film of the tragic killing, is now here in New Mexico and lives to tell his story.
“I knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was very young, 12 years old,” said Richard Stolley.
He’s told many stories, but it’s his coverage of the assassination of President Kennedy, he still tells to this day.
“In many ways it was just another story, I mean the biggest story of my life,” said Stolley.
In 1963, Stolley was a reporter for Life Magazine and was flown from Los Angeles to Dallas to cover the assassination.
“When people find out, as they often do, that I was involved in it, then they say, tell me the story,” said Stolley.
He tracked down and got all rights to the famous Zapruder film — the only footage that actually captured the shot that killed President Kennedy.
“He saw through that tiny range finder exactly, all his faculties focused on what happened,” said Stolley in a documentary on his coverage of the tragic event.
Of all the reporters pounding on his door, Abraham Zapruder gave all rights to his film to Stolley for a whopping $150,000.
“I wasn’t gonna leave without it,” he said.
Now 90 years old, Stolley still writes stories, and even though the assassination of President Kennedy is the darkest he’s helped tell, it’s one he never gets tired of sharing.
“I mean the fascination in America, and the world for that matter, about Jack Kennedy and the way he died after 55 years still seems to be intense,” said Stolley.
Stolley moved from New York to New Mexico and currently lives at Brookdale in Santa Fe. He said the last story he wrote was for his local paper.