Kennedy curse

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The Kennedy curse refers to a series of deaths, accidents, and other calamities involving members of the American Kennedy family.[1][2][3][3][4][5][6][7][8]


Events that have been cited as evidence of a curse include:

Kennedy deaths[edit]

Other incidents[edit]

  • November 1941 – Rosemary Kennedy, at the age of 23, struggled to read and write, and she suffered from mood swings, seizures, and violent outbursts. In an attempt to cure or treat his daughter (or, more cynically, to keep her under control and avoid the potential for social embarrassment and political damage to the family), [18] Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. secretly arranged for her to undergo a prefrontal lobotomy, which was at the time seen as a revolutionary and promising treatment for various mental illnesses. But, instead of saving Rosemary, the now-discredited procedure left her mentally and physically incapacitated. Rosemary remained institutionalized in seclusion, in rural Wisconsin, until her death in 2005.[4][5][6][12][10]
  • October 3, 1955 - Ethel Kennedy's parents, Ann and George Skakel, died in a plane crash in Oklahoma. [19]
  • December 19, 1961 – Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. suffered a massive stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side. He also struggled with aphasia, which severely affected his ability to speak.[20]
  • June 19, 1964 – U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy survived a plane crash that killed one of his aides as well as the pilot. The senator was pulled from the wreckage by passenger (and fellow senator) Birch Bayh. Kennedy spent five months in a hospital recovering from a broken back, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.[4][5][10][21] Following the crash, Bobby Kennedy remarked to aide Ed Guthman: "Somebody up there doesn't like us." [22]
  • July 18, 1969 – In the Chappaquiddick incident, Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, resulting in the drowning death of 28-year-old passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.[4][5][6][7][10] In his televised statement a week later, the senator said that on the night of the incident he wondered "whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys."[23][24][25]
  • January 23, 1973 - Alexander Onassis, stepbrother of John F. Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy, died from injuries sustained in a plane crash in Athens, Greece. His sister, Christina Onassis, blamed the Kennedy curse. [26]
  • August 13, 1973 – Joseph P. Kennedy II was the driver of a Jeep that crashed and left his passenger, Pam Kelley, paralyzed. Fellow passenger, brother David A. Kennedy, was injured.[4][6][12]
  • November 17, 1973 – Edward M. Kennedy Jr., age 12, had his right leg surgically amputated as a result of bone cancer. He underwent an experimental two-year drug treatment to cure the cancer.[27][28]
  • 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.[29] Smith was acquitted.[1][3][4][12]


  • Klein, Edward. The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years. St. Martin's Press, 2004.[30]
  • Williams, Les. The Kennedy Curse: Shattered. Gayles Publishing, 2016. [31][32]


  1. ^ a b c "Kennedy Family Tragedies". The Washington Post. July 18, 1999. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  2. ^ Carr, Pat; Hulteng, Lee. "Kennedy Family Tragedies". The Courant. Hartford, CT. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c McGrory, Brian (July 18, 1999). "Family Overshadowed by a Litany of Tragedy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jones, Sam; Tran, Mark (August 26, 2009). "History of the Kennedy Curse". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Kennedy Curse". The Courant. Hartford, CT. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Is Pat's Crash Part of Kennedy Curse?". Good Morning America. ABC News. May 5, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  8. ^ Lacayo, Richard (August 26, 2009). "Ted Kennedy, 1932–2009: The Brother Who Mattered Most". Time. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
  9. ^ "Kennedy Family Deaths: A Timeline of Tragedy". The New York Times. August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Negrin, Matt (May 16, 2012). "Kennedy Curse: A Political Family's Troubled Life". ABC News. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  11. ^ Stokes, Louis (1979). "Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations of the U.S. House of Representatives". Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.
  12. ^ a b c d e King, John (July 17, 1999). "Tragedy Has Repeatedly Stalked Kennedy Clan". CNN. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  13. ^ Goddard, Jacqui (September 17, 2011). "Kara Kennedy Dies Aged 51". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "RFK Jr.'s Troubled Estranged Wife Found Dead in NY". Google News. Associated Press. May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  15. ^ Linton, Caroline. "Saoirse Kennedy Hill, granddaughter of RFK and Ethel Kennedy, found dead at family compound". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  16. ^ Seelye, Katherine Q.; Martin, Jonathan (August 1, 2019). "Granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy Dies After Overdose at Family's Compound". The New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Death of Saoirse Kennedy Hill ruled accidental overdose". Boston Herald. November 1, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  18. ^ El-Hai, Jack (January 15, 2005). "The exiled Kennedy". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  19. ^ Larry Tye. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, p. 289
  20. ^ People: May 22, 1964
  21. ^ "The Luck of the Kennedys". May 8, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  22. ^ Larry Tye. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, p. 320
  23. ^ "The Mysteries of Chappaquiddick". Time. August 1, 1969. Archived from the original on August 31, 2009.
  24. ^ "'Grief, Fear, Doubt, Panic' – And Guilt". Newsweek. August 4, 1969.
  25. ^ Kennedy, Ted (2009). The Kennedys. American Experience (TV-series). Boston.
  26. ^ "Video Biography of Aristotles Onassis". August 11, 2008. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007. Retrieved April 26, 2009.
  27. ^ BG Series
  28. ^ Clymer, A Biography, pp. 205–208.
  29. ^ Dunne, Dominick (March 1992). "The Verdict". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  30. ^ The Kennedy Curse
  31. ^ The Kennedy Curse busted: It was ALL Joe Kennedy’s fault and here's WHY
  32. ^ The Kennedy Curse: Shattered