Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Overview:

Producer, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., was born Joseph Patrick Kennedy on Sep 6, 1888 in Boston, MA. Kennedy Sr. died at the age of 81 on Nov 18, 1969 in Hyannis Port, MA .



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Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Facts
During Prohibition, Kennedy's company Somerset Importers became the exclusive U.S. agent for Gordon's Dry Gin and Dewar's Scotch. Anticipating the end of Prohibition, he assembled a large inventory of stock that he sold for a profit of millions of dollars when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. One of his partners in the deal was Franklin D. Roosevelt's son, James Roosevelt. Kennedy invested the money from his legal liquor business in real estate, the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and Hialeah Race Track in Hialeah, Florida. However, rumors that he was a "bootlegger," involved in running illegal liquor across the Great Lakes into the U.S. from Canada in cahoots with the Bronfman family and the Mafia, have never been proven.

In 1925 he was retained by the financially troubled owner of Film Booking Office of America (FBO), a "Poverty Row" studio specializing in cheaply made westerns, to help find a new owner. Kennedy formed his own group of investors and bought FBO for $1.5 million. Subsequently, he moved to California in March 1926 to focus on running the studio. At the time movie studios were permitted to also own exhibition companies (a practice that was stopped by a 1947 Supreme Court decision involving Paramount Pictures), so Kennedy launched a hostile buyout of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum Theaters Corporation (KAO), which had more than 700 vaudeville and movie theaters across the U.S. In 1927 he acquired another production studio and film exhibitor, American Pathé, and its Pathé Exchange distribution subsidiary. In October 1928 he formally merged his film companies FBO and KAO with RCA's Photophone Division to form Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO). He topped this off by acquiring the Pantages Theater chain for $3.5 million, creating a major studio in the process with RKO Pictures.

Father-in-law of Jacqueline Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy.

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