Gerhartsreiter was later convicted for murdering a man in 1985. Lifetime made a movie about his life called “Who is Charles Rockefeller?
Scott Fitzgerald: The rich may be different from other people, but the Rockefellers are different from everybody. He has yet to acknowledge this thought publicly; nonetheless, most astute political observers expect the two-time Governor of West Virginia, only 46, to waltz into the Senate next year.
The first step in the proverbial 1,000-mile journey to the White House?
Governor Rockefeller is cool and coy about such speculation. “No matter how many times I say, ‘No, I’m not going to run,’ nobody believes me.
The four-time New York governor was rumored to have died in the presence of his 25-year-old aide and alleged mistress Megan Marshack, who waited an hour to get help after he passed. Rockefeller, former vice president and NY governor, and first wife Mary Clark (the couple seated, center) divorced about a year after Michael (standing, right) was believed to have been eaten by cannibals during an expedition in Dutch New Guinea in 1961.
In the 1990s, convicted murderer and con artist Christian Gerhartsreiter took on the alter ego “Clark Rockefeller,” convincing high society he was the son of George Rockefeller and Mary Roberts.
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“Some of the people were suspicious,” recalls Brookie Bell, now 72, then the town’s postmistress. He joined in, ate what we ate, even if it was meager.” Together, the rich kid and his new acquaintances bought a condemned elementary school in a nearby town, carted it to Emmons on flatbed trucks, and set it up as a community center. “It was wonderful, a pivotal experience,” Jay remembers.
“I was extremely close to those people.” Despite the mutual affection, nobody expected Jay to remain in Emmons forever. In 1966 he prudently switched his affiliation from Republican to Democrat—the Democrats have dominated West Virginia politics for more than 50 years—and ran for the state House of Delegates.
“We’re going to be working together,” he explained, “and I want you to know exactly where I’m from and who I am.” Somehow, the approach worked.
Charmed by his honesty or bemused by his innocence, Emmons’ 56 families accepted him.
In his own strange way, Jay Rockefeller has been running for a long time.