This news special honors the life and work of Senator Ted Kennedy, who died on August 25, 2009 of complications from a malignant brain tumor. Anchors Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer report from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, explaining that Kennedy's body will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum before being transported to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Gibson, Sawyer and various interviewees then discuss Kennedy's complicated life and significant political career, covering such topics as: his position as the "rebel and the cut-up" of the Kennedy clan, as the ninth and youngest child; his 1964 plane crash; the assassinations of his famous brothers Jack and Bobby in 1963 and 1968; the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne on Chappaquiddick Island, for which Kennedy received a suspended sentence for leaving the scene of a crime; his unsuccessful 1980 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, which he lost to Jimmy Carter; his nephew William Kennedy Smith's rape accusation and acquittal; his divorce from first wife Joan Bennett and remarriage to Victoria Reggie; his love of the sea and sailing lessons in Hyannis Port; traveling to England as a child with his "self-made millionaire" father Joseph Sr.; his early family losses, including oldest brother Joseph Jr.'s death in World War II, sister Kathleen's death in a 1948 plane crash, and sister Rosemary's institutionalization after a botched lobotomy; his successful Senate race in 1962, taking brother Jack's spot after his ascension to President; his closeness with brother Robert during their time in the Senate; his May 1970 interview with Barbara Walters in which she asked if the family's public service was "worth the pain" of their many losses; why the Chappaquiddick incident and his lack of "passion" for the job likely harmed his Presidential bid; his role as patriarch to his three children and John and Robert's 13 children; his 46-year career as "the Lion of the Senate" and his natural gift for politics, including his ability to "work across the aisle"; his many legislative accomplishments, including laws regarding civil rights, immigration policies, gay rights and assorted other causes; his strong opposition to President Reagan's 1987 nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court; his outspoken opposition to the Iraq War; and his focus on healthcare rights. Gibson and Sawyer then share further memories of Kennedy, including how he rose above many critics' suggestion that he gained political success merely because of his famous name, and a series of final images closes the program. Includes commercials and promos.


  • DATE: August 26, 2009 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:57:03
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 104162
  • GENRE: Specials
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Biography
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV, 2009
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  • Charles Gibson … Anchor
  • Diane Sawyer … Anchor
  • Joan Bennett
  • Robert Bork
  • Kathleen Agnes Cavendish (see also: Kathleen Kennedy)
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.
  • Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.
  • Robert F. Kennedy
  • Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy
  • Ted Kennedy (see also: Edward M. Kennedy)
  • Mary Jo Kopechne
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Victoria Reggie
  • William Kennedy Smith
  • Barbara Walters