David Kennedy: Wikis


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David Kennedy
Born June 15, 1955
Washington D.C.
Died April 25, 1984 (aged 28)
Palm Beach, Florida
Political party Democratic
Parents Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel

David Anthony Kennedy (June 15, 1955 – April 25, 1984) was born in Washington, D.C. He was the fourth of eleven children of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy.[1][2][3]


Childhood and young adulthood

As a 13-year-old, he watched his father's assassination on television on June 5, 1968. The event left an emotional scar on Kennedy. He began recreational drug use shortly thereafter.

A 1973 Jeep accident, in which his eldest brother, Joseph Kennedy II, was driving and charged with reckless driving, left his then-girlfriend, Pamela Kelley, paralyzed. David sustained a fractured vertebra and became addicted to the painkillers he was given in the hospital. He began using heroin intravenously that autumn in his final year at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts.

Kennedy spent several years as a student at Harvard University, pursuing a major in American history before dropping out in 1976. He had ambitions of being a journalist and spent several months as an intern for a Tennessean newspaper in 1974. Some staff there were impressed with his aptitude.[4] In 1974 Kennedy and his siblings were the target of kidnap threats, and were given Secret Service protection.[5]

After dropping out of Harvard, Kennedy alternated his time between the Kennedy family home "Hickory Hill" in McLean, Virginia and New York until February 1979, when he moved to New York City full time. He was frequently seen in the Manhattan discos with a succession of attractive women. His most notable involvement was with British actress Rachel Ward, whom he met in one such establishment in 1979.

In his memoir Symptoms of withdrawal: a memoir of snapshots and redemption Christopher Kennedy Lawford describes his cousin David Kennedy as his best friend, and devotes much of chapter 10 to their relationship with one another and the extended Kennedy family.[6]

Health challenges and death

David was diagnosed twice with bacterial endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart often associated with the use of intravenous drugs. He suffered drug overdoses in 1976 and 1978. He also had some skirmishes with the law, including speeding offenses and a DUI. He spent 6 weeks in Sussex, England under the care of Dr. Margaret Patterson, an addiction specialist, during the late autumn of 1978.

David later moved to Sacramento, California, under the guidance of a drug counselor. The beginning of the 1980s saw a more quiet, settled period begin in David's life. Drug free, he found occasional work through family contacts. He enjoyed virtual anonymity in Sacramento, and adapted well to the laid-back lifestyle.

Considering a return to Harvard, David moved back east in the autumn of 1982. A 6 month stint with the Boston based Atlantic Monthly magazine followed. He spent time in Spofford Hall, a rehab facility in New Hampshire in September 1983 in order to curb his drinking before recommencing his studies. He completed a fall semester but his return to drugs again forced him to leave. He remained in Boston with his girlfriend, fashion photographer Paula Sculley, as 1984 began.

He completed a month-long stint at St. Mary's Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis just before Easter 1984, once again trying to combat his addictions. He flew down to Palm Beach, Florida, on April 19, 1984 for Easter, where several members of the Kennedy family had gathered. David checked into room 107 of the Brazilian Court hotel and spent the next few days partying. At the insistence of concerned family members, staff went to check on his welfare and found David dead on the floor of his suite from an overdose of cocaine, Demerol, and Mellaril on April 25, 1984.[1][7]

David Kennedy was interred in the family plot at Holyhood Cemetery, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was 28 years old, the first of the Kennedy grandchildren reaching adulthood to die.

See also


  1. ^ a b Lance Morrow; Hays Gorey; Joseph N. Boyce (1984-05-07). "The One Caught in the Undertow". Time magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.time.com%2Ftime%2Fmagazine%2Farticle%2F0%2C9171%2C954290%2C00.html&date=2009-09-04. 
  2. ^ Bill Adler (1980-11-26). "David Kennedy couldn't shake guilt feelings". The Ledger. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ss4SAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JvsDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6802,3905069&dq=david-anthony-kennedy. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  3. ^ Vivian Marino (1984-05-16). "Two arrested in the death of David Kennedy". The Evening Independent. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-wEMAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XFkDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5071,4455&dq=david-anthony-kennedy. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Slevin and Maureen Spagnolo (1990). Kennedys: The Next Generation. National Press. ISBN 0915765799. 
  5. ^ "Kennedy Children Given U.S. Guard: Move Came After Threats on Late Senator's Family". Los Angeles Times. 1974-09-27. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpqasb.pqarchiver.com%2Flatimes%2Faccess%2F644690852.html%3Fdids%3D644690852%3A644690852%26FMT%3DABS%26FMTS%3DABS%3AAI%26type%3Dhistoric%26date%3DSep%2B27%252C%2B1974%26author%3D%26pub%3DLos%2BAngeles%2BTimes%26desc%3DKennedy%2BChildren%2BGiven%2BU.S.%2BGuard%26pqatl%3Dgoogle&date=2009-09-04. 
  6. ^ Christopher Kennedy Lawford (2005-09-15). Symptoms of withdrawal: a memoir of snapshots and redemption. Smooch. ISBN 9780060732486. http://books.google.com/books?id=nqWRCgrII0wC&pg=PA86&dq=%22David+Anthony+Kennedy%22+-inpublisher:icon&as_brr=0&ei=S-qhSsTNOIPCMu_32IgI#v=onepage&q=%22David%20Anthony%20Kennedy%22%20-inpublisher%3Aicon&f=false. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  7. ^ Stuart, Reginald (May 17, 1984). "3 Drugs are Blamed in David Kennedy Case". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-04. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F1984%2F05%2F17%2Fus%2F3-drugs-are-blamed-in-david-kennedy-case.html&date=2009-09-04. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 

External links

  • David Kennedy website
  • David Kennedy biography
  • David Kennedy at Find a Grave
  • Growing Up Kennedy: The Third Generation Comes of Age by Harrison Rainie and John Quinn, 1983
  • Life special issue, The Kennedys: The Third Generation, 1997.
  • RFK: A Candid Biography of Bobby Kennedy by C. David Heymann (Pages 516 - 521), 1998
  • Searching For The Impossible: The Quest To End All Addiction by Dr. Meg Patterson (pages 152-163), 2006.
  • The Kennedys: An American Drama by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, 1984.

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