John F Kennedy Jr

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John F. Kennedy, Jr. (on the cover of Time magazine after his death in July 1999).

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., often referred to as John F. Kennedy, Jr., JFK Jr. or John-John (November 25, 1960July 16, 1999) was an American lawyer, journalist, and publisher. He was the son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

Early life

Born less than a month after his father was elected to the presidency, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was in the public spotlight from infancy. He lived for the first three years of his life in the White House. His father was assassinated on November 22, 1963, three days before Kennedy Jr.'s third birthday, and the son's poignant salute of his father's casket during the funeral procession on his third birthday became a heartbreaking and iconic image of the 1960s.

Kennedy grew up primarily on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. His mother Jacqueline Kennedy was married to Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis from 1968 until Onassis's death in 1975, when John was 14 years old. By most accounts, Aristotle Onassis did not play a particularly significant role in young John's life.


John F. Kennedy, Jr. was first educated at St. David's, a Roman Catholic school in New York City, but later transferred to Phillips Academy (Andover) and went on to Brown University. He graduated in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in history. At Brown, Kennedy was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity (though the chapter at the time was officially inactive). In 1989, he earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from New York University Law School. He failed the New York Bar exam twice before passing on the third try.


He spoke at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a New York City assistant district attorney from 1989 to 1993. In 1995, he founded George, a glossy politics-as-lifestyle monthly which ceased publication in 2001. Through the 1980s until his death in July 1999, Kennedy was an often-seen and much-photographed personality in Manhattan.

He married Carolyn Bessette in 1996.


On July 16, 1999, Kennedy died at age 38, along with his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, when the aircraft he was piloting, N9253N, a Piper Saratoga, crashed on a hazy night into the Atlantic Ocean en route from Essex County Airport in Fairfield, New Jersey, to Martha's Vineyard, where his family has a vacation house. Kennedy, his wife, and his sister-in-law were traveling to attend the wedding of cousin, Rory Kennedy, which was subsequently delayed as a result of the accident.

Kennedy was a relatively inexperienced pilot, with 310 hours of flight experience, including 55 hours of night flying and 36 hours in the high-performance Piper Saratoga. He had completed about half of an instrument training course but was not rated for flying in low visibility conditions. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation [1] found no evidence of mechanical malfunction in airframe, systems, avionics, or engine, and determined that the probable cause was "the pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation. Factors in the accident were haze, and the dark night." The report noted that spatial disorientation as a result of continued VFR flight into adverse weather conditions is a regular cause of fatal aircraft accidents. Kyle Bailey, a pilot believed to have been the last person to see Kennedy alive at Essex County Airport, subsequently stated that he had cancelled his own intended journey to Martha's Vineyard citing that the weather on the route was "a little too hazy." It also emerged that, while Kennedy had made the journey from Essex County Airport to the Vineyard several times before, he had never made it alone and at night — factors which can make a flight challenging, especially for a noninstrument-rated pilot. Kennedy's flight instructor (CFI) stated that he offered to fly with Kennedy on the fatal journey but Kennedy replied "he wanted to do it alone." The instructor also stated that he was uncomfortable with Kennedy making a flight alone in a high-performance aircraft at night, over open water and into haze.

During the memorial service on July 23, Kennedy's uncle, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, said that "we dared to think...that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But like his father, he had every gift but length of years." [2] U.S. President Bill Clinton attended the service, and ordered that the flag at the White House be lowered to half-staff in honor of John F. Kennedy, Jr.

See also

External links

de:John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. fr:John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. he:ג'ון קנדי ג'וניור ja:ジョン・フィッツジェラルド・ケネディ・ジュニア vi:John F. Kennedy, Jr.