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James Roosevelt
Birth: Dec. 23, 1907
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Death: Aug. 13, 1991
Newport Beach
Orange County
California, USA

Businessman, US Congressman, US Marine Corps Brigadier General, and Author. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the US House of Representatives from California's 26th district for six consecutive terms from January 1955 until September 1965. Born James Roosevelt II in New York City, New York he was the oldest son of 32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt. He attended the Potomac School and the National Cathedral School in Washington DC and the Groton School, a private college preparatory boarding school in Groton, Massachusetts where he participated in football and rowing. After graduating in 1926, he attended Harvard University at Cambridge, Massachusetts where he rowed with the freshman and junior varsity crews. Upon graduating from Harvard he enrolled in the Boston University School of Law at Boston, Massachusetts and took a sales job with Boston insurance agency and became so successful that within a year, he abandoned his law studies. In 1932 he started his own insurance agency, Roosevelt and Sargent, in partnership with John A. Sargent. In 1934 he and Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (father of US President John F. Kennedy) went to England to obtain the market in post-prohibition whisky imports and was instrumental in securing Kennedy's appointment as the US Ambassador to England. Many of his controversial business ventures were aided by Kennedy, including his maritime insurance interests, and the National Grain Yeast Corporation affair (1933 to 1935). In November 1936 he was given a direct commission as a lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps, which caused public controversy. He accompanied his father to the Inter-American Conference at Buenos Aires in December as a military aide. In January 1937, he was officially appointed the administrative assistant to the President and in July 1937 he was appointed Secretary to the President. And he resigned from his insurance firm but continued to retain half ownership. In October 1937 he became White House coordinator for 18 federal agencies. Following allegations that he used his political position to attract lucrative business to his insurance firm, he resigned his White House position in November 1938. He then moved to Hollywood, California where he became an administrative assistant for film producer Samuel Goldwyn. In 1939 he established Globe Productions, a company that produced short films for penny arcades. That same year, he resigned his commission in the US Marine Corps and was commissioned a captain in the US Marine Corps Reserve and went on active duty in November 1940. In April 1941 President Roosevelt sent him on a secret diplomatic mission around the world, meeting with the leaders of various governments, including king Farouk of Egypt, King George of Greece, and Chiang Kai-shek of China, that the US would soon become involved in World War II. In August 1941 he joined the staff of William J. Donovan, Coordinator of Information, with the job of working out the exchange of information with other agencies. After the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941, he requested and received an assignment to combat duty and served in the Pacific Theater of Operations with the 2nd US Marine Raiders at the Battle of Makin Island. He was then given command of the newly formed 4th US Marine Raiders but it was invalidated in February 1943 and he served in various staff positions for the remainder of the war. He was released from active duty in October 1945 at the rank of colonel and continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve, retiring in October 1959 as a brigadier general. His military awards and decorations include the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the American Defense Service Medal (with base clasp), the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (with four service stars), the World War II Victory Medal, the Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon (with 1 bronze star), and the Philippine Liberation Medal (with one bronze star). After the war he returned to live in California and rejoined Roosevelt and Sargent as an executive vice president, and established the company's office in Los Angeles. In 1946 he became chairman of the board of Roosevelt and Haines, the successor to Roosevelt and Sargent. In 1948 he and his brother Elliott were prominent in the movement to draft US Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Democratic candidate for President. In 1950 he was the Democratic candidate for Governor of California, but lost to Republican incumbent Earl Warren by almost 30 percent of the votes. In 1954 he was elected to the US House of Representative from California's 26th congressional district, despite a concurrent scandal surrounding his divorce from his second wife, Romelle Schneider. He was forced to admit numerous extramarital affairs that his wife had used to blackmail him, dating back to his father's presidency. James was re-elected to five additional terms and served from 1955 to 1965, resigning during his 6th term. He was one of the first politicians to denounce the tactics of Wisconsin US Senator Joseph McCarthy and was the only US Representative to vote against appropriating funds for the House Un-American Activities Committee. In April 1965 he ran as a Democratic candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles but lost to incumbent Sam Yorty in the primary. In October 1965 he resigned from Congress when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him a delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In December 1966 he resigned from UNESCO and became an executive of the Investors Overseas Service (IOS) in Geneva, Switzerland and resigned from that position in 1971, amid the fugitive financier Robert Vesco scandal. Despite having been a liberal Democrat all of his life, he joined the Democrats for Nixon and publicly supported President Nixon's re-election in 1972 and also supported Ronald Reagan for President in 1980 and 1984. In the 1980s he established the non-profit organization, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and its associated political action committee. It came under investigation by the House Ways and Means Committee for questionable money raising practices, and by the US Post Office for mail fraud. The group solicited contributions by direct mail from elderly persons by claiming that Social Security and Medicare programs were in financial jeopardy and also urged contributors to order their Social Security statements of earnings from his group, which are available for free from the US government. He died in Newport Beach, California at the age of 83 from complications following a stroke and Parkinson's disease. He was the last surviving child of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. He authored several books, including "Affectionately, FDR" (1959, with Sidney Shalett), "My Parents, a Differing View" (1976, with Bill Libby, written in part as a response to his brother Elliott Roosevelt's book "An Untold Story," which told of Franklin D. Roosevelt's marital issues and was fiercely repudiated by the other siblings), and the novel "A Family Matter" (1979, with Sam Toperoff). (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 - 1945)
  Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)
 
 Spouses:
  Betsey Maria Cushing Whitney (1908 - 1998)*
  Romelle Therese Schneider Roosevelt (1915 - 2002)*
 
 Siblings:
  Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Halsted (1906 - 1975)*
  James Roosevelt (1907 - 1991)
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1909 - 1909)*
  Elliot Roosevelt (1910 - 1990)*
  Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1914 - 1988)*
  John Aspinwall Roosevelt (1916 - 1981)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Pacific View Memorial Park
Corona del Mar
Orange County
California, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Feb 22, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 8509
James Roosevelt
Added by: Ron Moody
 
James Roosevelt
Added by: Ceme-Terry Photographer
 
James Roosevelt
Added by: Joe Walker
 
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- Joseph M.Petri
 Added: Apr. 12, 2015

- Bruce Wertz
 Added: Mar. 5, 2015

- Gary Holcomb, Sr.
 Added: Mar. 1, 2015
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