John F. Kennedy, Jr. Used George Washington's Actual Sword as a Prop for a George Cover
A large part of the appeal of George magazine—a short-lived political publication in America lead by John F. Kennedy, Jr.—was its covers. George could be counted on to dress up the day's biggest stars as Susan B. Anthony, Marilyn Monroe, and yes, George Washington.
One particularly memorable cover stars Robert De Niro as Washington, complete with a white wig and sword. And, as the Hollywood Reporter recently revealed, it was actually more historically accurate than anyone could have imagined.
Matt Berman, George's creative director, shared this tidbit: "So we get Robert De Niro for the second cover. The plan is to have him dress as (surprise!) Washington, holding a big sword. John says, 'Stop by my apartment. I have a vintage sword that might be perfect.' It was beautiful. I said, 'John, this is perfect. It looks like a real George Washington sword.' He laughs and says, 'That's exactly whose that was.' John's father had been given the sword during his presidency. So I'm about to get in a cab with George Washington's fucking sword. I said, 'What if I leave it in the cab?' 'You won't,' said John."
John F. Kennedy Jr. presents Robert de Niro with a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis medal during the Municipal Art Society Gala in 1997
For his part, De Niro remembered the shoot fondly. "We might have talked about it at [Tribeca bar] Bubby," he said. "I just did it, you know? They must have told me about the sword. [Laughs.]"
De Niro and Kennedy would maintain a bit of a friendship afterwards. "He lived around the corner from me," De Niro recalled. "My landlord, who's since passed away, brought him up once to say hello. We didn't run into each other often, but we did from time to time. We'd go into Nobu, the original Nobu. He wasn't very talkative with me, and I'm not very talkative. But I remember I asked him once, 'I'd like to see your family's property in Martha's Vineyard,' and he said, 'Yeah, sure.' And I went to see it in the fall sometime. I just was always curious about that little beach property, beautiful on the water. It was a nice thing for him to do."
Getting to hold George Washington's sword, and visit the Kennedys' legendary beachside property? Not bad, for one cover shoot.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors