DP 30 Ethel, documentarian (and daughter) Rory Kennedy

DP 30 Ethel, documentarian (and daughter) Rory Kennedy


Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy was born on December 12, 1968 in Washington, D.C. six months after her father was assassinated. Her mother Ethel chose the name "Rory" because she felt it bore resemblance to her father's nickname "Bobby." On December 19, 1968, a week after Rory was born, her mother brought her to her father's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.


Education and CareerEdit

Rory graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In the 1990s, Rory and fellow Brown classmate Vanessa Vadim (daughter of Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda) formed May Day Media, a non-profit organization that specializes in the production and distribution of films with a social conscience, based in Washington, D.C. In 1998 Rory and another fellow Brown graduate Liz Garbus founded Moxie Firecracker Films which specializes in documentaries that highlight pressing social issues. The television networks that have shown its films include: A&E, the UK's Channel 4, Court TV, Discovery Channel, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Oxygen, PBS, Sundance Channel, and TLC.

She directed and co-produced American Hollow (1999) about a struggling Appalachian family which received critical acclaim and many awards. HBO broadcast the film and publisher Little, Brown and Company released Rory's companion book simultaneously.

Rory also directed and co-produced the Emmy Award-nominated series Pandemic: Facing AIDS (2003), which premiered at the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on July 8, 2002; it was later broadcast as a five-part series on HBO in June 2003.

In 2004 Rory directed and co-produced A Boy’s Life, the story of a young boy and his family in rural Mississippi. It premiered to rave reviews at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded the Best Documentary prize at the Woodstock Film Festival; it was later broadcast on HBO.

When asked in a March 24, 2004, interview with about her interest in the American South, Rory cited her father's experiences in the region as an inspiration and starting point. In the same article, she goes on to mention that showing class differences in American culture also motivates her.

For HBO she directed and co-produced Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable (2004), which was broadcast on September 9, 2004. The film takes a "what if" look at the catastrophic consequences of a radioactive release at the Indian Point Energy Center, a three-unit nuclear-power plant station, located 35 miles (56 km) north of midtown Manhattan, New York City, New York.

Rory directed and co-produced Homestead Strike (2006) as part of The History Channel’s series, 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America (April 2006).

She was a co-executive producer for Street Fight (2005), which chronicles the 2002 Newark, New Jersey, unsuccessful mayoral campaign of Democratic Cory Booker — then a Newark Municipal Councilman — against Democratic eighteen-year incumbent Mayor Sharpe James. The film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary (Feature).

She directed Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House (2008) for HBO Documentary Films, which premiered on HBO on August 18, 2008. According to reviews, the 40 minute long documentary provided an interesting, if brief, glimpse into the iconic journalist.

On June 30, 2009, Rory was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Rory directed "The Fence (La Barda)" which premiered at the opening night of The Sundance Film Festival 2010. The film made its debut on HBO on September 16, 2010. Favorably received, it details the woeful inadequacies of the border fence between the United States and Mexico, which has increased migrants' deaths, but does not deter illegal immigration.

In 2011 she produced and directed the documentary Ethel about her mother, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and aired on HBO on October 18, 2012. Reviews called the documentary a moving tribute, but criticized its lack of depth.

Marriage and FamilyEdit

On August 2, 1999, Rory married Mark Bailey in Greece at the home of shipowner Vardis Vardinoyiannis. The wedding was originally scheduled for July 17 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, but was postponed after the plane carrying her cousin John F. Kennedy, Jr. crashed en route to the event. Rory and Mark have three children: Georgia Elizabeth Bailey (born 2002); Bridget Katherine Bailey (born 2004); and Zachary Corkland Bailey (born 2007). The family resides in Brooklyn, New York.