The Kennedy tragedies, commonly known as the Kennedy curse, is a term sometimes used to describe a series of events involving members of the Kennedy family. The notion of a curse is superstitious and was created and fostered by the news media.
Believers in the curse generally cite the following core events as evidence of the family's misfortunes:
- 1941 – Rosemary Kennedy was often believed to have been mentally challenged. Some sources have claimed she was suffering from mental illness, such as depression and schizophrenia. Because of her increasingly violent and severe mood swings, her father, Joe, Sr., arranged in secret for her to undergo a lobotomy. The lobotomy instead further impaired her cognitive abilities, and as a result, Rosemary remained institutionalized until her death in 2005.
- August 12, 1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. died when his plane exploded over East Suffolk, England, as part of Project Anvil.
- May 13, 1948 – Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington, died in a plane crash in France.
- August 23, 1956 – Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Arabella. (Although she is buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to her parents with a marker reading "Daughter", her parents had intended to name her Arabella.)
- August 9, 1963 – Patrick Bouvier Kennedy died two days after his premature birth.
- November 22, 1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime, but was shot and killed by Jack Ruby two days later before a trial could take place. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that those investigations were seriously flawed and that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy.
- June 19, 1964 – U.S. Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy was involved in a plane crash in which one of his aides and the pilot were killed. He was pulled from the wreckage by fellow senator Birch E. Bayh II and spent weeks in a hospital recovering from a broken back, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.
- June 5, 1968 – U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan in Los Angeles immediately following his victory in the California Democratic presidential primary. Sirhan was convicted of Kennedy's murder and is serving a life sentence at the Pleasant Valley State Prison.
- July 18, 1969 – In the Chappaquiddick incident, Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, which fatally trapped his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, inside. In his July 25 televised statement, Kennedy stated that on the night of the incident he wondered "whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys."
- August 13, 1973 – Joseph P. Kennedy II was the driver of a car which crashed and injured his passenger, Pam Kelley.
- November 17, 1973 - Ted Kennedy, Jr. had his right leg amputated because of bone cancer.
- April 25, 1984 – David Anthony Kennedy died of a cocaine and Demerol overdose in a Palm Beach, Florida hotel room.
- April 1, 1991 – William Kennedy Smith was arrested and charged with the rape of a young woman at the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The subsequent trial attracted extensive media coverage. Smith was acquitted.
- December 31, 1997 – Michael LeMoyne Kennedy died in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado. Suspected of statutory rape after having a three-year affair with (at the time) a 14-year-old baby sitter.
- July 16, 1999 – John F. Kennedy, Jr. died when the Piper Saratoga light aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard due to pilot error. His wife and sister-in-law were also killed.
- September 16, 2011 – Kara Kennedy Allen died of a heart attack while exercising in a Washington, D.C. health club. Kennedy had already suffered from lung cancer in 2002, but recovered after the removal of part of her right lung.
- May 16, 2012 – Mary Richardson Kennedy hung herself on the grounds of her home in Bedford, Westchester County, New York.
- "Kennedy Family Tragedies". The Washington Post. 1999. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- "Kennedy family tragedies". Tribune Company. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- McGrory, Brian (1999-07-18). "Family overshadowed by a litany of tragedy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- Klein, Edward (2004). The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-31293-0.
- Jones, Sam; Tran, Mark (2009-08-26). "History of the Kennedy curse". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- "The Kennedy Curse". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- "Is Pat's Crash Part of Kennedy Curse?". ABC News. 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- Lacayo, Richard (2009-08-26). "Ted Kennedy, 1932–2009: The Brother Who Mattered Most". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- Grady, Sandy (1999-07-22). "There is no Kennedy curse; it's actually too much macho". Rome News-Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- "Kennedy curse". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- O'Dowd, Niall (2011-09-18). "Talk of a Kennedy curse is nonsense, latest death of Kara revives idle chatter". IrishCentral. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- King, John (1999-07-17). "Tragedy has repeatedly stalked Kennedy clan". CNN. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
- Negrin, Matt (2012-05-16). "Kennedy Curse: A Political Family's Troubled Life". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Arabella Kennedy (1956–1956) - Find A Grave Memorial
- "The Luck of the Kennedys". Check-Six.com. May 8, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- 'Grief, Fear, Doubt, Panic'—And Guilt. Newsweek. 1969-08-04.
- Kennedy, Ted (2009). The Kennedys (TV-series). American Experience, WGBH-TV.
- Dunne, Dominick (March 1992). "The Verdict". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Goddard, Jacqui (2011-09-17). "Kara Kennedy dies aged 51". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- "'I'm so grateful I have those memories': Joan Kennedy remembers last summer with daughter Kara before she died". The Daily Mail. 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- RFK Jr.'s troubled estranged wife found dead in NY Associated Press, 16 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.