Florence Pritchett was born in 1920. After leaving school she worked as a model for John Robert Powers and appeared in Life Magazine. In 1940 she met and married Richard Canning. Soon afterwards she became fashion editor of New York Journal American, a journal owned by William Randolph Hearst.
In 1943 Florence divorced Canning. The following year she met John F. Kennedy. The couple spent a lot of time together. Betty Spalding said that for Kennedy, "Over a long period of time, it was probably the closest relationship with a woman I know of." However, because Kennedy was a Roman Catholic, marriage was out of the question.
In 1947 Florence married Earl E. T. Smith, member of the New York Stock Exchange. The couple had three children. In June, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Smith as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cuba. FBI files reveal that over the next two years John F. Kennedy made more than a dozen visits to Cuba in order to meet Florence. Florence also met Kennedy in Miami and Palm Beach, where their homes were conveniently adjoined.
According to one account: "JFK would elude the Secret Service on occasion in order to have trysts with women. He did this in Palm Beach when he hopped a fence to swim with Flo Smith. The Secret Service agents couldn't find him and called in the FBI. They finally turned to Palm Beach Police Chief Homer Large, a trusted Kennedy family associate. The Police Chief knew exactly where to find Jack - next door in Earl E. T. Smith's swimming pool. Jack and Flo were alone, and as Homer put it, "They weren't doing the Australian crawl."
Earl E. T. Smith remained Ambassador to Cuba until 20th January, 1959. Afterwards he wrote about his experiences in his book, The Fourth Floor (1962). This included an account of the Fidel Castro revolution in Cuba.
Florence continued working as a journalist. She also became a television personality and appeared on programmes such as What's My Line? It was during this time she became friendly with the journalist Dorothy Kilgallen.
In 1965 Dorothy Kilgallen managed to obtain a private interview with Jack Ruby. She told friends that she had information that would "break the case wide open". Aware of what had happened to Bill Hunter and Jim Koethe, Kilgallen handed her interview notes to Florence Smith. She told friends that she had obtained information that Ruby and J. D. Tippit were friends and that David Ferrie was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
On 8th November, 1965, Dorothy Kilgallen, was found dead in her New York apartment. She was fully dressed and sitting upright in her bed. The police reported that she had died from taking a cocktail of alcohol and barbiturates. The notes of her interview with Jack Ruby and the article she was writing on the case had disappeared. Florence Smith, died two days later of a cerebral hemorrhage. Her son, Earl Smith III, said that she had been suffering from leukemia.