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JFK Jr. remembered as legend with sense of humor

Kennedy had a dry sense of humor

A retrospective of JFK Jr.'s humor, from CNN's Jeanne Moos. (July 23)
Windows Media 28K 80K

July 23, 1999
Web posted at: 10:02 p.m. EDT (0202 GMT)

By Correspondent Jeanne Moos

NEW YORK (CNN) -- During a eulogy for John F. Kennedy Jr. at a private family memorial on Friday, Sen. Edward Kennedy remembered his nephew's playful wit as "quick and sure."

The senator recalled the excitement JFK. Jr. caused during the 1994 campaign by telling an aide he was bringing a "companion" to a campaign appearance. That mystery companion turned out to be a dog he'd just picked up at the pound.

JFK Jr. also tickled his uncle with his answer to a reporter's query into what he would do if he was elected president.

"I guess the first thing is call up Uncle Teddy and gloat," JFK Jr. said, according to the senator.

JFK Jr., who as a kid once entertained the grown-ups by wearing a basket on his head, never let fame go to his head. He handled all the media attention with a pinch of humor.

Facing the cameras once, he announced to his wife: "I'm trying to pinch your butt."

He began one speech by pointing out a somewhat racy billboard behind him to the audience.

"It's difficult to stand before you fully clothed and compete for your attention with seven people in their underwear," he said, adding, "We'll do our best."

But even scantily clad models on an underwear billboard were no competition for "the hunk."

And no son of a president can be accused of taking himself too seriously when he poses semi-nude in his own political magazine, George.

Kennedy with basket
JFK Jr., as a child, wears a basket over his head to amuse others  

Trial and television

Even when JFK Jr. failed the bar exam, twice, his sense of humor never left him.

"Clearly not a measure of legal genius," he told reporters chasing him down the street for a reaction.

Who needs genius when you've got those Kennedy genes?

During a rare late night talk show appearance, JFK Jr. and Jerry Seinfeld chatted about a "Seinfeld" episode in which an actor played John.

The next day, when the real JFK JR. arrived in court as an assistant district attorney -- he was interrogated by a man on trial.

"The defendant is sitting there, and he says, 'you were on Seinfeld,'" JFK Jr. recalled. "And I say, no, no, no. And defendant leans over to his attorney and says, 'the guy's an actor, no wonder he failed the bar exam.'"

John always seemed bemused by the ruckus he caused. One time as he cycled the streets of New York, he shouted the warning, "don't fall" to a relentless photographer following him on in-line skates.

JFK Jr.'s humor was wry, dry and droll.

After he managed to outwit the media and keep his wedding secret, he faced reporters who were hungry for details.

"There is one other wedding dress in the world exactly like my wife Carolyn's," he told them, adding, "I believe it's owned by Dennis Rodman."

The son of a president was both modest and self-deprecating when he was asked if he could see himself in elective office.

"Yeah, I can see myself lying on a beach in a hammock so I can see myself in elective office too," said the man who played in the White House as a child.

And what would JFK Jr. have said about the hoopla over his demise? Maybe he would have repeated what he said at other times when he was hounded by the media: "Slow news day, huh?"

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July 25, 1999
Investigators to examine wreckage of Kennedy plane
July 26, 1999
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July 25, 1999
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July 24, 1999
Ted Kennedy pays tribute to his nephew
July 23, 1999
JFK Jr. remembered as legend with sense of humor
July 23, 1999
Memorial service attendees
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Husband of '1,000 days' and 'perfect soul-mate' memorialized
July 23, 1999
Seeing the century through values and ambitions of Kennedys
July 22, 1999

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