In the context of the 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Babushka Lady is a nickname for an unknown woman who might have photographed the events that occurred in Dallas' Dealey Plaza at the time Kennedy was shot. Her nickname arose from the headscarf she wore similar to scarves worn by elderly Russian women or grandmothers.
Babushka Lady was seen to be holding a camera by eyewitnesses and was also seen in film accounts of the assassination (such as this Muchmore frame and Zapruder Frame 285). She was observed standing on the grass between Elm and Main streets and she can be seen in the Zapruder film as well as in the films of Orville Nix, Marie Muchmore, and Mark Bell (44 seconds and 49 seconds into the Bell film: even though the shooting had already taken place and most of her surrounding witnesses took cover, she can be seen still standing with the camera at her face). After the shootings, she crossed Elm Street and joined the crowd that went up the grassy knoll in search of a gunman. She is last seen in photographs walking east on Elm Street and neither she nor the film she may have taken have been positively identified.
The Babushka Lady never came forward. The police and the FBI did not find her, and the film shot from her position never turned up, despite a request by the FBI to local photo processors that they would be interested in any pictures or films of the assassination. Jack Harrison, a Kodak technician in Dallas, claimed to have developed on November 22, 1963, the day of the assassination, an out-of-focus color slide for a brunette in her late 30s that showed a view similar to the Babushka Lady's position.
In 1970, a woman named Beverly Oliver came forward and claimed to be the Babushka Lady. She had worked in 1963 as a singer and dancer at a strip club that competed with Jack Ruby's Carousel Club. In 1994, she released a memoir chronicling the events of the day of Kennedy's assassination, but she has not been able to provide convincing proof she was there. Oliver says her film was taken by Federal agent Regis Kennedy and never returned.
Critics have noted a number of inconsistencies with her story, such as her alleged use of a model of camera that did not exist in 1963, and her claim to have positioned herself just behind Charles Brehm and his son, despite Brehm's statement that he and his son had hurried to that position at the last moment.
Oliver was played by Lolita Davidovich in the 1991 film JFK, but is not portrayed as claiming to be the Babushka Lady. In the director's cut she is depicted as wearing a head scarf at Dealey Plaza and speaking of having given the film she shot to two men claiming to be FBI agents.