There was never a time when John F. Kennedy Jr. wasn't famous, but he still remains a mystery to those who weren't in his inner circle. Now, Spike TV is giving an intimate look at his life through those that knew him best.
Robert De Niro, Cindy Crawford, Mike Tyson, Chris Cuomo and Christiane Amanpour are among those who are featured in the documentary I Am JFK Jr., sharing never-before-told stories about the son of the United States' 35th president, 17 years after his tragic death in a plane crash.
"He lived his life the way he wanted to, and was able to deal when people would recognize him," De Niro says in the trailer.
"He was crowned king with king privileges and he didn't want them," adds Tyson.
President Kennedy was assassinated just days before JFK Jr.'s third birthday, leaving JFK Jr. to grow up in his father's shadow but without his father's guidance. JFK Jr. acknowledged the expectations but looked at them differently.
"He said, 'You know, I've been thinking. Everybody expects me to be a great man. I wonder if it wouldn't be a much more interesting challenge to see if I could make myself a good man,'" activist and lyricist John Perry Barlow recalls.
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JFK Jr. was trained as a lawyer and in 1987 he founded Reaching Up, a nonprofit dedicated to providing educational opportunities for workers who assisted people with disabilities. After working as a New York City Assistant District Attorney for four years, he founded the political magazine George in 1995.
"The Native Americans said that if someone takes your picture, you lose a piece of your soul," notes CNN commentator Paul Begala. "How he retained his soul after hundreds of thousands of pictures is one of his greatest accomplishments."
ET also got to spend some time with JFK Jr. When we spoke to him in 1996, he was trying to shed his "Sexiest Man Alive" image while promoting George.
"What we're really trying to do is get people's attention and entertain people about politics," he told ET. "The way we figure, if you entertain people, you get them interested, and if you get them interested, then they may get involved."
JFK Jr. enlisted some of his famous friends to help sell the magazine, and it was his idea to put celebrities on the cover in historical outfits. The first issue featured Cindy Crawford dressed as George Washington.
"A magazine can't really aspire to really preach to people because you risk getting boring," JFK Jr. told ET. "If you entertain them, hopefully the right things will follow."
I Am JFK Jr. premieres Monday, August 1, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV.