Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., who looked, talked and acted like his father, died of cancer today, his 74th birthday, at a hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., near his home.
Christopher Roosevelt said his father died of lung cancer. “It was a very late diagnosis and very fast moving,” he told the Associated Press.
Roosevelt had a political career outside the shadow of his famous parents, the four-time President and his globe-trotting wife, Eleanor.
Foe of Tammany Hall
He was a liberal Democrat who in 1949 defeated the Tammany Hall-supported Democratic candidate in New York’s 20th Congressional District and served three terms before retiring in 1955.
But he lost the Democratic nomination for governor in 1954 to W. Averell Harriman, who was supported by Tammany. In 1966 he ran for governor again, this time on the Liberal Party ticket, in what also proved to be a losing cause.
Earlier he had been an ardent campaigner for John F. Kennedy and became Kennedy’s undersecretary of commerce after the Massachusetts senator was elected President in 1960. He served President Lyndon B. Johnson as the first chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
He was last seen publicly June 4 when he visited the Roosevelt family’s ancestral home in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands.
The third son of the Roosevelts, he is survived by his brothers, James and Elliott, his wife, the former Linda Stevenson Weicker, and five children from previous marriages. His first wife was the former Ethel du Pont, an heiress to the Du Pont fortunes he wed in 1937.