Astrologer Jeane L. Dixon, who gained national prominence as a psychic when she predicted that President John F. Kennedy would die in office, died here Saturday.
A spokeswoman at Sibley Hospital said the 79-year-old Dixon died from cardiopulmonary arrest. The hospital did not release further information.
The daughter of German immigrant parents, Dixon insisted she knew at an early age that she had a special gift. “I was always psychic,” she said.
Although she had long impressed family and friends with her penchant for making predictions, she did not reach prominence until 1963, with her prophecy about President Kennedy. Dixon had been quoted in Parade magazine in 1956 as saying that a Democratic president elected in 1960, whom she described as a tall young man with blue eyes and thick brown hair, would die in office.
Dixon said that she had actually told the magazine that the president would be assassinated, but they refused to publish it.
Though she became the nation’s best-known psychic, sometimes called the “seeress of Washington,” skeptics abounded, arguing that her predictions were often vague and hard to verify because they were frequently told privately to friends or made about public figures who had died before the predictions were revealed. And often she was plain wrong, as when she predicted that World War III would break out in 1958 and that the Russians would be the first to land a man on the moon.
Dixon was born on Jan. 3, 1918, in Medford, Wis., and grew up in California.
She had ambitions for the stage but gave them up in 1939 when she married James L. Dixon, a family friend who was a partner with movie producer Hal Roach in a Los Angeles automobile agency. The couple moved to Washington after the outbreak of World War II.
In 1965, political columnist Ruth Montgomery wrote a book, “A Gift of Prophecy: the Phenomenal Jeane Dixon,” that recounted hundreds of Dixon’s accurate predictions. It sold more than 3 million copies.
* OTHER OBITUARIES: B3