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John F. Kennedy, Jr.


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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 died in a plane crash along with his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette, on July 16, 1999.

Early years

John F. Kennedy Jr. was born at Georgetown University Hospital sixteen days after his father was elected to the presidency. The younger Kennedy was in the public spotlight from his father's inauguration as President of the United States in 1961 until his own 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 who misheard 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.

His father was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and three days later, on John Jr's 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. Following his father's assassination, Kennedy grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, and in 1968, his mother Jaqueline married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, whom she had met in the early 1950s. Their marriage lasted until Aristotle Onassis' death in 1975. Jackie died on May 19, 1994, of cancer, at the age of sixty-four.


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.

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, an activity which had been one of his passions; he 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. He failed the New York bar exam twice before passing on the third try in July 1990. Kennedy then served as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office for four years.

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 50 percent of the company's shares. After Kennedy's death, the magazine was bought out by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines his partners in George and continued for over a year. With falling advertising sales the magazine folded in early 2001. Before his death, however, Kennedy had conceded that he "might have to wind it up by the end of the year".

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.

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


On July 16, 1999, Kennedy along with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren were reported missing when the Piper Saratoga II HP he was piloting lost contact with airport control. A search immediately commenced to locate the trio, ending on July 21 when their bodies were discovered and returned to land. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the plane had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha's Vineyard and the probable cause 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." 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.









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