James Roosevelt Biography

James Roosevelt was a U.S Congressman, an officer in the U. S. Marine Corps and the oldest son of the former U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This biography profiles his childhood, life, career, achievements & timeline.

James Roosevelt
Quick Facts

Birthday: December 23, 1907

Nationality: American

Famous: American Men Boston University

Died At Age: 83

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Also Known As: James Roosevelt II

Born in: New York City, New York

Famous as: United States Congressman, US Military Officer, Businessman

political ideology: Democratic

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Mary Lena Winskill Roosevelt (m. 1969), Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney (m. 1930–1940), Gladys Irene Owens Roosevelt (m. 1956–1969), Romelle Schneider Roosevelt (m. 1941–1955)

father: Franklin D. Roosevelt

siblings: Anna Roosevelt Halsted, Elliott Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., John Aspinwall Roosevelt

children: Anne Roosevelt, Hall Delano Roosevelt, James Roosevelt Jr., Kate Roosevelt Haddad, Michael Anthony Roosevelt, Rebecca Mary Roosevelt, Sara Wilford

Died on: August 13, 1991

place of death: Newport Beach, California

Ideology: Democrats

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers

Diseases & Disabilities: Parkinson's Disease

More Facts

education: Potomac School, Harvard University, Boston University School of Law, Groton School

awards: 1943 - Silver Star - Navy Cross

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James Roosevelt, the eldest son of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of United States of America, was a member of the House of Representatives, and was an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He assisted his father during his presidential campaign. During FDR’s first stint as President, James served briefly as his secretary, and influenced many policies of the day but his stay in White House was cut short as allegations of nepotism and corruption began to surface. Thereafter, he became a Hollywood film producer. He was accused of receiving Mafia money to finance his ventures. He joined the Marine Corps Reserve, and distinguished himself in action during World War II. He was elected to the House of Representatives from California and served in the Congress for ten years. He was vocal in his opposition to McCarthyism, and the House of Un-American Activities Committee. Appointed to the UNESCO, he resigned to join the International Overseas Services Management Company. He resigned when the company’s irregularities became too obvious to ignore. Despite being a Democrat, he supported Republicans like Johnson, Nixon and Reagan for presidency. A courageous soldier, his political life showed too many instances of opportunism.

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James Roosevelt
Childhood & Early Life
  • James Roosevelt, the second child of six children born to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), the 32nd president of the United States, and his wife Eleanor, received his early education from schools in Washington, D.C.
  • Like his father, he attended the Groton School, an elite boarding school in Massachusetts. There, he excelled in rowing and football, and became a prefect in his senior year. He graduated from Groton in 1926.
  • Following in his father’s footsteps, he attended Harvard University. He was also member of the Signet Society, Hasty Pudding Club, and the Fly Club. He passed out of Harvard University in 1930.
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Career
  • James Roosevelt began to study law at the Boston University School of Law, but gave it up when his co-owned insurance agency, Roosevelt & Sargent Inc., became successful, and he became its president.
  • He assisted his father at the Democratic National Convention in 1924. After passing out of Harvard, he led FDR’s Massachusetts primary campaign and acquired the reputation of being his deputy.
  • He became close to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. who aided him in many controversial businesses including liquor importing, while he ensured Kennedy’s appointment as Ambassador to the U.K.
  • In the 1936 elections, in a controversial move, he received a direct commission to the Marine Corps. As a military aide, he escorted his father, the President, to the Inter-American Conference at Buenos Aires.
  • In 1937, he was officially appointed Secretary to the President, and coordinator for eighteen federal agencies. He resigned from his posts over allegations of misuse of official position to his insurance company’s advantage.
  • He went to Hollywood and worked for producer Samuel Goldwyn, till 1940. He established Globe Productions to produce short films. He also produced the James Stewart starrer, ‘Pot o' Gold’.
  • Controversy hounded him in Hollywood too. He was close to the movie tycoon Joseph Schenck who lent him money for his ventures. Schenck was jailed for his association with the Mafia.
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  • In 1939, he was re-commissioned as a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve. Just before the U.S entered WWII, he was part of secret diplomatic missions to China, Egypt, and Greece.
  • When America entered the War, he asked to be assigned combat duty and became the second-in-command of the 2nd Raider Battalion. He saw action at Midway and Makin Island.
  • Ranked as a colonel, he was released from active duty after the war ended, but continued in the Marine Corps Reserve until his retirement in1959, as a Brigadier General.
  • He became the executive vice president of Roosevelt and Sargent, its chairman after it was renamed Roosevelt and Haines, and the president of Roosevelt and Company, Inc.
  • He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1966, as a delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He resigned from UNESCO after a year.
  • He became an executive of the Investors Overseas Service (IOS) in Geneva. IOS was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for irregularities. He resigned in 1971; no charges were brought against him.
  • Despite having been a liberal Democrat all his life, he joined Democrats for Nixon and publicly supported President Nixon's re-election in 1972. He also supported Ronald Reagan.
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  • In the 1980s, his non-profit organization, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, came under the scanner for questionable money raising practices, and for mail fraud.
  • His books include ‘Affectionately, FDR’ which he co wrote with Sidney Shalett in 1959, ‘My Parents, a Differing View’ co-written with Bill Libby and the novel, ‘A Family Matter’ with Sam Toperoff.
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Major Works
  • As a Congressman between 1955 and 1965, James Roosevelt denounced McCarthyism. Thousands of innocent Americans were accused of being communist sympathizers and subjected to forceful investigations by government agencies.
  • As a House of Representatives member, he called for the elimination of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1960, as the committee could "embarrass our nation… and tarnish the good name of this House”.
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Awards
  • James Roosevelt was awarded The Navy Cross for his role in the Makin Island raid in 1942. The following year, he was presented the Silver Star, for being a part of the invasion of Makin.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • James Roosevelt married four times and fathered seven children. Betsey Maria Cushing, Romelle Theresa Schneider, Irene Owens, and Mary Winskill were his wives. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, he died of stroke at 83.
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Trivia
  • This Congressman's father was elected President of the U.S.A four times, and saw the Great Depression and the Second World War.
  • These lines are attributed to this Congressman-“The best way to make a good speech is to have a good beginning and a good ending - and have them close together”!
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How To Cite

Article Title
- James Roosevelt Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/james-roosevelt-4302.php
Last Updated
- January 09, 2018

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