Olof Palme

When I met Olof Palme (the prime minister of Sweden), he was emotional catnip for me because he was such a liberal, brilliant, yet emotionally repressed Swede. I loved his courage on behalf of all his liberal beliefs. I met him at a U.N. anti-Vietnam War meeting in New York. He spoke so succinctly about the need to abolish war. He even spoke passionately about democratic socialism.

I remember the moment I fell for him. We were in my New York apartment after the U.N. meeting. He was looking at the pictures on my New York Wall of Life. He smiled and I brushed the hair out of his eyes. He looked at my lips shyly, and I took him in my arms. That was it. We became lovers for years. We met in the Orient several times, and wherever his overseas goodwill trips took him. I took clandestine trips to Sweden, and we kept the relationship private even though the Swedish press began to speculate why I was making so many private sojourns to Stockholm. He confided in me his struggles with some of the other world leaders and wondered aloud how the planet's inhabitants were ever going to solve its problems.

I introduced him to some of my beliefs regarding reincarnation and the soul's journey through time. He pooh-poohed all of it but did become interested in whether UFOs and star visitors were a reality we should admit to and deal with. His intellectual persuasion was definitely left-brained and scientific. Being a socialist meant more to him than anything. He was unreligious and bristled at the thought of an all-loving God-Creator. He thought it was all the work of humans and how we comported ourselves. He could be cruelly dismissive toward my growing spiritual beliefs and studies, but I admired his intellect greatly and thought seriously about a union of some kind with him. He was technically married but had had other affairs aside from me. One of his women was an extremely wealthy communist and I found the contradiction intriguing. In hindsight, I wonder if his attraction to fame and money was more true to his personality than his professed attraction to socialism.

Next: Pierre Trudeau

Copyright © 2011 by Shirley MacLaine. From the forthcoming book I'M OVER ALL THAT by Shirley MacLaine to be published by Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., N.Y. Printed by permission.


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