Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy

Last updated
Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy
Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy.jpg
Written byM. Charles Cohen
Hank Searls (biography)
Directed by Richard T. Heffron
Starring Peter Strauss
Barbara Parkins
Stephen Elliott
Darleen Carr
Theme music composerJohn Barry
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Bill McCutchen
CinematographyStevan Larner
Editor(s)Ronald J. Fagin
Running time100 minutes
Production company(s) ABC Circle Films
Distributor ABC
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio format Mono
Original releaseSeptember 18, 1977 (1977-09-18)

Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy is a 1977 American made-for-television biographical film that originally aired on ABC. Based upon the biography by Hank Searls called The Lost Prince: Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy, the film chronicles the life of Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., the older brother of John F. Kennedy who was killed in action in World War II, leaving behind aspirations to become the first Irish-Catholic president. Young Joe stars Peter Strauss in the titular role and was directed by Richard T. Heffron.




The production was filmed in Seattle. [1] Strauss, then highly popular due to his starring appearances in the television miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man , said he had turned down a million-dollar offer to continue with a third year of that miniseries before taking on the role of Joe Kennedy, and that he had researched it heavily. [2] The production received attention when it was discovered that Bill Foulon, an escaped convict from the Oregon State Penitentiary, had managed to secure work as an extra on the film, and later (while still on the run) called the Los Angeles Times to talk about his experience. [3] [4] [5]


Reviews of the film were mixed. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Win Fanning gave it a strongly positive review, saying that Strauss had "acquitted himself brilliantly" in portraying Kennedy as a "driven young man". [6] Kay Gardella of the New York Daily News gave it a moderately positive review, though she commented that Strauss, as Kennedy, had done a better job of "imitating Jack Kennedy" than Sam Chew, the actor who had actually played the future president. [7] On the other hand, Chris Stoehr of The Milwaukee Sentinel thought that Strauss had been "trapped" in a bad production with "unforgivably bad lines" and a failure to show the viewer Joe Kennedy's special qualities. [8]

Author Lawrence J. Quirk later summarized the film's reception as "respectful but yawning", and noted that it had been a disappointment for Strauss and several other actors who had seen it as a career opportunity when they joined the production. [9]


Young Joe received three nominations at the 1978 Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Special - Drama or Comedy, [10] and won one, for sound mixing. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

Tom Hanks American actor and film producer

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks is an American actor and filmmaker. Known for both his comedic and dramatic roles, Hanks is one of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, and is regarded as an American cultural icon. Hanks's films have grossed more than $4.9 billion in North America and more than $9.96 billion worldwide, making him the fourth-highest-grossing actor in North America.

Cicely Tyson American actress

Cicely L. Tyson is an American actress and former fashion model. In a career spanning more than seven decades, she became known for her portrayal of strong African-American women. Tyson is the recipient of three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Tony Award, an honorary Academy Award, and a Peabody Award.

Sally Field American actress

Sally Margaret Field is an American actress and director. She is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and she has been nominated for a Tony Award and two BAFTA Awards.

Richard Thomas (actor) American actor

Richard Earl Thomas is an American actor. He is best known for his leading role as budding author John-Boy Walton in the CBS drama The Waltons, for which he won an Emmy Award, received a nomination for another and two Golden Globe Awards. He also starred in the miniseries adaption of Stephen King's It and played Special Agent Frank Gaad on FX's spy thriller series The Americans.

Blair Brown American actress

Bonnie Blair Brown is an American theater, film and television actress. She has had a number of high-profile roles, including in the play Copenhagen on Broadway, the leading actress in the films Altered States (1980), Continental Divide (1981) and Strapless (1989), as well as a run as the title character in the comedy-drama television series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which ran from 1987 to 1991. Her later roles include Nina Sharp on the Fox television series Fringe and Judy King on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

Peter Strauss American actor

Peter Lawrence Strauss is an American television and film actor, known for his roles in several television miniseries in the 1970s and 1980s. He is five-time Golden Globe Awards nominee.

Peter Boyle American actor

Peter Lawrence Boyle Jr. was an American actor. Known as a character actor, he played Frank Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and the comical monster in Mel Brooks' film spoof Young Frankenstein (1974). He also starred in The Candidate. Boyle, who won an Emmy Award in 1996 for a guest-starring role on the science-fiction drama The X-Files, won praise in both comedic and dramatic parts following his breakthrough performance in the 1970 film Joe, and as Wizard in Taxi Driver (1976).

Stockard Channing American actress

Stockard Channing is an American actress. She is known for playing Betty Rizzo in the film Grease (1978) and First Lady Abbey Bartlet on the NBC television series The West Wing (1999–2006). She is also known for originating the role of Ouisa Kittredge in the stage and film versions of Six Degrees of Separation, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Louis Gossett Jr. American actor

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. is an American actor. He is best known for his Academy Award winning role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman and his Emmy Award winning role as Fiddler in the 1977 ABC television miniseries Roots. Gossett has also starred in numerous other film productions including A Raisin in the Sun, The Landlord, Skin Game, Travels with My Aunt, The Laughing Policeman, The Deep, Jaws 3-D, Wolfgang Petersen's Enemy Mine, the Iron Eagle series, Toy Soldiers and The Punisher, in an acting career that spans over five decades.

Lance Kerwin

Lance Kerwin is a former American actor, known primarily for roles in television and film during his childhood and teen years in the 1970s. He played lead roles in the TV series James at 15, and the made-for-TV films The Loneliest Runner and Salem's Lot.

Shirley Knight American actress

Shirley Knight Hopkins was an American actress who appeared in more than 50 feature films, television films, television series, and Broadway and Off-Broadway productions in her career, playing leading and character roles. She was a member of the Actors Studio.

