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Rory Kennedy

Rory Kennedy (date unknown).
Born Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy
December 12, 1968 (1968-12-12) (age 41)
Washington, D.C, United States
Occupation Documentary director and producer
Spouse(s) Mark Bailey

Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy (born December 12, 1968) is a documentary filmmaker and producer. She is the youngest of the eleven children of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.


Early life and education

Kennedy was born in Washington, D.C., six months after her father was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan. She graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.


In the 1990s, Kennedy 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 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:

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 premièred 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 premièred 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 [1] 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.

Kennedy directed and co-produced Homestead Strike (2006) as part of the 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 premièred 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 premièred on HBO on August 18, 2008.

Activism and politics

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


2008 Barack Obama endorsement

On February 2, 2008, Kennedy announced her support for Barack Obama to be 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:

Last Monday, I was very moved to see my uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, and my cousin, Caroline Kennedy, publicly endorse Sen. Barack Obama. I thought their statements of support were brave, intelligent and responsible. Given the importance of this election, and the remarkable strength of our candidates, it's not an easy decision for anyone looking to cast a vote for a new direction in this country.... Recently, my mother, Ethel Kennedy, said of Obama: 'I think he feels it. He feels it just like Bobby did. He has the passion in his heart. He's not selling you. It's just him.' I agree. Obama is a genuine leader. We Americans - women included - desperately need that kind of leader now. Not a president of a particular gender or a specific race, but a president with a different vision, one who inspires a sense of hope.[2]

Personal life

On August 2, 1999, Kennedy married Mark Bailey in Greece at the home of shipowner Vardis Vardinoyiannis. They have three children: Georgia Elizabeth Kennedy-Bailey (born September 30, 2002); Bridget Katherine Kennedy-Bailey (born July 4, 2004); and Zachary Corkland Kennedy-Bailey (born July 16, 2007)[3]

The family resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Family tragedies

In addition to her father's assassination six months before her birth, Kennedy has experienced other family tragedies throughout her life. Her older brother, David, died of a drug overdose at a Palm Beach, Florida hotel room on April 25, 1984, after a long-publicized battle with drug addiction. A second brother, Robert, Jr., as well as other members of the Kennedy family, has experienced public battles with substance abuse. A third brother, Michael, was killed in an Aspen, Colorado skiing accident on December 31, 1997 that occurred while she was present.

On July 16, 1999, her cousin, John, Jr., was killed in an airplane crash along with his wife and sister-in-law en route to her wedding in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, which was originally scheduled for July 17. Her wedding was postponed, and a considerably scaled-down ceremony was held two weeks later.



  • Kennedy, Rory; Lehman, Steve; Bailey, Mark (1999). American Hollow. Boston. Bulfinch Press (Little, Brown). ISBN 0-8212-2631-2

Documentary Filmography (as director)

  • American Hollow (1999)
  • Different Moms (1999)
  • Epidemic Africa (1999)
  • The Changing Face of Beauty (2000)
  • America: Up In Arms (2000)
  • All Kinds of Families (2001)
  • Healthy Start (2001)
  • Pandemic: Facing AIDS (2003)
  • A Boy's Life (2004)
  • Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable (2004)
  • Homestead Strike (2006)
  • Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007)
  • Thank You Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House (2008)

Documentary Filmography (as producer)

  • The Execution of Wanda Jean (2002)
  • Sixteen (2002)
  • Hidden Crisis: Women and AIDS (2002)
  • Together: Stop Violence Against Women (2003)
  • The Nazi Officer's Wife (2003)
  • Girlhood (2004)
  • Xiara's Song (2004)
  • Street Fight (2005)
  • Yo Soy Boricua (2006)
  • Coma (2007)

See also


  1. ^ Traister, Rebecca (March 24, 2004). "A harrowing, inspiring Boy's Life" Accessed August 25, 2009.
  2. ^ Kennedy, Rory (February 2, 2008). "Rory Kennedy: Two Fine Choices, One Clear Decision - Obama". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 25, 2009.  
  3. ^ 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.

External links


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