Eliot Stein Interviews Madeleine Brown
Madeleine Brown was the secret mistress of President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1964-1968)--something that did not receive press coverage in those days. She was privy to his most private thoughts on everything from the Vietnam War to civil rights. She has some incredible revelations.
ELIOT: I'm sure this shocks many people. We expect it from the Kennedys, but LBJ seemed so cold, so non-emotional. How long was this going on?
MADELEINE: From the fall of 1948 through the fall of 1969. They were wonderful years. I met him at a party at a hotel. I was an advertising executive. Lyndon was a Congressman running for the Senate. He stole the election. He won. Dead people voted, etc. Three weeks later he invited me to another party in Austin. He put a key in the palm of my hand and told me to go to his suite. He was married at the time to LadyBird and had children. He was 41.
ELIOT: What made you follow this through?
MADELEINE: He had such strong charisma, it was something I couldn't say no to. He was very attractive as I was to him. The passion escalated between us and kept growing. I would fly to Austin on a regular basis to meet him at the hotel.
ELIOT: Did this continue when he became Vice-President under JFK?
MADELEINE: Yes. We would still meet in Texas. It continued until a year after he was President. The visits were very frequent throughout the relationship.
ELIOT: Ladybird must have suspected something. Did she ever say anything?
MADELEINE: I had a son, Stephen, by LBJ. Which he wouldn't acknowledge publicly. However, he took care of me and my son financially covering all of our needs. It was done through a lawyer. Stephen filed a lawsuit after he died trying to get part of his inheritance. The only thing Ladybird ever said was "Lyndon loved women. He like one the best."
ELIOT: What happened with the lawsuit?
MADELEINE: My son died of cancer before the suit could come to trial. It was sensational here in Texas although it didn't go national.
ELIOT: What did he tell you about Vietnam?
MADELEINE: He took a lot of bad advice. It destroyed him politically. It grieved him. He was sorry it was going on. He told me that Stephen would never go to Vietnam.
ELIOT: What did LBJ tell you about the Kennedy Assassination?
MADELEINE: LBJ hated John Kennedy with a passion. LBJ was resentful that he was older and more experienced than John Kennedy. The oil people in Texas lost control in Washington and closed-room politics selected John Kennedy over LBJ as the presidential candidate in 1960. Big money exchanged hands over that election. The oil people did not like that Kennedy got in. When he was assassinated, I told Lyndon, "People are saying you are responsible." He told me that it was the oil people and intelligence that were involved.
ELIOT: Where did LBJ--a strong Southerner stand in regards to civil rights?
MADELEINE: He was forced to having to take a stand when he was in Texas. Various incidents including a personal one caused him to become aware of the depth of the unequal treatment of blacks in the U.S. Although he didn't say anything personally about Martin Luther King, he said that J. Edgar Hoover said that King was out of control and must be assassinated.
ELIOT: Did I hear that last statement correctly?
ELIOT: Did Lyndon Johnson feel inadequate because of J. Edgar Hoover's power?
MADELEINE: Hoover would blackmail people. He never should have been in the position he was in.
ELIOT: I don't recall seeing him smile very often.
MADELEINE: He was a very egotistical person. He refrained from smiling a lot because he wanted the American people to know that he was very serious about what he did. He thought he would go down in history as the number one President of the United States. He felt he served the country very well.
ELIOT: Why did he pick Hubert Humphrey as his running mate in 1964?
MADELEINE: Lyndon liked Hubert Humprhey. He had the choice of many people for his Vice-President. He was so strong-willed and he knew he could control Humphrey.
ELIOT: How did they keep scandals off of TV and radio.
MADELEINE: There ws such tight control, people wouldn't say anything against him. I wasn't his only mistress. There were others . He had another love child born to a white house secretary.
ELIOT: What other intimate things can you tell us about him? MADELEINE: He had a violent temper if anything upset him. He could be like a lion one minute and a lamb the next. He tried to control it. When Robert kennedy asked him why he had his brother killed, there was a shocking expression on his face. he was upset when Hooevr died and Nixon didn't allow an autopsy. He was horrified when John Connelly and other Democrats came out to support Richard Nixon in 1968. He couldn't believe that they would turn from the party like that.