Posted: 07/10/2009


Teddy: In His Own Words On HBO


by Laura Tucker

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No matter where your politics lie, it’s always interesting to see the man behind the position. And with the Kennedy family, it becomes even more so. Added to that the many trials and tribulations that Teddy Kennedy has been through, and it makes a look at his life even more interesting.

Teddy: In His Own Words is the first of the HBO Summer Documentary films and will be premiering Monday, July 13. Senator Edward “Teddy” Kennedy is quite candid about his life, mostly that of his time growing up as a Kennedy. Videos and pictures from throughout his life are interspersed and narrated by Kennedy himself. I have to admit despite knowing much of this beforehand, putting it altogether in this manner gave me a clearer picture of the Senator.

The first thing that struck me was that while we always heard about the exploits with women of his older brothers Jack and Bobby, looking at Teddy, I think he was really the most striking of all the brothers, and certainly more than his sisters, in his younger years. He seemed to weather the deaths of his oldest brother Joe, as well as Jack’s death quite well. It was really the plane crash he was involved in that seemed to suck a lot of the vibrant nature from him, and shortly after his recovery, to follow it with Bobby’s death, it just seemed to be truly the end of Camelot.

After Bobby died the country tried to draft Teddy into the presidency, but he knew he had to take care of his family, now being a surrogate father to his nieces and nephews. In watching this HBO documentary, it just seemed that the fairy tale ended at this point, and you could literally feel that change in energy. Chappaquiddick was next for him, and it’s still hard to feel sorrow for him for going through that, as it still seems, just as it did back then, that there was something else going on that was being covered up. It seemed to only get worse after that with his failed presidential bid, collapsed marriage, and nephew’s rape charges. He just didn’t seem as strong and virile as he once did.

It kind of seemed like the good that Teddy Kennedy has done in his life has always been overshadowed, either by the success of his older brothers, even in their deaths, and by the tragedies he’s lived through, with much of that probably being his own fault. although certainly there isn’t much about his current bout with a malignant brain tumor and series of seizures affecting his health and his time in the Senate that could be seen as reflective of his behavior.

One final interesting tidbit: Teddy Kennedy is known as a very dynamic speaker, and in one video of him speaking on behalf of some type of universal healthcare package, as he takes his seat again, it’s very interesting to see who is sitting next to him. A very young Bill Clinton.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at

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