Twisting With Oswald
Reading the government documents concerning the assassination of President Kennedy released under the JFK Act of 1992, one is struck by the numbers of records still being withheld for reasons of national security, but there are some tantalizing stories within the documents that have been released, especially those that concern the short trip the accused assassin made to Mexico City a month before the assassination.
Those records indicate that while in Mexico City, Oswald tried to get a visa to Cuba from Syliva Duran, a Mexican national who worked at the Cuban embassy there. According to some accounts, Oswald attended a Twist Party at the home of Duran, and may have even been intimate with her, although she denies seeing Oswald outside of the embassy.
The stories persisted however, and it was alleged that Oswald was not the only American at Duran’s Twist Party, but an American film actor was also there. While the actor’s name is not mentioned in some of the records, it is mentioned in others that the American actor at the Twist Party with Duran and Oswald was Richard Beymer, a young American film star, who played opposite Natalie Wood in the famously successful movie adaption of West Side Story.
Beymer, the records show, was in Mexico to attend a film festival and met Sylvia Doran and according one report that the CIA felt significant enough to cable Washington about, Beymer called the Cuban Embassy and specifically asked for her, so he must have known her, giving some credence to the Twist Party stories.
Today, in a telephone interview from his home in Iowa Richard Beymer acknowledges he was there – in Mexico City trying to get a visa to Cuba. And did call the Cuban Embassy and went there to see about getting a visa to Cuba, and may have even dealt with Sylvia Duran, though he doesn’t remember her.
But Beymer is a bit perplexed about the CIA records that mention him, but he says that he very well could have attended a Twist Party, maybe even one with Duran and Lee Harvey Oswald. While it’s certainly possible he says, the timing is a little off.
According to a CIA document released among the JFK Assassination records, Beymer telephoned the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City and specifically asked for Sylvia Duran, the Mexican national who had previously dealt with Lee Harvey Oswald when he allegedly went to Mexico City to get a visa to Cuba.
There are also government reports that indicate that while in Mexico City Oswald attended a Twist Party at the home of Duran, a party that included two other Americans, one an American film actor, Richard Beymer.
Originally from Iowa, Beyermer moved to California where his acting career included starring roles in The Diary of Anne Frank and West Side Story. Taking a break from acting in 1963, Beymer moved to New York City and began directing advent guard documentary films.
With a friend, Bradley Pierce, who is now a Catholic priest in upstate New York, they went to Mexico City in an attempt to get visas to Cuba. While there, they did indeed attend a film festival that included West Side Story, and visited Alcapulco when they were told there would be a delay in the visas.
“We wanted to get to Cuba,” explained Beymer, who would like to set the record straight. “We wanted to get to Cuba, so we called the Cuban Embassy and then went to Mexico City to visit the Cuban Embassy to try to get a visa to Cuba.” While he doesn’t remember her by name, he may have tried to contact Syliva Duran because they were told she could assist them in getting the visa.
“We were young and attracted to beautiful women,” said Beymer, “so if we were invited to a Twist Party we may have gone as a social thing, but I don’t recall too much about that Mexican adventure. It’s like trying to remember a dream.”
He does recall however that, “We were in contact with someone at the embassy, and maybe hooked up with people on a personal level, - it would have been something we would have done.”
But as Beymer points out, it is a different time frame than when Oswald was said to have been there – September 25- October 1, 1963.
Beymer believes he was there later, after Oswald had left.
“We were in an elevator in a Mexico City hotel, and when we got off, there was some commotion, and people asked if we had heard the president had been shot. So if I was there on November 22nd, when Oswald was in Dallas, it’s unlikely we were there at the same time.”
Beymer says that he is still making documentary films, and thinks there might be one here.
“I was at a Twist Party with Oswald,” could be a catchy title, he said.