1. Dexter King & James Earl Ray
In 1997, Dexter King, son of Martin Luther King Jr., met with his father’s convicted assassin James Earl Ray in prison.
Ray had been convicted in 1968 after he confessed, but 10 days later he revoked his confession. Until the day he died in 1998, Ray denied having ever shot & killed MLK jr.
So, naturally, when Dexter King visited the prison the first thing he said was: “Did you, um, kill my father?” I imagine the awkwardness was tangible!
2. Pope John Paul II & Mehmet Ali Agca
Mehmet Ali Agca, struck up an interesting friendship with none other than Pope John Paul II a.k.a, the man he wounded in an attempted assassination… Not exactly how all great friendships begin.
In fact, in Catholic fashion, the Pope forgave his shooter more or less as soon as it happened. “Pray for my brother whom I have sincerely forgiven.”
Two years later, in 1983, the two met in prison and they began their friendship. In 1987, the Pope met with Mehmet’s mother & brother also.
The friendship was so dear to Mehmet’s heart, that he put in an appeal to leave prison to attend the late Pope’s funeral in 2005. (Which was denied.) So, although the eventually became friends, can you imagine how that first meeting in prison began? “Hello person I tried to kill.”
3. Gerry Adams & Prince Charles
There is a fine, fine line between whether or not, Gerry Adams, was involved in the IRA or not. Despite his constant denial, the people of Ireland and England have a fair idea that he has had some sort of involvement. Yet, in 2011, he was one of the front runners to greet the Queen of England when she visited the Republic of Ireland for the first time since the troubles ended.
Fast forward three years later, in 2014, Adams defends a once convicted IRA bomber. John McMahon bombed a boat in 1979 off the coast of Sligo killing Royal Family member Mountbatten, his wife, grandchild and a 15 year old Irish boat worker. McMahon served a 20 year sentence. When released from prison, he resumed campaigning for Sinn Fein, another grey area political party linked to the IRA. Adams defended McMahon by saying that he “values the contribution any republican has.” Needless to say this brought up some issues.
The biggest issue it brought up however, was that in 2015 Prince Charles (grand-nephew to Mountbatten) came to Ireland to commemorate the tragedy.
Due to meet with Adams, relatives of the deceased Irish boy and the main Irish political party, thought that it would be a slap in the face to the deceased’s memories.
However, mummy dearest (Queen Elizabeth) insisted the meeting took place. A brief handshake and a few words were shared. If only we knew what that few awkward words were…
4. Elvis & Nixon
Elvis is popular in the awkward meeting group. In 1970, while on a plane to Washington DC, Elvis got an idea. “I should meet President Nixon.” So there and then on his flight he began writing a letter asking for a meeting with Nixon.
Evidently, Mr. Presley didn’t ‘do’ post offices. Instead, he rocked up to the White House, letter in hand and requested an official to give it to the president. A few hours later he was allowed in.
The awkwardness hasn’t even begun yet!
Once in the Oval Office, Elvis suggested that he be made a ‘Federal Agent at Large’ to help defend the respect of the American flag. You see, Elvis felt that the drug culture of America was causing the U.S. to lose respect… Oh the irony.
5. Elvis & The Beatles
As I said, the King of Rock n’ Roll was apparently also the King of awkward moments. Although, granted that this next story is also The Beatles fault. Five years before the Nixon meeting, Presley and The Beatles wanted to meet.
The TV, in Elvis’ front room, remained on mute while members of The Beatles sat scattered around the room, including on the floor. Not a word was spoken until Elvis announced: “If you damn guys are just going to sit there and stare at me, I’m going to bed.” He certainly didn’t dance around any situation did he?
6. Marilyn Monroe & Nikita Khrushchev
Sex symbol Marilyn Monroe didn’t always welcome the sex part of her trademark with open arms and from this next awkward meeting we do not blame her!
In 1959, 20th Century Fox decided to hold a banquet for leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev. Monroe was an obvious candidate to be on the welcome wagon and by God did she deliver!
Instructed to wear her ‘tightest, sexiest dress’, she had prepared for the meeting by learning the Russian translation for: ‘We rejoice that you come to visit our studio’. Once she uttered the sentence Khrushchev grabbed her hand, looked her in the eyes and told her that she was a lovely young lady.
Later on, Marilyn supposedly told her maid that he was fat, ugly, had warts on his face and that he had held on to her hand so hard, but at least she was glad she didn’t have to kiss him. Creeper alert!
7. Steve Jobs & Andy Warhol
In 1984, Steve Jobs gifted the just released, Macbook computer to Yoko Ono & John Lennon’s son, Sean, for his 9th birthday.
Upon setting it up and showing young Sean how to use the machine, he opened up Mac Paint. Wouldn’t you guess, Andy Warhol was also at the party and asked if he could have a go. He just could not get the hang of it despite Steve Jobs showing him how it’s done.
In his slight frustration he told the room that some man kept phoning him asking if he wanted one of these computers and that he just didn’t bother phoning back. Jobs looks up from the computer and told him: “Yeah, that was me.”
Talk about one way of ruining the birthday buzz!
8. Niels Bohr & Werner Heisenberg
Scientists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, (no not Walter White) began their friendship when Bohr was still a student and it ended with an awkward meeting.
Heisenberg was German and Bohr was Danish. During World War II, Bohr being half Jewish, remained in Denmark while Heisenberg had ‘bigger’ plans in Germany.
Urged to share the nuclear research he had done, Heisenberg travelled to Copenhagen in 1941 to discuss all with Bohr. Naturally, Bohr did not see things from the same point of view as Heisenberg. We all know what happened next nuclear research…
9. James MacArthur & Emperor Hirohito
To keep in with the WWII theme, this last meeting has to be the most awkward and is also my favourite one of all. The body language in the picture says it all! Neither of them wanted to be near each other!
I’ll set the scene. This photo is of General Douglas MacArthur of the U.S. Army and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It was taken in the American embassy in Tokyo roughly about 3 weeks after Japan officially surrendered out of WWII.
Let that sink in.
The awkwardness is enough to make you cringe! MacArthur was prepared for Hirohito to deny all war crimes committed, but he hadn’t. Probably would have been less awkward if he had denied them.
Who thought it would be a good photo opportunity though? I sincerely hope the person that did, thought about us future bloggers and the hilarity we would find in this seriously awkward moment.