Unintentionally Amusing Line in NY Times Story on RFK Jr.-Cheryl Hines Nuptials

Readers of the New York Times know it as the "Weddings/Celebrations" section, which appears in every Sunday paper. Cynics have taken to labeling it the Women's Sports Page. It made for delightful reading this past weekend.

Those browsing through the most recent installment weren't likely to miss the prominent placement of a story about attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Cheryl Hines tying the knot at the home of Ethel Kennedy in Hyannis Port on Aug. 1.

The story proceeded prosaically enough, initially describing the backgrounds of the newlyweds -- Hines, 48, played the wife of Larry David in the HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" from 2000 to 2011. She also works as a director and producer and the story cited several of Hines' other acting roles, as well as the requisite info on her family.

Kennedy, 60, is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an "international water protection organization," senior lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Fund, chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, yet another enviro group, and co-host of the "Ring of Fire" radio show with Sam Seder and Mike Papantonio, the latter an occasional and well-deserving presence here at NewsBusters.

Kennedy and Hines met through Larry David, "who introduced them two years in a row," the Times tells us, first at a ski resort in Alberta, the following year at another in Utah. Here's what follows in the story --

Nothing came of it until, Mr. Kennedy said, there was a third slopeside get-together, this time at a resort in Aspen, Colo. "I was separated at the time, and Cheryl was still married," Mr. Kennedy said.

Ms. Hines recalled being surprised at how funny Mr. Kennedy is. "People in my circle tend to look at people in politics as being boring," she said.

As things began to look serious, Mr. Kennedy felt compelled to seek Mr. David's advice. He recalled expressing concern about dating an actress. (emphasis added) Mr. David's reply, he said, was, "She's the most solid person I've ever met, and the most beloved person among her peers." He said Mr. David then added, ""Nothing you ever do will rattle her."

There you have it, folks -- quite possibly the only instance in the last century of a Kennedy male "expressing concern" about, uh, "dating" an actress, to say nothing of marrying one. Had the timing been off a minute or so when I read that, my laptop would have ended up sprayed with half-swallowed coffee.

Such timidity clearly wasn't the case with Joseph P. Kennedy, Bobby Jr.'s granddad and JFK's bankroll for the '60 campaign. The prodigal patriarch carried on an open affair with actress Gloria Swanson for years, to the point of bringing her to Hyannis Port while his wife and children were there.


The apple didn't fall far from the tree when it came to Joe senior's second born. I'm reminded of a cartoon I saw back in the mid-70s when revelations of John Kennedy's pathological womanizing first surfaced. A man reading a newspaper, shocked expression on his face, says to his wife, "How about that? Here's a woman who claims she didn't sleep with JFK." Among those who apparently did were enough starlets to cast several sequels of "Showgirls," though his long-rumored dalliance with Marilyn Monroe has never been confirmed, despite Sy Hersh's efforts to nail it.

Is the "Rat Pack" nearly as famous, then and now, if Nixon was elected in 1960?

Think back to JFK Jr.'s "George" magazine and the people who appeared most often on its cover -- actresses and models, actors, and the occasional politician, as you'd expect for a magazine that mixed politics and entertainment. I perused enough People magazines in dentists' offices during the '80s to recall that JFK Jr. and actress Daryl Hannah nearly took a walk down the aisle. Two others in the clan, Patricia Kennedy and Maria Shriver, married actors, Peter Lawford and Arnold Schwarzenegger respectively, both marriages ending in divorce.

It's not much of a stretch to say the Kennedys and Hollywood have been in bed for decades, in nearly every meaning of the phrase. When the annual fundraiser is held at the Kennedy compound for Best Buddies, a Special Olympics offshoot, actors and actresses are always on hand. Joan Cusack was there one year I covered it for the Cape Cod Times, as was David Caruso of "CSI: Miami" fame and the model Fabio. (No, I'm not kidding.).

All of which makes it borderline hilarious for RFK Jr. to claim he expressed "concern" about dating an actress. What the story doesn't tell us is why. Is it because she might remind people of other actresses that Kennedys don't want people to remember?

The story would have earned its place in the Annals of Unforgettable Journalism had the reporter asked Hines a question that begged to be asked -- given what we know of Kennedy history, especially when it comes to their men, are you in the least concerned about marrying one?

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts