ETHEL KENNEDY Biography - Polititians


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Name: Ethel Skakel Kennedy                                                               
Born. 11 April 1928 Chicago, Illinois                                                   
Ethel Skakel Kennedy (born April 11, 1928) is a member of the famed Kennedy             
family by her marriage to Robert F. Kennedy.                                             
Born in Chicago, Illinois to Ann Brannack, a Roman Catholic, and George Skakel,         
a Protestant, Ethel was raised Catholic in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her father           
was the founder of the very successful Great Lakes Carbon Corporation.                   
Ethel attended the all-girls Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, as well as                 
the Convent of the Sacred Heart in the Bronx. In September 1945, Ethel began her         
collegiate education at Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart (then located         
in Manhattan), where she met Jean Kennedy, sister of her soon-to-be husband,             
Robert F. Kennedy, and the two became friends and roommates.                             
Ethel met Robert F. Kennedy (Bobby) during a skiing trip to Mont-Tremblant,             
Quebec, Canada during the winter of 1945. At the time, Robert was dating Ethel's         
sister, Patricia. Eventually that relationship ended and Ethel and Bobby started         
seeing each other. Ethel campaigned for Bobby's brother, John F. Kennedy, in his         
1946 campaign for United States Congress, and wrote her college thesis on his           
book Why England Slept.                                                                 
Bobby and Ethel became engaged in February 1950, and were married on June 17,           
1950 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenwich. Ethel's wedding dress and               
bridal party gowns were created by noted New York City fashion designer Mamie           
Conti. As newlyweds, Ethel and Bobby moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where           
they lived while Bobby finished his last year at the University of Virginia Law         
School. Their first child, Kathleen, was born on July 4, 1951. After Bobby               
graduated with his law degree, the family settled in the Washington, D.C. area           
and Bobby went to work for the Department of Justice. However, that path did not         
last long as Bobby was asked by his family to manage John F. Kennedy's 1952             
successful Senate campaign in Massachusetts.                                             
Throughout the 1950s, Robert Kennedy worked for the federal government in               
investigatory roles for the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations with the               
notoriously anti-Communist Senator Joe McCarthy and as chief counsel for the             
Senate Democrats. In 1956, the Kennedys purchased Hickory Hill from Bobby's             
brother John and his wife, Jackie. They needed a larger house, since Ethel was           
pregnant with their fifth child. This enormous 13 bedroom, 13 bath home was             
situated on six acres in McLean, Virginia.                                               
In contrast to John and Jackie Kennedy, Robert and Ethel held many get-togethers         
at their home. Whether it was a pool party or a formal dinner party, the guest           
list was impressive and eclectic. Journalist Roger Mudd remembers meeting John           
Lennon at one such party. Other notable invitees included the Secretary of the           
Interior Stewart Udall, entertainer Judy Garland, dancer Rudolf Nureyev and             
historian Arthur Schlesinger, who found himself thrown into the pool fully               
clothed where Ethel was also already swimming fully clothed.                             
The 11 Kennedy children added to the wild atmosphere at Hickory Hill.                   
Notoriously, Robert Jr. had a zoo in the basement. It was not unusual to see             
reptiles, a seal, an anteater, miniature ponies and even an elephant on the             
grounds. Jackie found the children so wild that she did not allow Caroline               
and John Jr. to play with their cousins.                                                 
Due to her strict Catholicism, Ethel reportedly objected when her children's             
private school began to teach the Theory of Evolution.                                   
Frequently throughout the 1970s, Ethel was escorted to dinners, parties and the         
theater by singer Andy Williams, a family friend. However, she never engaged in         
any romantic relationships with another man following her husband's death.               
Citing her Catholicism, she had said she would never marry again.                       
In October 2003, the Boston Globe reported that Ethel was selling the legendary         
residence for $25 million. By 2008, still unsold, the asking price has been             
cut in half to $12.5 million, with the understanding that the historic mansion (which   
served as headquarters to Union General George B. McClellan in the Civil War) is         
in need of a multi-million dollar renovation.                                           
As of 2007, Ethel continues to live at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport.             
During the 2008 presidential election she endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama         
(as did her children Max and Rory, though another three, Kathleen Kennedy               
Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Kerry Kennedy, publicly endorsed Senator           
Hillary Clinton). In her official statement, she compared Obama with her late           
husband, saying:                                                                         
"Barack is so like Bobby...With courage, caring, and charisma, Senator Obama is         
leading us toward a kinder, gentler world."