Rory Kennedy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rory Kennedy
Rory Kennedy 2011.jpg
Rory Kennedy (2011)
Born Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy
(1968-12-12) December 12, 1968 (age 45)
Washington, D.C, United States
Occupation Documentary director and producer
Years active since 1990s
Spouse(s) Mark Bailey
Children Georgia Elizabeth Bailey (born 2002)
Bridget Katherine Bailey (born 2004)
Zachary Corkland Bailey (born 2007)[1]
Parents Robert Francis Kennedy
Ethel Skakel

Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy (born December 12, 1968 in Washington D.C.) is an American documentary filmmaker and producer. She is the youngest of the eleven children of U.S. Senator Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy.

Early life and education[edit]

She was born in Washington, D.C. six months after her father was assassinated. Her mother chose the name "Rory" because she felt it bore resemblance to her father's nickname "Bobby." On December 19, 1968, a week after Kennedy was born, her mother took her to her father's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.[2] When Rory was a teenager, she was arrested outside the South African Embassy. At age 15, she lost her brother David Kennedy when he died in 1984 from a drug overdose. Rory graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. During her sophomore year there, she organized a rally in front of a Providence, Rhode Island supermarket. She urged shoppers to boycott grapes in solidarity with migrant farm workers.[3]


In the 1990s, Rory and fellow Brown classmate Vanessa Vadim (daughter of Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda) formed May Day Media, a non-profit organization that specializes in the production and distribution of films with a social conscience, based in Washington, D.C. In 1998 Kennedy and another fellow Brown graduate Liz Garbus founded Moxie Firecracker Films which specializes in documentaries that highlight pressing social issues. The television networks that have shown its films include: A&E, the UK's Channel 4, Court TV, Discovery Channel, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Oxygen, PBS, Sundance Channel, and TLC.

She directed and co-produced American Hollow (1999) about a struggling Appalachian family which received critical acclaim and many awards. HBO broadcast the film and publisher Little, Brown and Company released Kennedy's companion book simultaneously.

Kennedy directed and co-produced the Emmy Award-nominated series Pandemic: Facing AIDS (2003), which premiered at the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on July 8, 2002; it was later broadcast as a five-part series on HBO in June 2003.

Kennedy directed and co-produced A Boy’s Life (2004), the story of a young boy and his family in rural Mississippi. It premiered to rave reviews at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded the Best Documentary prize at the Woodstock Film Festival; it was later broadcast on HBO.

When asked in a March 24, 2004, interview with [4] about her interest in the American South, Kennedy cited her father's experiences in the region as an inspiration and starting point. In the same article, she goes on to mention that showing class differences in American culture also motivates her.

For HBO she directed and co-produced Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable (2004), which was broadcast on September 9, 2004. The film takes a "what if" look at the catastrophic consequences of a radioactive release at the Indian Point Energy Center, a three-unit nuclear-power plant station, located 35 miles (56 km) north of midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York.

Rory directed and co-produced Homestead Strike (2006) as part of The History Channel’s series, 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America (April 2006).

She was a co-executive producer for Street Fight (2005), which chronicles the 2002 Newark, New Jersey, unsuccessful mayoral campaign of Democratic Cory Booker — then a Newark Municipal Councilman — against Democratic eighteen-year incumbent Mayor Sharpe James. The film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary (Feature). (Booker later won the mayoral election on May 9, 2006, against Democratic Ronald Rice; James did not seek re-election for another four-year term in 2006.)

Kennedy directed and co-produced Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007) which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Documentary.

She directed Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House (2008) for HBO Documentary Films, which premiered on HBO on August 18, 2008. According to reviews, the 40 minute long documentary provided an interesting, if brief, glimpse into the iconic journalist.[5]

On June 30, 2009, Kennedy was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[6]

Kennedy directed "The Fence (La Barda)" which premiered at the opening night of The Sundance Film Festival 2010. The film made its debut on HBO on September 16, 2010. Favorably received, it details the woeful inadequacies of the border fence between the United States and Mexico, which has increased migrants' deaths, but does not deter illegal immigration.[7][8]

In 2011 she produced and directed the documentary Ethel about her mother, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and aired on HBO on October 18, 2012.[9] Reviews called the documentary a moving tribute, but criticized its lack of depth.[9][10]

Activism and politics[edit]

Kennedy advocates for several social activism organizations and sits on the board of numerous non-profit organizations.[clarification needed]

2008 Barack Obama endorsement[edit]

Kennedy announced her support of Barack Obama being the Democratic Party's nominee in the 2008 U.S. presidential election in an op-ed essay, "Two fine choices, one clear decision - Obama", in the San Francisco Chronicle stating:

Personal life[edit]

On August 2, 1999, Kennedy married Mark Bailey in Greece at the home of shipowner Vardis Vardinoyiannis. The wedding was originally scheduled for July 17 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, but was postponed after the plane carrying her cousin John F. Kennedy, Jr. crashed en route to the event. Rory and Mark have three children: Georgia Elizabeth Bailey (born 2002); Bridget Katherine Bailey (born 2004); and Zachary Corkland Bailey (born 2007)[1] The family resides in Brooklyn, New York.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Beggy, Carol and Mark Shanahan, Mark (July 17, 2009). "Busy Moore Takes Time to Sing Local Costar's Praises". The Boston Globe. Accessed August 25, 2009.
  2. ^ Oppenheimer, Jerry (1995). The Other Mrs. Kennedy : An Intimate and Revealing Look at the Hidden Life of Ethel Skakel Kennedy. St. Martin's Paperbacks. pp. 495–496. ISBN 978-0312956004. 
  3. ^ Frey, Jennifer (July 21, 1999). "Rory: The Quiet Kennedy". 
  4. ^ Traister, Rebecca (March 24, 2004). "A harrowing, inspiring Boy's Life" Accessed August 25, 2009.
  5. ^ McNamara, Mary (August 18, 2008). "Review: 'Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House' on HBO". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Academy Invites 134 to Membership | Press Release | The Academy
  7. ^ Grove, Lloyd (Sep 14, 2010). "A Kennedy on the Fence". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Hale, Mike (September 15, 2010). "Fences Make Good Neighbors? This One Has Its Doubters". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Stanley, Alessandra (October 17, 2012). "Cheerfulness Amid Calamity". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Stuever, Hank (October 11, 2012). "HBO’s ‘Ethel’: A Kennedy daughter, born late, reaches into the vault of memories". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Kennedy, Rory (February 2, 2008). "Rory Kennedy: Two Fine Choices, One Clear Decision - Obama". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 

External links[edit]