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Kara Kennedy

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Kara Kennedy

Kara Kennedy Allen
Born Kara Anne Kennedy
(1960-02-27)February 27, 1960
Bronxville, New York
Died September 16, 2011(2011-09-16) (aged 51)
Washington, D.C.
Cause of death Heart attack[1]
Other names Kara Kennedy Allen
Alma mater Tufts University
Occupation Homemaker
Professional board of directors member
Television producer
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Michael Allen
Children Grace Kennedy Allen (born 1994)
Max Allen (born 1996)
Parent(s) Edward M. Kennedy
Joan Bennett Kennedy
Relatives John F. Kennedy uncle
Robert F. Kennedy uncle

Kara Anne Kennedy Allen (February 27, 1960 – September 16, 2011) was a member of the American political dynasty, the Kennedy family. She was the oldest of the three children of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts, and the niece of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Kara Kennedy served on the boards of numerous charities and was a filmmaker and television producer.

Early life and education

Kara Anne Kennedy was born in 1960 to Joan and Ted Kennedy in Bronxville, New York. In his book True Compass, Senator Kennedy wrote about his joy at her birth: "I had never seen a more beautiful baby nor been more happy." Her siblings are Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr. (born 1961), and Patrick Joseph Kennedy II (born 1967). She spent her early years in Virginia and Cape Cod. She attended the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. and Trinity College, Hartford. Kennedy graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.[2][3]


After graduating from the National Cathedral School in 1978, Kennedy worked on her father's 1980 Presidential campaign before matriculating at Tufts University. Following the receipt of her degree in 1983, she pursued a career in television, working at Fox News in New York. She also was a producer for the television program Evening Magazine at station WBZ-TV in Boston.[2]

Kennedy co-managed her father's successful 1988 re-election campaign with her brother Ted.

Kennedy produced films for Jean Kennedy Smith to encourage participation in the arts by persons with disabilities. One of Kennedy's best known projects was a film she produced on Chris Burke, the actor with Down syndrome who starred in the television series Life Goes On. She revealed that the film project had as much of a positive impact on her as it did on the viewing audience.

In 1990, Kennedy married architect and real estate developer Michael Allen of Jamestown, Rhode Island. When their first child, Grace, was born in September 1994, she made the decision to be a full-time mother and homemaker. Her son Max was born in 1996.

Kennedy served as a director John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the presidential library and museum of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kennedy also gave her time to Sibley Hospital, and to the women of the N Street Village in Washington, D.C. She served as a board member of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate where she co-produced a film about the Institute that was shown at its inaugural groundbreaking event. Kennedy was a reading tutor and was preparing to join the Board of Reading Partners at the time of her death.

Kennedy was on the National Advisory Board of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS).[5]

Personal life

In September 1990, Kennedy and Michael Allen, an architect and real estate developer from Rhode Island, were married at the Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a frequent site of Kennedy family events.[3] When she married, Kennedy dropped her middle name "Anne" and replaced it with her maiden name "Kennedy" as her new middle name.[2] They had two children: Grace Kennedy Allen (born September 19, 1994, in Washington, D.C.) and Max Greathouse Allen (born December 20, 1996, in Rockville, Maryland).[6] Kennedy and Allen divorced shortly before her death.[7]

In 2002, at age 42, Kennedy was diagnosed with lung cancer.[3] Initially told the disease was inoperable, she found — with her father's help — a surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who was willing to remove part of her right lung in an effort to save her life. The operation was successful, and she resumed an active life that included regular running and swimming.[8]

On August 12, 2009, Kennedy accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama on behalf of her father at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Her father died 13 days later; he had been diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2008.[9][10]

In April 2011, Kennedy wrote an article for The Boston Globe magazine about her father's influence on her and her family life with him growing up. Kennedy revealed her close relationship with her father, and the role he played in helping her to wage her battle against lung cancer.


On September 16, 2011, only two years after her father's death, Kennedy suffered a fatal heart attack in a Washington, D.C., health club after her daily workout. She was 51.[3][11] She was survived by her children, her two younger brothers and her mother. She was interred at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts, alongside her grandparents Rose and Joseph Kennedy.

See also


  1. ^ NY Times confirms heart attack as cause of death
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ ABC News, Kara Kennedy's Heart May Have Taken 'Direct Hit' by Cancer Cure September 20, 2011. Accessed April 6, 2012
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
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