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Mary Kennedy Interview (Video)

 

In remembrance of Mary Richardson Kennedy, we wanted to share this interview she did with Bob Vila in 2008, during the green renovation of the RFK Jr. family home.

Mary was a highly skilled architect, and this home was probably her proudest achievement. Sadly, it is also the home where she would take her own life four years later on May 16, 2012.

Rest in peace, Mary.

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Mary Richardson Kennedy: In Remembrance

In remembrance of Mary Richardson Kennedy: 100 photos from the archives.

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“The Kennedys” Miniseries Debuts on Reelz Channel

Television review: ‘The Kennedys’

Despite several strong lead performances, it turns out that even an eight-part miniseries can’t do justice to the story of one of the country’s most dynamic, if flawed, political families.

April 01, 2011|By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic

 

The main problem with “The Kennedys,” the rumor-plagued, eight-part series that was rejected by the History Channel, which had commissioned it, before landing at ReelzChannel, is not one of politics or even accuracy but of scope. It is impossible to tell the story of this iconic family even in eight parts, even by limiting the timeline, as creators Stephen Kronish and Joel Surnow have done, to the years between the beginnings of World War II and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. There is too much back story, too many important events, and too many Kennedys.

Kronish addresses the last of these problems by simply cutting the family in half. “The Kennedys” that the title refers to are Joe Sr. (Tom Wilkinson), Rose (Diana Hardcastle ), John F. (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Jacqueline (Katie Holmes), Bobby (Barry Pepper) and his wife, Ethel (Kristin Booth). Fourth daughter Patricia is seen briefly in one of the later episodes, married to Peter Lawford and playing hostess to one of his Marilyn Monroe-studded soirees, while Rosemary, the victim of an early lobotomy, appears briefly in flashback. But Kathleen (who died in an airplane crash in 1948); Eunice, who founded the Special Olympics and was married to Kennedy advisor Sargent Shriver; Jean, who eventually became U.S. ambassador to Ireland; and Edward (Teddy), the longtime Massachusetts senator and onetime presidential candidate, are not only not present, they are never even mentioned.

Which is much more troubling than the various scenes of infidelity (Joe’s and Jack’s), election “rigging” (Joe’s), mob connections (Joe’s) and drug use (Jack’s and Jackie’s) that have apparently raised the blood pressure of Kennedy historians, History Channel execs and various industry watchers for reasons that, while watching the actual episodes, is inexplicable. There is nothing in “The Kennedys” that hasn’t appeared before in reputable books, films and articles in the Kennedy-obsessed “Vanity Fair.”

An argument could be made that a channel called “History” might want to avoid docudramas, which rely on artistic interpretation, but if it was the intention of producer Surnow, a political conservative, to sully the Kennedy name, he certainly went about it in a strange manner. Jack and Bobby emerge splendid, smart and heroic despite their flaws, and even Joe, though portrayed as a ruthlessly ambitious father and truly awful husband, appears in the end guilty of little more than old-time campaign tactics and a once-oppressed immigrant’s dream of joining the ruling class.

Casting went a long way toward balancing the script’s inclusion of the unsavory side of being a Kennedy. Wilkinson can do just about anything at this point in his career, and he illuminates equally Joe’s hubris and desperate fear of failure, while, with his perpetually worried eyes, Kinnear plays a JFK in constant pain — from his back, from his father’s expectations, from his own infidelities. Don Draper certainly never felt this guilty about getting a little on the side.

The revelation of “The Kennedys” is Pepper, most recently seen as the snaggletoothed villain in “True Grit,” who delivers an Emmy-deserving performance, slowly building a Bobby who becomes the family’s, and the Kennedy administration’s, spine of steel, aware of the choices and sacrifices he is making and prepared to make them every time. As attorney general, Bobby is the president’s hammer even as he attempts to be his conscience.

The scenes among these three men alone are worth trying to find out if you get ReelzChannel. Unfortunately, they are too often being moved through historical events as if they were chess pieces and are surrounded by a supporting cast not up to their level. Holmes is pretty as Jackie, but her emotions are confined to happy (“I love him”) and sad (“He cheats on me”), with absolutely no nuance and only the occasional flash of spirit, intellect and inner strength that made Jacqueline Kennedy an icon in her own right. As Ethel, Booth is almost unbearably perky in early episodes, although she mellows as the series unfolds; the scenes between Bobby and Ethel are far more poignant and powerful than those between Jackie and Jack. Hardcastle (married to Wilkinson) can’t do much with a Rose who spends most of the series saying her rosary and making pronouncements about God’s will in a broad Eastern accent — it isn’t until the final episode that mention is made of the crucial role Rose played in the political careers of her sons.

