Documentarian Rory Kennedy Comes From an Important Political Family — What Is Her Net Worth?

Rory Kennedy is behind a number of documentary films, including 'The Synanon Fix' which focuses on a cult of sobriety.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Apr. 3 2024, Published 5:54 p.m. ET

Jury President Rory Kennedy attends the 59th Monte Carlo TV Festival in June 2019
Source: Getty Images

At one point, the Kennedy family was considered American royalty. They are so prolific and deeply embedded in the history of the United States, they have their own Wikipedia entry. According to that page, their dynasty began in 1884 when Patrick Joseph Kennedy was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature, where he stayed until 1895. He and his wife shared four children, one of whom would later have nine of his own. John F. Kennedy was one of those kids.

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Apart from JFK, two of the eight other children would go on to become politicians. The next most famous Kennedy sibling after President Kennedy was Robert F. Kennedy, who, like his brother, was sadly assassinated at the top of his career. One of Robert's daughters, Rory Kennedy, chose a different path from most of her powerful family when she became a documentary filmmaker. Did she benefit from her family's wealth and success? Here's what we know about Rory Kennedy's net worth.

Rory Kennedy attends "The Synanon Fix" Premiere during the 2024 Sundance Film Festival at Prospector Square Theatre in January 2024.
Source: Getty Images

Rory Kennedy

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Rory Kennedy's net worth is in the millions.

Rory's last name undoubtedly opened some doors for her in Hollywood, though she has certainly forged her own path since stepping through them. Celebrity Net Worth has reported her net worth is sitting pretty at $10 million. The youngest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy was born six months after her father was killed, which probably contributed to her interest in filmmaking. After all, his death became the stuff of legends and her family was often viewed through a literal or figurative lens.

Rory Kennedy

Documentary Filmmaker

Net worth: $10 million

Rory Kennedy is a documentary filmmaker whose films have addressed issues like the AIDS epidemic, Vietnam, addiction, and even her own mother.

  • Birth date: Dec. 12, 1968
  • Birth place: Washington, D.C.
  • Birth name: Rory Elizabeth Katharine Kennedy
  • Father: Robert F. Kennedy
  • Mother: Ethel (Skakel) Kennedy
  • Marriages: Mark Bailey (m. 1999)
  • Children: Georgia Elizabeth Kennedy-Bailey, Bridget Katherine Kennedy-Bailey, Zachary Corkland Kennedy-Bailey
  • Education: Brown University
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In March 2024, HBO released Rory Kennedy's documentary 'The Synanon Fix.'

Synanon was an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous and was founded by former A.A. member Charles Dederich in 1958. According to Los Angeles Magazine, it "pioneered the idea of the ex-addict as drug counselor and of 'tough love' therapy, and it invented a culture of recovery to replace the culture of street junkies." What it became was a cult that utilized brainwashing techniques deeply rooted in shame.

A decade later, Synanon was worth $7 million from its real estate properties in Santa Monica, West L.A., San Diego, San Francisco, Tomales Bay, Reno, Detroit, New York City, and Puerto Rico. There were annual donations coming in valued at $2.5 million as well as merchandise and, confusingly, a "number of gas stations." It's hard to say exactly when the business of helping others turned into mostly a business, but that's what happened.

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In Rory's documentary The Synanon Fix, she takes a look back at the first residential treatment program (and the abuse that grew from it) through the lens of its former members. While speaking with Good Morning America, Rory said that the program itself was innovative at the time which is what fascinated her about the story. Addicts simply had no place to go and Dederich "saved a lot of lives."

What also surprised Rory is learning that the people she spoke with who went through the program still thought highly of it, despite instances of verbal and physical abuse. Synanon itself was founded on the idea that there would be no drugs and violence, but by the time it ended, she said they had "bought more firearms than anybody in the history of California, and there was an open bar at the facility in California." She also drew a connection between their cult-like thinking and the "cult of personality" today.

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