Edit
Franklin D. Roosevelt Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (50) | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 30 January 1882Hyde Park, New York, USA
Date of Death 12 April 1945Warm Springs, Georgia, USA  (cerebral hemorrhage)
Birth NameFranklin Delano Roosevelt
Nicknames Houdini In the White House
The Squire of Hyde Park
The Sphinx
That Man In the White House
F.D.R.
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, to James and Sara Roosevelt. His father was 54 at the time of FDR's birth and already had a grown son, nicknamed "Rosy". Sarah was only 27 when FDR was born. Growing up, FDR had a happy but sheltered childhood. His family was very wealthy and FDR had a very privileged upbringing, with trips to Europe and private tutors. Sara Roosevelt was a loving but domineering and overprotective mother. FDR was a devoted son, but found clever and subtle ways to get around his mother's domination. At 14 he was sent to Groton, an exclusive prep school led by the Rev. Endicott Peabody. FDR did not enjoy his time at Groton, often being teased by the other kids for having a formal and stuffy manner. Since he had a nephew who was older than him, kids at Groton called him "Uncle Frank". He graduated from Groton in 1900 and went to Harvard, where he edited the "Crimson" but failed to be accepted into the Porcellian Social Club. He graduated Harvard in 1903. Soon after that he fell madly in love with his sixth cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt. They married in 1905, with President Theodore Roosevelt giving the bride away. However, from the start Franklin and Eleanor's marriage was not a happy one. She was quiet and shy, whereas he was boisterous and outgoing. The fact that his mother moved into the house next door to theirs, and ran things, did not help. Franklin and Eleanor had six children (one child died in infancy). In 1910 Franklin was elected to the New York State Legislature from Duchess County. There he made a name for himself as a crusading reformer who favored the "average guy" over big business and championed for honest government. In 1913 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy and served under Josephus Daniels and President Woodrow Wilson. In 1918 he began a love affair with his wife's social secretary, Lucy Mercer. When Eleanor discovered the affair, she was understandably devastated and told Franklin she wanted a divorce. At the urging of his mother, Frankilin chose to save the marriage and promised Eleanor that he would never have anything more to do with Lucy. The damage was done, however, and Franklin and Eleanor never again shared the intimacies of marriage, becoming more like political partners. In 1921 FDR was stricken with polio and paralyzed. He permanently lost the use of his legs, but refused to let that thwart his political ambitions. He spoke at the 1924 Democratic Convention for the candidacy of Alfred E. Smith, then the Governor of New York, calling him the "Happy Warrior". In 1928 FDR was elected Governor of New York and was well placed when the stock market crashed in 1929. As governor he took the lead in providing relief and public works projects for the millions of unemployed in the state. His success as New York's governor made him a strong candidate for the Presidency in 1932. He easily beat incumbent President Herbert Hoover.

When Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as President on March 4, 1933, more than 15 million Americans were unemployed. Millions more had been hard hit by the Depression and the banking system had collapsed. FDR wasted no time in launching a radical economic recovery program, known as the New Deal. He created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which made the federal government the guarantor of people's bank deposits - not the banks themselves - and allowed drought-stricken farmers to refinance their mortgages, He created public works programs including the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)--thus making the government the employer of last resort--as well as setting up the Social Security system, instituting a minimum wage, outlawing child labor--a widespread practice at the time, especially in mines, factories and textile mills--and mandating a 40-hour work week with overtime pay. In responding to the Depression, FDR forever changed the role of the federal government in American life. He was easily reelected in 1936, defeating Republican Alf Landon in a landslide. His second term as president was less successful than his first, however. The Supreme Court had ruled a number of New Deal measures unconstitutional. With an electoral mandate in the bank, FDR proposed "packing" the Supreme Court with justices of his political persuasion for every judge over the age of 70 that did not retire. However, Congress refused to pass the Supreme Court packing plan, and from that point on FDR was unable to get Congress to pass much of his legislation. Also, fascism was rising rapidly throughout Europe and Asia. Germany's Adolf Hitler and Italy's Benito Mussolini had both seized power and began to conquer other countries, such as Ethiopia, Austria and Czechoslavakia. FDR was unable to respond to the threats from Europe and Asia, however, because sentiment in the US was strongly isolationist and Congress had passed a series of neutrality laws that gave the President very little power to respond to international aggression. World War II began in September 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. Nine months later all of Western Europe had fallen to Hitler. Great Britain was standing alone. FDR wanted to help Britain, but had to move carefully and skillfully. He negotiated a deal in which the US gave Britain 50 old destroyers in exchange for bases in the Western Hemisphere. With World War II underway, FDR took the unprecedented move of seeking a third term as president. He won that term in November 1940, defeating Republican Wendell Willkie. Safely re-elected, he proposed a radical new program for helping Britain, known as Lend-Lease, in which Britain could buy armaments and other supplies from the US but not have to pay for them until after the war. FDR used the analogy of borrowing a neighbor's hose to put out a house fire to sell Lend-Lease. It passed and America became the "arsenal of democracy" as it began to build armaments for Britain and then Russia, when Hitler invaded it in mid-1941. Roosevelt met Britain's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for the first time in August 1941 where they drew up the Atlantic Charter. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, destroying much of America's Pacific fleet. The next day,FDR declared war on Japan, calling December 7 "a date that will live in infamy." America was in the war, and not only against Japan, but also against Germany. Under FDR's leadership, America quickly transformed itself from a decaying nation of idle factories, impoverished families, abandoned farms and masses of hobos roaming the streets to a nation turning out planes, tanks, guns, military vehicles and other armaments on a scale that quickly dwarfed the capability of Nazi Germany to do the same. World War II also changed American life as blacks got better jobs in the war plants and women began working outside the home in unprecedented numbers. Helped by Eleanor, FDR used the war as a vehicle for social progress, securing better treatment for minorities and women, higher wages and better benefits for workers and a GI bill, which guaranteed a free college education for all American soldiers who fought in the war. In so doing, he created the American middle class of today.