But she is just another victim of the genre’s biggest danger. In attempting to be both sprawling and intimate, “The Kennedys” winds up in a narrative no-man’s land. So the tensions of Bobby taking on organized crime, the riots in Mississippi, the Cuban missile crisis and the strained relationship of the brothers with J. Edgar Hoover and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson are treated with the same time constraints and dramatic emphasis as Joe’s endless “recovery” from his stroke and Jackie’s realization that being a first lady is difficult.

While this “greatest-hits” pace does take the potential sting from the more salacious details — Jack’s infidelities are few and far between, Frank Sinatra is blamed for any mob-related fallout, the pep-me-up shots Jack and Jackie receive do little more than pep them up — it also buries the fine performances of its leading men, who too often seem to be simply marching toward their characters’ inevitable doom.

mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

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New Gallup Poll: JFK Still Most Popular U.S. President

 

85% Says It All

 

According to a new Gallup Poll, President John F. Kennedy continues to earn the highest retrospective job approval rating from Americans, now 85%.

Ronald Reagan ranks second, with 74%. While these presidents’ ratings are largely unchanged from 2006, Bill Clinton’s rating has improved, putting him in third place, while Jimmy Carter, at 52%, has dropped from third to sixth. Richard Nixon remains the lowest rated.

The poll was limited to approval ratings for American presidents who have served in the past 50 years.

Approval of How Past Presidents Handled Their Job -- Recent Trend (2006, 2010)

The Nov. 19-21 Gallup poll asked Americans to say, based on what they know or remember about the nine most recent former presidents, whether they approve or disapprove of how each handled his job in office.

Kennedy has consistently ranked No. 1 in this Gallup measure initiated in 1990.

 

 

Read full story here: Kennedy Still Highest-Rated Modern President, Nixon Lowest.

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Kennedy’s Wife Avoids Jail Time for DWI

FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, Mary Richardson Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is shown. The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has resolved her New York drunken-driving case by pleading guilty to a lesser charge. Mary Kennedy pleaded guilty Thursday, July 22, 2010 to driving with ability impaired. She was arrested in May after a police officer reported seeing her drive over a curb outside a school in Bedford, 30 miles north of New York City. (AP Photo/Andy Kropa, File)

RFK Jr.’s wife guilty of driving impaired in NY

By JIM FITZGERALD (AP) – 8 hours ago

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. settled her drunken-driving case without jail time Thursday night by pleading guilty to a minor charge.

Mary Kennedy admitted in court that her driving ability was impaired when she drove over a curb outside a school in Bedford, 30 miles north of New York City, in May.

Robert Kennedy, who has reportedly filed for divorce, was not in court. He also was not among the many relatives and friends who wrote supportive letters to Town Judge Kevin Quaranta.

“He was not asked,” said Mary Kennedy’s lawyer, Kerry Lawrence.

Robert Kennedy’s mother, Ethel Kennedy, and his sister Kerry Kennedy wrote letters, with Ethel Kennedy telling the judge her daughter-in-law is “kind, loving, gentle and generous.”

Mary Kennedy, 50, would not comment after the court session. Her lawyer said she was “pleased to get some closure.”

The charge of driving while ability impaired is a violation and carries no jail time. The judge fined Kennedy $500, suspended her driver’s license for 90 days and ordered her to attend two drunken-driving programs.

The judge also said Kennedy’s psychiatrist must submit quarterly reports about her progress.

“You’re going to have to live up to the continuation of your treatment,” he told Kennedy.

“Absolutely,” she replied.

The judge told Kennedy the letters from family and friends, including actor Dan Aykroyd and environmentalist Alex Matthiessen, praised “your life, your role as a parent.”

“I hope we don’t see you here again,” he added.

Kennedy was arrested May 15 on a charge of driving while intoxicated after a police officer reported seeing her drive over the curb. Her only passenger was a dog.

Police said her blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent; the legal limit is 0.08 percent.

The arrest came three days after Robert Kennedy filed a matrimonial action with the Westchester County clerk’s office, naming his wife as defendant. Several news reports said he had filed for divorce, and most such filings are divorce suits, but the papers are sealed and both Kennedys have refused to comment. Lawrence would not comment Thursday night.

