Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy
Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy.jpg
Written byM. Charles Cohen
Hank Searls (biography)
Directed byRichard T. Heffron
StarringPeter Strauss
Barbara Parkins
Stephen Elliott
Darleen Carr
Theme music composerJohn Barry
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerBill McCutchen
CinematographyStevan Larner
EditorRonald J. Fagin
Running time100 minutes
Production companyABC Circle Films
Original networkABC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
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


  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).