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Ethel Kennedy documentary premieres tonight on HBO
Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy Sr., is the subject of a new documentary premiering tonight on HBO. The film, which features in-depth interviews with the 84-year-old about her life, was produced by her youngest daughter, Rory Kennedy.
The film, entitled "Ethel," is “a daughter’s loving tribute to her mother,” wrote Newsday TV critic Verne Gay.
As a political wife, Ethel Kennedy was a firsthand witness to the tragedies of the Kennedy clan, including the assassination of her brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963, and the subsequent murder of her husband during his run for the presidency five years later. She also suffered the losses of two of her 11 children and of her parents in a 1955 plane crash.
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In the documentary, Ethel Kennedy offers a pragmatic view of the tragedies that have befallen her family.
“Everyone has friends and family who have died or are really sick,” she said. “So you have to have your wits about you. Dig in and do what you can because it might not last.”
The documentary chronicles how, after her husband’s death, Ethel Kennedy worked to continue his legacy and to instill his values and spirit in their children, three of whom live in Westchester County.
Kerry Kennedy, a mother of three who lives in Mount Kisco, is Ethel and RFK’s seventh-oldest child. Recently profiled in Newsday Westchester, she said that she works to carry on her father's legacy as president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights.
“My parents did not separate their home life from their work life," Kerry Kennedy told Newsday. "And so our household was always filled with people who were on the cutting edge of social change.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a noted attorney and environmental activist, is the third-eldest of RFK and Ethel’s children. The Kennedy family experienced another tragedy when Robert's estranged wife, Mary, committed suicide in their Bedford home in May.
Douglas Kennedy, the 10th child in the family, also lives in Westchester County. He is an on-air personality with Fox News.
Family members including Kerry Kennedy, Robert Kennedy Jr. and his son, Conor Kennedy, who is dating singer Taylor Swift, feted Ethel and Rory Kennedy at the documentary's New York City premiere on Oct. 15.