Robert Kennedy, a prominent environmental lawyer, is the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, both assassinated in the 1960s. Mary Kennedy is his second wife. They have four children.

Robert Kennedy had two children with his first wife, whom he divorced in 1994.

Bedford police said in May that they had responded to the Kennedy home twice in the week before Mary Kennedy’s arrest but no crimes had been committed.

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RFK Jr. Divorces Wife

The Kennedys at an NRDC Event, Apr. 1, 2008

 

July 13, 2010

Bobby Kennedy Jr. sues wife for divorce

Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
spcohen@lohud.com

WHITE PLAINS — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed to divorce his wife of 16 years just three days before Mary Kennedy was charged with drunken driving, according to records obtained by The Journal News.

The May 12 divorce filing also came a day before Bedford police responded to the Kennedy home for a “domestic incident” during which her husband alleged she was intoxicated, records show.

It was among several police visits to the Bedford estate in recent years, according to police incident reports.

Robert Kennedy, a prominent environmentalist at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, declined to comment this week.

“I’m not going to talk to you about my personal life,” he said Monday.

He is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in California in 1968 during his run for president.

According to records on file with the Westchester County Clerk’s Office, the Kennedy family scion filed the papers on May 12.

On May 10, two days before the filing, Mary Kennedy called 911 herself, police said. Officers responding to the house reported she was “visibly intoxicated” and had “great difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating her reasons for calling.” She told police her husband was “verbally abusive to herself and her children.”

On May 13, officers were summoned to the South Bedford Road home at 9:16 p.m. and filed a state domestic incident report before leaving.

On May 15, Mary Kennedy was stopped outside St. Patrick’s School on Greenwich Road near the couple’s home and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent at the time of her arrest. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

She was ordered to undergo evaluation for potential alcohol abuse and is due in Town Court on July 22.

Her lawyer in that case also declined comment on the divorce proceeding.

Details on the divorce filing, including grounds, were unavailable. New York state does not have a “no fault” divorce law, though it will go into effect in September.

The couple has four children.

This would be Kennedy’s second divorce. He was married to Emily Ruth Black. They divorced in 1994, a month before he married his current wife.

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Mary Kennedy’s DWI Hearing Continued

Mary Kennedy, right, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., leaves Bedford Court in Bedford with her sister on Thursday, as she appears on her DWI charge. The matter was adjourned until July 22.

 Mary Kennedy, right, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., leaves Bedford Court in Bedford with her sister on Thursday, as she appears on her DWI charge. The matter was adjourned until July 22.

(Photo: Mark Vergari / The Journal News)

 

BEDFORD, NY — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared Thursday night in Town Court on a drunken-driving charge in a brief hearing that ended with no resolution to her case.

At her previous court appearance May 28, Mary Richardson Kennedy’s lawyer predicted he could wrap up her case Thursday. But Town Justice Kevin Quaranta said she needed to provide the court with more information. He did not say what was required, but Kennedy, 50, was previously ordered to undergo an evaluation to determine if she needs treatment for alcohol abuse.

The hearing was continued to July 22.

Kennedy was arrested about 9 p.m. May 15 outside St. Patrick’s School after she steered her 2004 Volvo station wagon over a curb while driving to an annual carnival there.

She was charged with driving while intoxicated after her blood-alcohol level measured 0.11 percent, police said. The state’s legal limit is 0.08 percent for DWI.

Kennedy pleaded not guilty. During the May 28 court appearance, she was ordered to surrender her driver’s license and undergo the evaluation.

The arrest exposed problems in the Kennedy household, with police records detailing several domestic disturbances.

Just two days before the DWI arrest, Bedford police filed a state domestic incident report after a 911 hang-up call from the residence on South Bedford Road. Police reported that Robert Kennedy, a leading environmentalist, drove the couple’s children to the carnival that day after an argument with his wife, telling police she was intoxicated and “acting irrational.”

On May 10, Mary Kennedy called 911 herself, police said. Officers responding to the house reported she was “visibly intoxicated” and had “great difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating her reasons for calling.” She told police her husband was “verbally abusive to herself and her children,” records state.

Twice in 2007, Robert Kennedy told police he was worried that his wife might hurt herself, including once that September when he restrained her in the roadway after driving her to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco to see a psychologist.

By Shawn Cohen, The Journal News. Full article at http://www.lohud.com/article/20100709/NEWS02/7090332/Mary-Kennedy-s-DWI-hearing-continued

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