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During his almost 47-year Senate career, more than 300 of the roughly 2,500 bills that came out of his office became law.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver—Maria Shriver's mother, grandmother of Patrick and Katherine Schwarzenegger and founder of the Special Olympics—predeceased Teddy by only two weeks in August 2009; she was 88.
The roots remain strong, but some branches were brutally hacked off in their prime.
Two of Joe and Rose Kennedy's nine children didn't make it to 30—Joseph Jr., upon whose shoulders their father's grand designs first rested, and Kathleen "Kick" Kennedy both died in plane crashes in the 1940s—and eldest daughter Rose Marie was lobotomized at 23 and remained institutionalized until she died in 2005. Kennedy, Joe's second-eldest son, was elected president at 43 and assassinated at 46, plunging a nation into grief and birthing a cynicism that it may never have quite recovered from. Brother Edward (or Teddy, or Ted) Kennedy, the youngest of Rose and Joe's children, perhaps could have been president.
If there's a curse, surely it's that."While tragedy indeed ran rampant in Eunice's generation and proceeded to not let up a bit in the next, it has sadly found its way to the new generation.
Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the 22-year-old only child of Bobby Kennedy's daughter Courtney Kennedy Hill, was found dead of an apparent overdose Thursday afternoon at the family compound in Hyannis Port, the dynasty's longtime roost on Cape Cod.
Ethel Kennedy, the 91-year-old widow of Bobby Kennedy, lost her parents and a brother in plane crashes; was pregnant with her 11th child when her husband was murdered; lost two sons, one to a drug overdose and another in a skiing accident; and now is saying goodbye to a granddaughter.
And as with the royals, reading any Kennedy history, you'll come across the same first names and nicknames over and over again, as subsequent generations honor the ones that came before, starting with the Machiavellian patriarch Joseph P.
Kennedy Sr.—Wall Street tycoon, Hollywood studio head, epic philanderer and political visionary. Which it did for a few short years, a fleeting era known, thanks to Jacqueline Kennedy, as Camelot.
Jackie Kennedy lost her husband in the most shattering way imaginable and in the most glaring of public spotlights.
The circumstances of JFK's death, while officially settled, continued to be debated for the rest of her life—and probably still will be for the rest of ours.
But while one crushing blow after another has kept talk of the most blatant of curses—not just periodic misfortune, but the specter of death—alive, different members of the family have processed the ongoing conversation in their own ways."I've come to believe that it's not what has happened to our family that has been cursed as much as it's the fact that we've never been able to deal with it privately," Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the fifth of Joseph Sr.