Seth Kantor

Seth Kantor

Seth Kantor was born on 9th January, 1926. During the Second World War Kantor served in the United States Marines. After the war he became a journalist and worked for several newspapers including the Fort Worth Press, Denver Rocky Mountain News, Lamar Daily News, the Pueblo Chieftain, and Dallas Times Herald.

While working in Dallas he became friendly with Jack Ruby who supplied him with the material for several stories that appeared in his newspaper.

Kantor was in the presidential motorcade when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza. He arrived at Parkland Hospital while Kennedy was receiving medical care. Kantor testified before the Warren Commission that while in the hospital he entered into a conversation with Jack Ruby. It has been suggested that Ruby might have been involved in tampering with the evidence. Ruby denied he had been at the hospital and the Warren Commission decided to believe him rather than Kantor.

After the Kennedy assassination, Kantor worked for the Scripps-Howard newspaper group in Washington. Later he worked as a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution and the Detroit News. In 1974 Kantor won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Professional Journalism Society Medallion.

In his book Who Was Jack Ruby? (1978), Kantor examines the reasons why the Warren Commission seemed to be unwilling to carry out "an in-depth probe of Ruby's past". Kantor also provides information that suggests that Ruby was "allowed" into the Dallas Police Station so that he could kill Lee Harvey Oswald. This was reissued as The Ruby Cover-Up (1992).

Seth Kantor died of a heart attack in Washington on 17th August, 1993.

Primary Sources

(1) Seth Kantor was interviewed by Burt W. Griffin, on behalf of the Warren Commission (2nd June, 1964)

Burt W. Griffin: During those months, did you have occasion to meet Jack Ruby?

Seth Kantor: Yes.

Burt W. Griffin: Had you met him before September 1960?

Seth Kantor: No; I had not.

Burt W. Griffin:When did you first meet Mr. Ruby?

Seth Kantor: Well, it was within a very few months after I joined the Times Herald. I was a feature writer for the paper. I think by nature of the stories that I wrote, I sort of attracted Jack Ruby. He came up to my desk one day and introduced himself and said that he owned a club or clubs in town, and that he thought he might have some stories for me from time to time, and he did. Over the next several months, he provided me with maybe as many as half-a-dozen feature stories, on characters in town.

Burt W. Griffin: Can you tell us what those stories are?

Seth Kantor: One was with an entertainer in his club, a lady who managed to charm snakes while she was stripping. She was also a housewife in the suburbs by day.

Burt W. Griffin: Was that story published?

Seth Kantor: Oh, yes.

Burt W. Griffin: Why don't you just go through these 6 stories, if you would, and tell us what they were, and if they were or were not published.

Seth Kantor: Well, each was published. I might have some difficulty remembering them at this point. I remember a limbo dancer who he brought up from the Caribbean and said that he was helping in getting his citizenship. I did a story with the limbo dancer. We got a picture of him at the U.S. Naturalization Service office in Dallas passing under a low bar. I did a lot of stories. I am really not sure off the top of my head. I wish I could have gotten out some old clips and prepared for this, if I had realized. But they were stories of that nature, anyway.

(2) Seth Kantor was interviewed by Burt W. Griffin, on behalf of the Warren Commission (2nd June, 1964)

Burt W. Griffin: Now, you were in Dallas, were you not, at the time that President Kennedy was shot?

Seth Kantor: Yes; I was.

Burt W. Griffin: Can you tell us where you were at the approximate time that the shots were fired?

Seth Kantor: I was in the motorcade. I was in the White House Press Bus No. 2. This was about - I don't know - 11 vehicles back, or some such.

Burt W. Griffin: Now, were you in a position where you could hear the shots or see any of the actions?

Seth Kantor: I heard the last two shots. I didn't know there were three shots until some time later.

Burt W. Griffin: Well, after the shots were fired, what did you do?

Seth Kantor: We tried to get off the bus to see what had happened, but we were not allowed to, and the bus went at a high rate of speed out to the Dallas Trade Mart. There we were let out at a side entrance, and we still had no word of anything. We raced up four flights to a press office up there, and still could not find out what happened. So we raced down the four flights again. One of the reporters - I don't know who - got on the phone and contacted the Dallas police, and talked to Chief Stevenson and discovered that the President had been shot and had been taken to Parkland Hospital.

Burt W. Griffin: Let me interrupt you here just a minute. Do you recall the route that you took from the scene of the shooting to the Parkland Hospital?

Seth Kantor: We went on to the Stemmons Expressway immediately, and took the expressway to a point immediately adjacent to the trade mart. I don't know what the little road is that goes off of it.

Burt W. Griffin: How long would you say that it took you to drive from the scene of the shooting to the trade mart?

Seth Kantor: We were traveling at a speed of about 65-70 miles an hour. I guess it would be 4 or 5 minutes.

(3) Seth Kantor, interviewed by Burt W. Griffin, on behalf of the Warren Commission (2nd June, 1964)

I spoke to Henry Gonzalez, who was holding a brown paper bag in his hand. He told me that it was the effects of Governor Connally. Mr. Gonzalez was still badly shaken. And I talked to Senator Yarborough again. And he said that the group was going to the airport immediately. And I knew then that the pool was formed to go out to the airport. However, I still didn't want to leave the hospital, because I know that my office was concerned with what was going to happen to Mr. Johnson. At the same time, I saw Mr. and Mrs. Johnson closely guarded coming out of the hospital, completely surrounded by men, and put into a car, and they sped away.

I spoke to the mayor of Dallas, Earl Cabell. He was unable to furnish me with any information as to what was going to happen. I turned then and went back up to the second floor.

Now, as I had told the FBI, it was either at this point or it was at a point originally when I went up behind Malcolm Kilduff that I spoke with Jack Ruby.

(4) Seth Kantor, Who was Jack Ruby? (1978)

An hour after the shooting of President Kennedy I encountered Jack Ruby at Parkland Hospital. Ruby was someone I had known at the start of the Kennedy administration, when I had been a reporter on a Dallas newspaper. He sought me out at Parkland, called me by name and, later from jail, wrote me a warm, personal note. But he later denied that he had been inside Parkland Hospital at that critical time. As a result, the Warren Commission questioned both Ruby and me in June, 1964, about the Parkland encounter. In the end, page 336 of the Warren Report declared that "Kantor probably did not see Ruby in Parkland Hospital.

Now, however, after reading this book, Burt W. Griffin, the Warren Commission attorney who developed these conclusions about Jack Ruby for the Warren Report, has changed his mind about Ruby not appearing at Parkland soon after the President had been brought there. Griffin, who since has become a judge in Ohio, now says "the greater weight of the evidence" indicates I did see Ruby at Parkland.