David Anthony Kennedy (June 15, 1955 – April 25, 1984) was the fourth of eleven children of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel.
David Anthony Kennedy, born on June 15, 1955 in Washington, D.C., was the fourth child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy. As a child, David was shy, introverted and sensitive, and shared a particularly strong bond with his father.
On June 4, 1968, 11 days before his 13th birthday, Kennedy nearly drowned while he and his siblings were swimming in the Pacific Ocean near the Malibu, Californiabeach house of Hollywood film director John Frankenheimer, a Kennedy family friend. Kennedy had been knocked over by a wave and was trapped on the bottom by the undertow. His father dived under the water and rescued him, scraping and bruising his own forehead in the process. Frankenheimer gave Senator Kennedy theatrical makeup to hide the bruise, as he would be appearing on television hours later.
At just after midnight on June 5, David watched on TV as his father claimed victory in the California presidential primary election; the 12-year-old then watched as the same broadcast reported his father's assassination moments later. The event left an emotional scar on David and he began recreational drug use shortly thereafter.
In the spring of 1984, Kennedy completed a month-long stay at St. Mary's Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis. On April 19, he flew down to Palm Beach, Florida for Easter, where several members of the Kennedy family had gathered. Kennedy checked into Room 107 of the Brazilian Court Hotel and spent the next few days partying. On April 25, staff went to check on his welfare at the insistence of concerned family members; he was found dead on the floor of his suite from an overdose of cocaine, Demerol, and Mellaril.
David was interred on April 27 in the family plot at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the first of four of Joseph Kennedy's young adult grandchildren to die prematurely. He was later followed in death by his younger brother Michael (skiing accident, 1997) and cousins John, Jr. (plane crash, 1999), Kara (heart attack, 2011) and Christopher (heart attack, 2018).