The biography of the famous Irish American president JFK holds many interesting facts from his childhood, before, during and after the Presidency and at various other points throughout his life. 

Editor's note: On May 29, we will celebrate the birthday of President John F. Kennedy, the 35th US President that the Irish hold in a special place in their hearts, as the epitome of the American Dream achieved by an Irish immigrant. 

In the lead up to his 101st birthday, we look back on the Irish roots of JFK and his relationship to the Emerald Isle.  In this article, we look at some of the lesser-known fantastic John F. Kennedy facts. 

President John F. Kennedy captivated the American public and that continues today. Although he has been studied widely, here are a few lesser known and odd facts about this famous president that you might not have come across.

For more on JFK and the Kennedy family, you can visit our special topic page.

1. Kennedy gave all of his presidential salary, $100,000 a year, to charity.

2. He was the first president to dance with African American women at an inaugural ball.

3. Kennedy survived four assassination attempts during his life. A retired postal worker attempted to kill him barely a month after his election by following him from Hyannis Port, MA to Georgetown in Washington, DC to Palm Beach, FL in a car loaded with dynamite. Other plots in Chicago and Tampa were discovered in the weeks before November 22, 1963.

Robert, Ted and John Kennedy.

Robert, Ted and John Kennedy.

He received the Last Rites four times in his life. He first received them in 1947 after becoming gravely ill in England and next received them in 1951 when he got a severe fever in Japan. Kennedy got them again in 1954 after back surgery and lastly on November 22, 1963.

5. Kennedy was obsessed with his weight and traveled with a bathroom scale.

Read more: Could Caroline Kennedy be the next Hillary Clinton and run for president?

6. He was an avid fan of James Bond and he wrote his own spy novel about a coup d’etat organized by Vice President Lyndon Johnson.

President John F Kennedy.

President John F Kennedy.

7. He bought up to 1,200 high-grade Cuban cigars the day before he ordered a ban on Cuban imports.

8. During WWII his ship PT-109 was sunk and he scratched a message on a coconut husk as part of his efforts to get his crew rescued. He later used the coconut husk as a paperweight in the Oval Office.

John F Kennedy and his daughter Caroline.

John F Kennedy and his daughter Caroline.

9. Kennedy suffered from Addison's Disease, which was potentially fatal in the 1960s. He also suffered from colitis, prostatitis, and osteoporosis of the lower back, which was so severe he struggled to bend over.

10. The driver of his limousine on the day he was shot was Secret Service man and Irishman William Greer form County Tyrone, an Ulster Protestant. Greer was strongly criticized for slowing down rather than accelerating when the first bullet hit as the secret service manual advised.

Read more: What you should know about John F Kennedy


Portrait of President John F Kennedy.WikiCommons