She was the great love of President John F. Kennedy’s life, but also Adolf Hitler’s special guest at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. She was an actress, a journalist, an explorer, an MGM screenwriter, and also a suspected Nazi spy. Inga Arvad lived where gossip intersected with history, and her story, as told by author Scott Farris in Inga, demonstrates the great influence of the private life on public events.
In addition to her romance with Kennedy, Arvad married four times — including to an Egyptian prince, the brilliant filmmaker Paul Fejos, and the famed cowboy movie star Tim McCoy. She had affairs with Wall Street financier Bernard Baruch, the noted surgeon Dr. William Cahan, and Winston’s Churchill’s right hand man, Baron Robert Boothby. She was Miss Denmark in 1931, but by all accounts her admirers among the European and American elite loved Inga not for her physical beauty, but for her joie de vivre. She was a genius with people, she was daring and adventurous, and she was their equal. Like Isak Dinesen, Beryl Markham, and Clare Boothe Luce, Inga Arvad led a life that both sheds light on and defies the stereotypes of women of her time.