Remembering the key players and witnesses in the JFK assassination

Yahoo News

Fifty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the case continues to transfix Americans. Millions of people's lives were forever affected on November 22, 1963. Below, a look at some of the key people from one of the most talked-about crimes in history.

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John and Jackie Kennedy (AP Photo)

John F. Kennedy
The 35th president of the United States was shot while riding in an open top limousine through downtown Dallas. Kennedy was just 46 at the time of his death, and though he was only in office for a few years, his influence is still felt today. Among his accomplishments were the establishment of the Peace Corps, the successful navigation of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and leading the charge to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Many of Kennedy's faults have come to light since his passing, but few presidents remain as highly regarded.

Jackie Kennedy
The former first lady passed away in 1994 in New York City at the age of 64. Five years after the death of President Kennedy and shortly after the slaying of Bobby Kennedy, Jackie married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, sparking a large controversy. The two remained married until his death in 1975. Jackie moved back to New York where she began a successful career in book publishing. Like her first husband, Jackie lived in the White House for just a few years, but her grace, class and style remain the stuff of legend.

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Jack Ruby shoots and kills Lee Harvey Oswald (AP Photo/Dallas Times-Herald, Bob Jackson)

Lee Harvey Oswald
A short time after Kennedy was shot, authorities grabbed Lee Harvey Oswald, the supposed lone gunman who used a sniper rifle from a nearby book depository. Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby two days later while in police custody. Much has been written about Oswald and whether he was truly the lone gunman or, as he put it, "a patsy." The Warren Commission, which was formed to find answers about the assassination, found that he acted alone. But 50 years later, many people aren't so sure.

Jack Ruby
Was Ruby part of a mass conspiracy or just a murderous nightclub manager? Like so many other aspects of the death of JFK, the questions surrounding Ruby continue to be debated. One thing that has never been up for contention is that Ruby killed Oswald just two days after JFK's death. The shooting, which was committed in a police station basement and broadcast on live television to millions of horrified viewers, led many to wonder if Ruby was acting on behalf of the mafia. The Warren Commission found that Ruby was not part of any conspiracy.

Ruby was found guilty of murder in 1964. He died of cancer three years later at Parkland Memorial Hospital, the same place where Oswald died and where JFK was pronounced dead.

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Abraham Zapruder at left (ABC News)

Abraham Zapruder
The Zapruder film is perhaps the most studied motion picture in the history of the medium. Shot by Abraham Zapruder on the day of Kennedy's death, the 8 mm film captured the exact moment when Kennedy was shot. Zapruder sold his film to Life magazine for $150,000 and donated $25,000 to the widow of J.D. Tippit, the Dallas police officer who was allegedly shot and killed by Oswald the same day as JFK. Zapruder died in 1970 after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 66.

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The Kennedy motorcade. John and Nellie Connally sit ahead of the Kennedys (Wikicommons)

John and Nellie Connally
Riding with John and Jackie Kennedy that fateful day were John and Nellie Connally. John Connally, then the governor of Texas, was seriously wounded during the assassination. He recovered from his injuries and went on to become the Secretary of the Navy and later the Secretary of the Treasury. He died in 1993.

Nellie Connally was sitting in front of Mrs. Kennedy when JFK was struck. While riding in the limousine, moments before JFK was shot, she supposedly told Kennedy, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you." Nellie Connally dedicated much of her life to diabetes and breast cancer awareness. She died in 2006.

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District Judge Sarah T. Hughes performs presidential swearing in ceremony (Cecil W. Stoughton/Wikicommons)

Sarah Hughes
One of the most iconic photos surrounding the tragic events of the JFK assassination is the image of Lyndon Baines Johnson being sworn in as president aboard Air Force One, as a stunned Jackie Kennedy stands nearby. The person performing the ceremony was U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes, the only woman to ever administer the presidential oath of office. Hughes died in 1985 at the age of 88.

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Clint Hill leaps onto the president's motorcade (ABC News)

Clint Hill
The Zapruder film shows a man leaping onto the back of the presidential limosine moments after Kennedy was shot. That person was Secret Service agent Clint Hill, who dove atop JFK and Jackie, shielding them with his body. Hill's testimony painted a gruesome picture of the shooting's aftermath. He testified that Mrs. Kennedy was "completely covered in blood" and that JFK's brain had been exposed by the bullet wound. Hill served on the Secret Service until 1975. He has written two books about his experiences.

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Kennedy family in mourning following funeral (REUTERS/The White House/Abbie Rowe/John F. Kennedy Presidential  …



Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Fortunately, President Kennedy's children were not in Dallas the day their father was killed. Their nanny, Maude Shaw, had to tell the two children their father had been killed. JFK Jr. went on to become a lawyer and publish his own magazine, "George." He died in a plane crash in 1999, along with his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg now serves as the United States ambassador to Japan. She is married and has three children with her husband, artist Edwin Schlossberg.

James Tague
James Tague didn't plan to witness the presidential motorcade that day. He happened to be driving through Dallas when he noticed that traffic had stopped. The 27-year-old got out of his car to investigate, saw the president's limo approaching, and then heard what sounded like a firecracker. Soon after, a bit of concrete from a curb ricocheted and hit him in the face, resulting in a minor injury. Tague is thought to be the only bystander who was wounded during the assassination.

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