Tonight “The Kennedy Files” premieres its ten-part series devoted to America’s royal family on Reelz Channel. This episode is about John F. Kennedy Jr., America’s child, the son of a fallen president whose family and the nation wanted him to follow in his father’s footsteps. In 1988, at 27 years of age, John Kennedy Jr. addressed the Democratic National Convention, his debut on the national stage and the one that many around the country have been waiting to see. He stated that a quarter of a century ago, his father stood there and accepted the nomination for President of the United States.
He knew full well what the world had planned for him since he saluted his father’s coffin on that fateful day in November. When he became the most famous celebrity child of all time, born only weeks after his father was elected president and the first baby in over fifty years in the White House. It was on his third birthday that the picture ingrained in everyone’s memory of him saluting his father’s coffin will forever be remembered, and whereas at that moment America pictured him someday receiving the title of President of the United States and carrying on his father’s legacy.
After moving back to New York, Jackie would have members of JFK’s cabinet come to visit the children and recall stories about their father. However, seeing photos of his father and trying to recall him as a person rather than a legend were beginning to get farther apart. When Bobby was assassinated, she feared that her children were in danger and ran to Aristotle Onassis and the safety of his private island. When Onassis died in 1975, the script changed.
When John went to college, he did not go to Harvard as previous Kennedys had done but chose another Ivy League school, Brown University and did what he could to be a down-to-earth guy. This man for whom the script was already written loved to act and when he did, he was someone else besides JFK Jr.
After graduating law school, he worked as an assistant district attorney at $40,000 a year while he prepared to pass the bar. More and more John was writing his own script rather than accepting the one written for him. He went about town doing things New Yorkers do and blending in. Many photos of him without a shirt were becoming more popular giving him celebrity status and keeping him in the spotlight as America’s Son. When John failed the bar exam for a second time, the country wondered if he was fit to wear his father’s shoes.
When John dated Madonna, the script was coming to fruition, but being a man who did what he wanted; he never tainted the Kennedy legacy. Whenever he drifted too far off script, Jackie was always there to guide him. Until one day when he met the press outside her Park Avenue home and announced to all of her passing. At 33, John lost the one person who created the stage on which he played.
After her death, he focused more on his future. He concentrated on having a partner from his bevy of beauties. The world did not want just anyone for the Nation’s prince; they wanted another Jackie, another princess. In 1994, John quietly dated Carolyn Bessette, a publicist for Calvin Klein. She was very much like Jackie, thin, a fashionable person and that French last name.
In 1995, John launched George Magazine, another way for him to test the political waters. He secretly married Carolyn in a private ceremony on an island off the Georgia coast. However, their privacy ended quickly as paparazzi invaded their every moment. He asked them to leave Carolyn alone, but it caused a strain in their marriage because they would not obey his wishes. He was not able to protect her the way he wanted.
With his marriage struggling, he prepared to pilot an airplane to Martha’s Vineyard. Onboard, his wife and her sister, but the plane never reached the shore. Once again, the public was in shock as the city of New York grieved together and outside his home, the flowers and candles were massive. The shining light that was John was snuffed. The last hope for a second Camelot ended abruptly. The script that was written for him was truly written by him, a man who did things his way and left those who admired him asking; “What if?”