Kennedy curse

The Kennedy curse refers to a series of premature deaths, accidents, and other calamities involving members of the American Kennedy family.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] The alleged curse has primarily struck the children and descendants of businessman Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., but it has also affected family friends, associates, and other relatives. Political assassinations and plane crashes have been the most common manifestations of the "curse".


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

Kennedy deathsEdit

Other incidentsEdit

  • November 1941 – Rosemary Kennedy, age 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 Joseph Kennedy secretly arranged for her to undergo a prefrontal lobotomy, which was seen as a promising treatment for various mental illnesses. 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.[21]
  • June 19, 1964 – U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy survived a plane crash that killed one of his aides as well as the pilot. The small plane crashed in an apple orchard near Southampton, Massachusetts. 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][22] Following the crash, Bobby Kennedy remarked to aide Ed Guthman: "Somebody up there doesn't like us."[23]
  • July 18, 1969 – Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, 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."[24]
  • 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.[25][26]
  • 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.[27] Smith was acquitted.[1][3][4][12]
  • May 4, 2006 – Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy crashed his automobile while intoxicated into a barricade on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at 2:45 a.m. He later revealed an addiction to prescription medications Ambien and Phenergan and pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of prescription drugs, sentenced to one year probation and a fine of $350. [28][29]
  • May 4, 2018 - The Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the 1975 murder conviction of Ethel Kennedy's nephew Michael Skakel, who was convicted of killing neighbor Martha Moxley by bludgeoning her to death with a golf club when both were teenagers. Skakel was sentenced to 20 years to life, a conviction overturned by the Connecticut lower courts in 2013 after he served 11 years, reinstated in 2017, then reversed again in 2018.[30] On October 30, 2020 a Connecticut prosecutor ruled that Skakel, age 60, would not face a second murder trial in the death of Moxley. Chief Connecticut State attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. said there was insufficient evidence for a retrial.[31]

See alsoEdit


  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 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. ^ Osborne, Mark (April 4, 2020). "Daughter, grandson of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, RFK's daughter, presumed dead in canoe accident". ABC News. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  19. ^ Theresa Waldrop and Rebekah Riess. "Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean's body found by divers". CNN. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  20. ^ Oxenden, McKenna (April 8, 2020). "Body of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's grandson found after five days of searching". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  21. ^ Larry Tye. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, p. 289
  22. ^ "The Luck of the Kennedys". May 8, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  23. ^ Larry Tye. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, p. 320
  24. ^ Kennedy, Edward. "Address to the People of Massachusetts on Chappaquiddick." 25 July 1969.
  25. ^ BG Series
  26. ^ Clymer, A Biography, pp. 205–208.
  27. ^ Dunne, Dominick (March 1992). "The Verdict". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
  28. ^ " - Rep. Kennedy entering rehab after crash - May 5, 2006".
  29. ^ "Life After Fender Bender - Roll Call". August 21, 2009.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Kennedy cousin Skakel will not be retried in 1975 killing". AP NEWS. October 30, 2020.


  • Klein, Edward. The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years. St. Martin's Press, 2004.[1]