Category Archives: president kennedy

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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Wife of RFK Jr. Busted for DWI; Pleads Not Guilty

RFK Jr. and wife Mary Richardson Kennedy in Dec. 2008

 RFK JR.’S WIFE BUSTED FOR DWI

BEDFORD, NY — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was
ordered to surrender her driver’s license and
undergo an evaluation to determine if she needs
treatment for alcohol after she pleaded not guilty
Thursday to drunken driving.

Mary Richardson Kennedy, 50, smiled nervously
during the court proceeding, saying only “yes” when
Justice Kevin Quaranta asked if she understood the
charge.

“This is going to be treated like any other case, ”
Quaranta said.

Kennedy refused to answer questions outside the
courthouse before she was driven away in a black
Mercedes-Benz.

“We hope there will be a resolution of this case at
the next court appearance,” said her attorney, Kerry
Lawrence.

Kennedy’s husband, a leading environmental
activist, did not accompany her.

She is due in court July 15.

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy leaving court on May 27, 2010 (Photo: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News)

Kennedy was arrested about 9 p.m. May 15 outside
St. Patrick’s School on a charge of driving while
intoxicated. She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11
percent, police said. The state’s legal limit is 0.08
percent for DWI.

Police said she steered her 2004 Volvo station
wagon over a curb as she drove up to an annual
carnival at the school.

Just two days earlier, Robert Kennedy drove the
couple’s children to the carnival after an argument
with his wife, according to Bedford police records
obtained this week under the state Freedom of
Information Law.

“Mr. Kennedy stated that his wife was intoxicated
and was acting irrational, so he took the children to
the carnival to remove them from the situation,”
Police Officer David Novick wrote in a state domestic
incident report filed after a 911 hang-up call from
the Kennedy home.

The incidents were the latest in a series of domestic
disturbances at the South Bedford Road estate,
police records show.

Mary’s mugshot, May 15, 2010

On May 10, police received a 911 call from Mary
Kennedy at 5:55 p.m. in which she “reports a
dispute between her husband and her children,”
police said.

“Mrs. Kennedy was wearing a white bathrobe and
was barefoot,” Bedford officers wrote in a report.
“Mrs. Kennedy was visibly intoxicated and had great
difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating
her reasons for calling 911 for assistance .”

“During the interviews, Mary Kennedy repeatedly
stated that she has ongoing issues with her
husband Robert, referring to him as verbally
abusive to herself and her children,” the report said.

Less than an hour after officers left the home, police
said Mary Kennedy called 911 three times within 10
minutes, but the officers “stated they had difficulty
understanding her.”

There were also two incidents involving the
Kennedys in 2007 — one in Bedford and one in
neighboring Mount Kisco.

On March 17, 2007, St. Patrick’s Day, Bedford police
were called to the Kennedy home at 9:51 p.m., the
records show.

“Responded to the Kennedy residence for a report
from Mr. Kennedy that his wife might be trying to
hurt herself,” police said.

Officers arrived to find Mary Kennedy, her sister and
her sister-in-law in the home.

“Spoke to all the parties and it was determined that
their (sic) must have been a (sic) error in
communication between Mr. Kennedy and his wife,”
the police report said.

On Sept. 4, 2007, Mount Kisco police reported a
disturbance between the Kennedys outside Northern
Westchester Hospital Center. According to an
incident report, Robert Kennedy took his wife to the
hospital to see a psychologist because he was
concerned about her mental state.

Mary Kennedy ran into the roadway and had to be
restrained by her husband “to keep her from hurting
herself,” the police report said. He summoned a
motorist to call police and later agreed to drive her
home.

In two earlier encounters with the Kennedys,
Bedford police said they received a 911 call from the
couple’s home on May 12, 2004.

When officers arrived, the nanny told them that one
of the Kennedy children accidentally dialed 911.

On April 22, 2003, Mary Kennedy told police that
her son had mistakenly dialed 911.

Story from LoHud.com. By Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon • spcohen@lohud.com • May 28, 2010

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Opinion: History Channel Kennedy Miniseries will be “Shamalot”

 

The Kennedy Brothers

 

ISN’T ASSASSINATION ENOUGH?

LET THE KENNEDYS REST IN PEACE

Dear Friends —
 
I am taking time today to write and express my extreme displeasure with The History Channel’s planned miniseries The Kennedys. After reviewing portions of the draft script, I was floored by the sheer number of inaccuracies, distortions and omissions of essential facts in this docu-drama.
 
This is not what future generations should be learning about the presidency of John F. Kennedy.
 
As we reach the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration this year, presenting an epic miniseries which is not only grossly inaccurate but clearly designed to assassinate the character of a president who gave his life for this country, is wholly unacceptable to me. 
 
My daily concern as a historian, author and museum curator is the quality of education we are giving our children in the field of history. As a radio/print journalist, Kennedy scholar, and founder of several websites devoted to the Kennedy family legacy, I have devoted 25 years of my life to providing accurate information to anyone who is interested in learning about our nation’s 35th president and his family.
 
So when I see a script like The Kennedys, proposed to air on (of all places) The History Channel, I shudder to think of the potential and far-reaching consequences.
 
When fiction is presented as fact, that is entertainment. It is not history and has no place on The History Channel.
 
I am also highly offended that the same History Channel which brought us such outstanding documentaries as JFK: A Presidency Revealed and Turner’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy would ever stoop this low, becoming little more than a mouthpiece for right-wing rumormongering and propaganda the likes of which we would expect from Fox News.
 
Many of my fellow historians and researchers have joined together to let the History Channel know how we feel. We must try and stop this miniseries from being produced as currently written.
 
Please ask The History Channel to allow JFK’s living decendants, friends and key advisors – as well as credible historians and researchers – to consult on production of The Kennedys miniseries. Then, and only then, can we rest assured that this presentation on the Kennedy family is truly “fair and balanced.” 
 
Please take a few minutes to learn more about The Kennedys miniseries here:

History channel draws flak for planned JFK miniseries

Pittsburgh Post Gazette – Dave Itzkoff – ‎Feb 19, 2010‎

 Also please visit the website http://StopKennedySmears.com to view a short film directed by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films which features interviews with Ted Sorensen, David Talbot, Nigel Hamilton, Rick Perlstein, David Nasaw and other Kennedy historians expressing their shock and outrage at this deeply-flawed production. You can view some excerpts of the script and decide for yourself is this is what you want your grandchildren to know about President Kennedy and his family. 

If Jack Kennedy were alive today, he’d surely sue them for defamation of character and win. But since he’s sadly not here to defend himself, looks like it’s going to be up to those of us who still care to speak up before it’s too late. 

If you agree, I hope you will add your name to the petition at StopKennedySmears.com and tell the History Channel to present real history. 

Thank You,
 
 
New Frontier
Founding Editor

 

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Rep. Patrick Kennedy Pulls a Lyndon

In other shocking political news today, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy announced that he will not seek re-election, leaving the U.S. Congress without a Kennedy for the first time since 1947.

Wow. Now that’s what I call “pulling a Lyndon,” allright.

“I shall not seek, nor will I accept…oh to hell with it, I quit, ok?”

After Scott Brown’s stunning victory in the Massachusetts special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, is the tide turning in American politics? For better or for worse? Your thoughts?

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