He was always the star whenever in a group of showbiz stars. And particularly at the annual State Department Dinners where the Kennedy Center Honorees received their medals and accolades on the eve of the program taped for television. On this particular night, Dec.3, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was host in the historic Benjamin Franklin Room with Ted Kennedy, as usual, leading off the program. He thanked Rice and reminded all that her musical talent kept the tradition of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who also was a concert pianist. He knowingly paid tribute to each of the year’s honorees as he opened the dinner’s presentation program. He talked of the tradition of the arts set by Jack and Jackie Kennedy. All were aware of the legislation Ted spearheaded to preserve and foster the arts and the importance of the Kennedy Center. He revealed President Kennedy’s favorite song was : “The September Song” whose lyrics start with: “As the days dwindle down to a precious few.”
The Kennedy-showbiz relationship was cemented back on July 13, 1960 at the Demo Convention in the L.A. Sports Arena when John F. Kennedy beat out Adlai Stevenson for the Democratic Presidential Candidate. “I had been on the platform many of the nominating hours,” I wrote, “on this platform behind the speakers were Peter Lawford, Tony Curtis, and Frank Sinatra The Hollywood group was in such force at this political decision ,a Democratic victory should make for an administration more sympathetic to the problems of showbiz–domestic and foreign..”
It was and continued on with all elected Kennedy family members–Ted Kennedy leading. He loves showbiz. Then on July 28, 2004, when another Demo convention wound, Senator Edward Kennedy ‘s speech was bigscreened to the Boston Symphony Hall. He zoomed over in time to join Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Yo-Yo Ma, Bono, Glenn Close, Ben Affleck and conductor John Williams who presented a white dinner jack to Kennedy who then conducted the symphony orch in “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” On his 66th birthday in 1998, Kennedy celebrated with more shobiz friends, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, Jayne and Chevy Chase Lauren Bacall , family members and Bobby Zarem, who has now (fully) recouped from T.I.A., a Transient Ischemic Attack–he sounded OK on the phone from the family home in Savannah.