John Heard (actor) American film and television actor

John Heard Jr. was an American actor. He appeared in a number of successful films, including Heart Beat (1980), Cutter's Way (1981), Cat People (1982), C.H.U.D. (1984), After Hours (1985), Beaches (1988), The Package (1989), and Deceived (1991). Other films include The Trip to Bountiful (1985), Big (1988), Awakenings (1990), Rambling Rose (1991), The Pelican Brief (1993), My Fellow Americans (1996), Animal Factory (2000), White Chicks (2004), Would You Rather (2012), and Assault on Wall Street (2013). Heard also played the role of Peter McCallister, the father of protagonist Kevin McCallister, in Home Alone (1990) and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr. was a United States Navy lieutenant. He was killed in action during World War II while serving as a land-based patrol bomber pilot, and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. (1888–1969) and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890–1995).

<i>Challenger</i> (1990 film)

Challenger is a 1990 American disaster drama television film based on the events surrounding the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Its production was somewhat controversial as the families of the astronauts generally objected to it. The film concentrates on the safety inspections and arguments surrounding the O-rings that ultimately were blamed for the explosion of Challenger. While doing this, it also aims to show the personal humanity of the seven crew members. Generally, the film supports the Space Shuttle program and the dedication of NASA personnel in general while criticizing NASA management.

<i>King</i> (miniseries)

King is a 1978 American television miniseries based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the American civil rights leader. It aired for three consecutive nights on NBC from February 12 through 14, 1978.

Henry Hunt Searls was an American author and screenwriter. His novels included The Crowded Sky (1960), which was adapted as the 1960 film of the same name; The Penetrators ; and The Pilgrim Project (1964), which was adapted as the 1968 film Countdown. Searls also wrote the novelizations for the films Jaws 2 (1978) starring Roy Scheider and Murray Hamilton and Jaws: The Revenge (1987) starring Michael Caine and Lorraine Gary.

Rich Man, Poor Man is a 1976 American television miniseries based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw that aired on ABC in one- or two-hour episodes mostly on Monday nights over seven weeks, beginning February 1. It was produced by Universal Television and was the second time programming of this nature had been attempted. The first TV miniseries, QB VII, had aired — also on ABC — in 1974. These projects proved to be a critical and ratings success and were the forerunner for similar projects based on literary works, such as Roots and Shōgun. The film stars Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte and Susan Blakely.

<i>Grey Gardens</i> (2009 film) 2009 HBO film directed by Michael Sucsy

Grey Gardens is a 2009 American made-for-television biographical drama film about the lives of Edith Bouvier Beale/"Little Edie", played by Drew Barrymore, and her mother Edith Ewing Bouvier/"Big Edie", played by Jessica Lange. Co-stars include Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jacqueline Kennedy and Ken Howard as Phelan Beale. The film, directed by Michael Sucsy and co-written by Sucsy and Patricia Rozema, flashes back and forth between various events and dates ranging from Little Edie as a young débutante in 1936 moving with her mother to their Grey Gardens estate through the filming and premiere of the actual 1975 documentary Grey Gardens.

<i>The Kennedys</i> (miniseries)

The Kennedys is a Canadian-American television miniseries chronicling the lives of the famous political Kennedy family, including key triumphs and tragedies it has experienced. It stars Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Katie Holmes, and Tom Wilkinson among others, and is directed by Jon Cassar. The series premiered in the United States in April 2011 on the Reelz Channel, on History Television in Canada and on the History Channel in the United Kingdom.

<i>Sinatra</i> (miniseries) 1992 CBS biographical drama miniseries directed by James Steven Sadwith

Sinatra is a 1992 CBS biographical drama miniseries about singer Frank Sinatra, developed and executive produced by Frank's youngest daughter Tina Sinatra and approved by Frank himself. Directed by James Steven Sadwith, produced by Richard M. Rosenbloom, and written by William Mastrosimone and Abby Mann. It stars Philip Casnoff, Olympia Dukakis, Joe Santos, Gina Gershon, Nina Siemaszko, Bob Gunton, and Marcia Gay Harden, with some of Sinatra's vocals recreated by Tom Burlinson. It won two and was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, along with a win and two nominations for a Golden Globe Award. Released on November 8, 1992, it was re-released on a two-disc DVD Warner Home Video on May 13, 2008.


  1. "Peter Strauss stars in 'Young Joe'", Ottawa Citizen , June 17, 1977.
  2. Howard Pearson, "A candid visit with Peter Strauss", Deseret News , June 17, 1977.
  3. John Hurst, "Escaped convict got role in 'Young Joe'", Los Angeles Times , reprinted in The Tuscaloosa News , October 17, 1977.
  4. "Fugitive calls newspaper to discuss life, television role", United Press International in Ellensburg Daily Record , October 11, 1977.
  5. "Fugitive gets movie part", The Free Lance–Star , October 13, 1977.
  6. Win Fanning, "Peter Strauss scores in 'Young Joe'", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , September 20, 1977.
  7. Kay Gardella, "Peter Strauss stars in Kennedy drama", New York Daily News , reprinted in Boca Raton News , September 16, 1977.
  8. Chris Stoehr, "Peter Strauss Plays You Know Who For Who Knows Why", The Milwaukee Sentinel , September 17, 1977.
  9. Lawrence J. Quirk, The Kennedys in Hollywood (Taylor Trade Publications, 2004 ed., originally published 1996), ISBN   978-0815412960, p. 274. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  10. Jerry Roberts, Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors (Scarecrow Press, 2009), ISBN   978-0810863781, p. 244. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  11. "Young Joe, The Forgotten Kennedy", (accessed 2015-04-30).