Joseph Patrick Kennedy Sr. was a prominent American businessman, investor and politician. He is known for his own political prominence as well as that of his children and was the patriarch of the Irish-American Kennedy family.
Kennedy was born to a political family in East Boston, Massachusetts. He made a large fortune as a stock market and commodity investor and later rolled over his profits by investing in real estate and a wide range of business industries across the United States. During World War I, he was an assistant general manager of a Boston area Bethlehem Steel shipyard; through that position, he became acquainted with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. In the 1920s, Kennedy made huge profits by reorganizing and refinancing several Hollywood studios; several acquisitions were ultimately merged into Radio-Keith-Orpheum Studios. Kennedy increased his fortune with distribution rights for Scotch whisky. He owned the largest privately-owned building in the country, Chicago's Merchandise Mart.
Kennedy was a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community.