Kennedy Family Member and Socialite. Sister of US President John F. Kennedy and wife of British actor Peter Lawford. The sixth of nine children (and fourth of five daughters) born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Patricia was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, into a world of politics, power and privilege. Her father would be US Ambassador to Great Britain and she grew up having traveled extensively. As early as 1946, she joined the political campaign for her brother, John, initial run for Congress, organizing women's groups in Boston and Cambridge, and when he ran for President in 1960, she occasionally substituted at his side at appearances for John's wife, Jackie. After graduating from Rosemont College, she moved to Hollywood, in the hopes of becoming a movie producer and director like her father. She initially worked as an assistant in the production department of NBC radio, working on Kate Smith's radio program and Father Peyton's Family Theater program. On April 24, 1954, she married British actor Peter Lawford in St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church in New York City, and soon settled in Santa Monica, California. Her parents were reportedly disappointed with her marriage choice to Episcopalian Lawford, who had agreed to raise their children as Catholics. Her marriage brought her close to Hollywood stars, including the Rat Pack, of whom her husband was a member. She had four children with Peter Lawford: Christopher, Sydney, Victoria, and Robin. Raised a staunch Roman Catholic, she was unprepared for the Hollywood glamour world of liquor, drugs and blatant sex. In 1966, she became the first of the Kennedy children to divorce, when she established residence in Idaho to circumvent the New York state divorce laws. After the divorce, she moved to New York City with her four children, where she remained popular in high society social circles. She was a strong supporter of the arts, and was an active member of the National Committee for the Literary Arts at Lincoln Center. She remained prominent in the society news columns as she traveled among Palm Beach, New York city, and the Hamptons. Following the 1968 death of her brother, Robert Kennedy, she wrote a book about him, published the next year, "That Shining Hour" in which she discusses her relationship to the Kennedy family and her brother. In her later years, she maintained a home in Manhattan (New York City) and in Southampton, New York. She died at her Manhattan home, at the age of 82, from complications from pneumonia.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
1923–1984 (m. 1954)