Ted Kennedy (Edward Moore Kennedy)

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy

A member of the prominent Kennedy and Fitzgerald families, he attended Harvard University before being expelled for cheating on an exam. After serving in the United States Army from 1951 to 1953, he was readmitted to Harvard, graduating in 1956. He then studied at The Hague’s International Law School, and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1959. He was a Regional Manager for his brother John F. Kennedy’s successful 1960 presidential campaign, afterwards working as a Suffolk County, Massachusetts Assistant District Attorney. In November 1962 he was the successful Democratic United States Senate candidate in a special election held to finish the unexpired portion of the term to which his brother had been reelected in 1958, and which Benjamin Smith filled by appointment after John Kennedy’s 1961 resignation. He was reelected eight times and served until his death. A Senator far longer than his brothers John and Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy emerged as one of the body’s leaders, serving as party Whip from 1969 to 1971, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee from 1979 to 1981, and Chairman of the Labor and Human Resources (later Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee from 1987 to 1993, January 2001, June 2001 to January 2003, and 2007 until his death. In 1969 he admitted to being the driver in the accident in which Mary Jo Kopechne died, temporarily losing his license after pleading guilty to leaving the scene. In 1980 he was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, losing to incumbent Jimmy Carter. A longtime advocate of universal health care and a noted orator, his words inspired political liberals, especially during terms of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Famed as having one of the Senate’s best staffs, and known for his ability to build personal relationships even with Senators who disagreed with him politically, he was a productive legislator, taking part in passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), the No Child Left Behind Act. He was a key supporter of Barack Obama for President in 2008, and overcame kidney stones to deliver a memorable speech at the Democratic convention. Kennedy died from the effects of a brain tumor that was diagnosed in early 2008.


  • February, 22, 1932
  • Boston, Massachusetts


  • August, 25, 2009
  • Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

Cause of Death

  • Brain Cancer


  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • Arlington, Virginia

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