5 Things You Didn't Know About Edward Kennedy

On August 25, 2009, Edward “Ted” Kennedy, the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and senator from Massachusetts died at age 77 from brain cancer. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the U.S. Senator nicknamed the "Lion of the Senate”...

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Ted Kennedy was scouted by the Green Bay Packers At 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds, Ted was the baby of the family in name only. While attending prestigious Milton Academy, he played offensive end on the football team, and he would do so when he got to Harvard as well. During his junior year, he was a highly scouted prospect and courted by the Green Bay Packers. Ted Kennedy apparently told the Packers he was flattered but that he "planned to go into another contact sport, politics."

His Election as Senator Was His First Job Kennedy’s first actual job was as a U.S. Senator when he took over his brother's seat in 1962 in Massachusetts. He retained that seat for more than 47 years, which holds the record as the third-longest in U.S. history. He authored more than 2,500 bills and co-sponsored around 550 others. Over 300 of his own bills became law as well as the ones that he co-sponsored. In the latter part of the 2000s, Republican members of the Senate ranked Kennedy number one in bipartisanship among the Democrats.

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He Negotiated Jackie‚Äôs Prenuptial With Aristotle Onassis When Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, Ted Kennedy had taken it upon himself to be responsible for the entire family, including his sister-in-law. According to Peter Evans’ biography about Aristotle Onassis, that went so far as to negotiate the prenuptial marriage contract between Jackie and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Following the death of Onassis in 1975, Jackie Kennedy inherited $23 million.

He Survived A Plane Crash In 1964, Kennedy chartered a flight home to Massachusetts from Washington when the weather suddenly turned bad. As they began their descent into Barnes Municipal Airport, visibility was so poor that the pilot was forced to fly by reading his instrument panel only.  During their final approached the airport, the plane went into a steep dive and crashed into an apple orchard, killing the pilot and an aide. Kennedy suffered a broken back, a collapsed lung, and several broken ribs. Ted was lucky to have survived at all, and narrowly avoided another family tragedy.

His First Communion Was From The Pope JFK had been the nation's first Irish Catholic president, and the Kennedys were known to practice staunch Roman Catholicism. Thus, all the Kennedy kids received First Communion when they were old enough, and Ted was no different. The ritual, which commemorates the Last Supper and Christ's self-sacrifice, is a very important Catholic rite of passage, and apparently Joseph insisted it be performed by no less an authority than the Vicar of Christ himself, Pope Pius XII.