Introducing the Assassins: Lee Harvey Oswald

“Oh, to be torn twixt love and duty”

Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald was born in New Orleans in 1939. Raised by a widowed mother, Oswald grew disaffected with American life and by his teens considered himself a socialist. Court-marshaled out of the Marines, he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, where he met and married Marina Nikolaevna. The couple defected back to the United States, settling in Texas, where Oswald’s estranged mother lived in Fort Worth, Lee finding employment at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Depository on November 22, 1963, wounding Texas Governor John Connally, as well, as the two rode with their wives in the controversial choice of an open limousine through downtown’s Dealey Plaza. During a prison transfer two days later, Oswald himself was shot to death by vigilante nightclub-owner Jack Ruby. In the midst of a host of conspiracy theories, a government appointed Warren Commission found Oswald solely responsible for the crime. Oswald’s wife recalled both her husband’s desperation at the threat of their divorce, and his lionizing of the movie sheriff Will Cain in the classic Hollywood Western High Noon, remembering hearing that film’s title song playing repeatedly as Oswald composed his diary, including the lyrics: “Oh, to be torn twixt love and duty / Sposin’ I lose my fair-haired beauty / I’m not afraid of death but, oh / What will I do if you leave me?“. Oswald was twenty-four at the time of his death.

Patrick McHugh has been having a busy season at PlayMakers. He has performed in Love Alone, Metamorphoses, and The Tempest. Don’t miss him as Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins.