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John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.

John F. Kennedy Jr. greets invited guests at the HBO and Imagine Entertainment premiere held at Kennedy Space Center in 1998
Born John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr.
November 25, 1960
Washington, DC
Died July 16, 1999 (aged 38)
Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Martha's Vineyard
Other names JFK, Jr.
John, Jr.
John Kennedy
Occupation Socialite, Journalist, lawyer, pilot
magazine publisher
Spouse(s) Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy (m. 1996–1999) «start: (1996)–end+1: (2000)»"Marriage: Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy to John F. Kennedy, Jr." Location: (linkback:,_Jr.)
Parents John F. Kennedy
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. (November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999), often referred to as John F. Kennedy, Jr., JFK Jr., John Jr., John Kennedy or John-John, was an American socialite, magazine publisher, lawyer, and pilot. The elder son of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy, Kennedy was killed in a plane crash along with his wife and sister-in-law on July 16, 1999.


Early years

John F. Kennedy, Jr. with his father, John F. Kennedy, at the White House in 1963.

Born at Georgetown University Hospital sixteen days after his father was elected to the presidency, Kennedy was in the public spotlight from his father's inauguration as President of the United States in 1961 until his death in 1999. He had an older sister, Caroline, and a younger brother, Patrick (who died two days after his birth in 1963). For most of the first three years of his life he lived in the White House. His nickname "John-John" came from a reporter mishearing JFK calling him ("John" spoken twice in quick succession). Though he was often referred to publicly as "John-John", members of the Kennedy family themselves did not use the nickname.[1]

His father was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and three days later, on his third birthday, the funeral procession was held. In a moment that became an emotional and iconic image of the 1960s, young JFK, Jr. stepped forward and rendered a final salute as the flag-draped casket was carried out from St. Matthew's Cathedral.[2] Following his father's assassination, Kennedy grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, and in 1968, his mother married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, whom she had met in the early 1950s.[3] Their marriage lasted until Onassis' death in 1975, when John, Jr. was fourteen years old.

John F. Kennedy Jr salutes his father's coffin


Kennedy attended the Collegiate School in New York City from third through tenth grades, and later graduated from Phillips Academy (also known as Andover). Kennedy graduated from Brown University in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in History. While at Brown, Kennedy was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

After Brown, Kennedy took a working break, traveling to India and spending some time at the University of Delhi where he met Mother Teresa. He also worked with some of the Kennedy special interest projects, including the East Harlem School at Exodus House and Reaching Up. From 1984-1986 he worked for the New York City Office of Business Development. He served as deputy director of the 42nd Street Development Corporation in 1986. He also did a bit of acting during that time, which had been one of his passions, having appeared in many plays while at Brown.

Generally considered handsome and athletic, Kennedy was dubbed People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1988, and was the only person so named who was not a working actor.

In 1989, Kennedy earned a J.D. degree from the New York University School of Law.[4] He failed the New York bar exam twice before passing on the third try in July 1990.[5] Kennedy then served as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office for four years.[6]

John Jr. plays under the desk of his father, President John F. Kennedy. (The door hinged to the desk was installed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had polio, for the purpose of hiding his leg braces.)

Public career

In 1995, Kennedy founded George, a glossy politics-as-lifestyle monthly which sometimes took editorial aim even at members of his own family. He controlled 1 per cent of the company's shares. After Kennedy's death, the magazine was bought out by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines[7] his partners in George and continued for over a year. With falling advertising sales,[7] the magazine folded in early 2001.[8] Before his death, however, he had conceded that he "might have to wind it up by the end of the year".[9]

Personal life

Kennedy's ex-girlfriends include Jennifer Christian (his high school sweetheart at Andover), Sally Munro (his girlfriend at Brown, they dated for six years), Julie Baker (a model he dated in the late '80s on and off for a few years), Christina Haag (a Brown alumna and actress he'd had a crush on while there; they started dating in 1985 for a few years), Ashley Richardson (a model and actress), Sarah Jessica Parker (they dated in 1988), Daryl Hannah (they dated on and off from 1989 to 1994 and lived together briefly at Hannah's Upper West Side apartment) and a brief fling with Madonna during an off-point in his relationship with Hannah.[citation needed]

Kennedy married Carolyn Bessette on September 21, 1996 on Cumberland Island, Georgia.[10] His older sister Caroline acted as the matron of honor and cousin Anthony Stanislas Radziwill acted as best man.[11]


On July 16, 1999, Kennedy was killed along with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren when the Piper Saratoga II HP he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the crash was pilot error: "Kennedy's failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation."[12] Kennedy was not qualified to fly a plane by "instruments only." Their ashes were scattered from the Navy ship USS Briscoe off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Kennedy Year in Review CNN.
  2. ^ Lucas, Dean (2007-07-22). "Famous Pictures Magazine - JFK jr salutes JFK". Famous Pictures Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  3. ^ As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Family, by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
  4. ^ Heymann, Clemens David (2007). American Legacy: The Story of John & Caroline Kennedy. Simon and Schuster. pp. 323. ISBN 0-743-49738-4. 
  5. ^ Blow, Richard; Bradley, Richard (2002). American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr.. Macmillan. pp. 17. ISBN 0-312-98899-0. 
  6. ^ Spoto, Donald (2000). Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life. Macmillan. pp. 330. ISBN 0-312-97707-7. 
  7. ^ a b Bercovici, Jeff. Hachette delivers death ax to George. Media Life Magazine. 2001.
  8. ^ CNN Transcript: Reliable Sources: 'George' Folds. January 6, 2001.
  9. ^ Littell, Robert T. (2004). The Men We Became: My Friendship With John F. Kennedy, Jr. Macmillan. pp. 175. ISBN 0-312-32476-6. 
  10. ^ Landau, Elaine (2000). John F. Kennedy, Jr.. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 117. ISBN 0-761-31857-7. 
  11. ^ Heymann, Clemens David (2007). American Legacy: The Story of John & Caroline Kennedy. Simon and Schuster. pp. 458. ISBN 0-743-49738-4. 
  12. ^ "NTSB report NYC99MA178". 
  13. ^ Gellman, Barton; Ferdinand, Pamela (1999-07-23). "Kennedy, Bessettes Given Shipboard Rites". Washington Post. pp. A1. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 

External links

Preceded by
Harry Hamlin
People magazine's
Sexiest Man Alive

Succeeded by
Sean Connery
Child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy
Preceded by
Caroline Kennedy
Kennedy child
(by order of birth)

November 25, 1960 – July 16, 1999
Succeeded by
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy

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