After a series of military defeats, the US and its allies began to win the war. Invasions of North Africa and Italy were launched and the US started retaking islands in the South Pacific it had lost to Japan at the beginning of the war, starting with the Battle of Midway in 1942. FDR met with Churchill several times throughout the war and with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at Tehran in 1943 and at Yalta in 1945. The Allied invasion of France, known as D-Day, was launched on June 6, 1944. As the war ended, FDR pushed for his dream of a United Nations and for reforms that would ensure that another World War would never happen. The United Nations did come to pass, as well as new global institutions such as the World Bank and IMF. Also, FDR advocated for decolonization of Africa and Asia, leading to the collapse of the old European empires.

Because of the war, FDR felt he had no right to leave the presidency while Americans under his command were still fighting. So he sought a fourth term in 1944. His opponent was the new governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey, who ran a campaign of innuendo, hinting that FDR was too ill to lead and that his government had gone stale. FDR retaliated with a speech accusing the Republicans of attacking his dog, Fala. FDR won his fourth term in November 1944. In January 1945 he journeyed to Yalta to confer with Churchill and Stalin for the last time, to settle the postwar world and push for Russian participation in the United Nations. By this time FDR was gravely ill. After the Yalta Conference, he traveled to his resort at Warm Springs, Georgia, where he died suddenly of a massive stroke on April 12, 1945. It was revealed that Lucy Mercer, his one-time lover, was with him when he died and that she had secretly visited him in the White House a number of times during his last year.

There was an elaborate funeral for him, with a train procession from Warm Springs to Washington DC, then to Hyde Park, where he was buried.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: jeff_fallis

Spouse (1)

Eleanor Roosevelt (17 March 1905 - 12 April 1945) (his death) (6 children)

Trivia (50)

The 32nd President of the United States, and the only one to serve more than two terms; he died three months after beginning his fourth term.
Worked in public advocacy from 1907 until 1910.
Member of the New York Senate from 1910 until 1913.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913 until 1920.
Democratic Vice Presidential running mate to James Cox in 1920. They lost to Republicans Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.
Suffered poliomyelitis in 1921, and lost the ability to walk on his own. He wore heavy leg braces and when he appeared in public standing on his feet (which took a massive effort) he was usually supported by someone (most often his son).
Was elected New York Governor in 1928 and in 1930
Was U.S. President from 1933-1945, first elected in 1932, defeating sitting President Herbert Hoover, and then re-elected in 1936 over Kansas Governor Alf Landon by the greatest electoral college landslide until Lyndon Johnson's victory over Barry Goldwater in 1964. Breaking with the "No Third Term" tradition established by George Washington, he ran in 1940, beating Wendell Willkie, and again in 1944, beating Republican Party stalwart Thomas E. Dewey in his first presidential bid. (Dewey later lost to Roosevelt's successor as President, New- and Fair-Dealer Harry S. Truman, in the spectacular upset of 1948.).
His likeness appears on the U.S. 10-cent coin, known numismatically as the Roosevelt Dime. The dime was chosen because Roosevelt was honorary chairman of the March of Dimes charity, which fought the polio that had robbed him of movement in his legs. Years later, after the death of former President Ronald Reagan, a movement arose among conservative Republicans--who had always hated Roosevelt and his policies--to replace Roosevelt with Reagan on the dime. That movement was squashed by Reagan's widow Nancy Reagan Reagan, who pointed out that Roosevelt had been her husband's political hero when he was a young man (and a self-described "heliophiliac liberal" in the 1940s).
His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, was a niece of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.
He died while posing for a portrait. In the midst of the session he left, complaining of a headache. His last words were "I have a terrific headache".
Once submitted a screenplay treatment for a film about a naval battle, but it was rejected by the movie studios. However, he did come up with a story about a millionaire faking his death and starting a new life. Several prominent writers got together and wrote a novel based on that premise, and when it was made into a film in 1936, The President's Mystery (1936), Roosevelt got screen credit for the story.
Pictured on a memorial series of 4 US postage stamps, issued 27 June 1945 (3¢ face value), 26 July 1945 (1¢), 24 August 1945 (2¢), and 30 January 1946 (5¢).
Pictured on the 6¢ US postage stamp in the Prominent Americans series, issued 29 January 1966.
Fifth cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Fifth cousin once removed of wife Eleanor Roosevelt.
Fourth cousin once removed of President Ulysses S. Grant.
Fourth cousin three times removed of President Zachary Taylor.
Seventh cousin once removed of Winston Churchill.
On April 30, 1939, he appeared on experimental television station WX2AB in New York City, officiating over the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair, making him the first US President to appear on television.
When he was five years old, his family visited the White House and met President Grover Cleveland. The President put his hand on little Franklin's head and said, "My little man, I am making a strange wish for you. It is that you may never be president of the United States."
Many efforts were made to conceal Roosevelt's disability. When he was elected President in 1932 the general public had no knowledge of his ailment.
Winston Churchill said about his first meeting with Roosevelt that meeting him "was like opening a bottle of fine champagne."
Shortly before he won the 1932 election, the Boston Braves lost their final pre-election football game. The Braves went on to become the Boston Redskins, and eventually the Washington Redskins. In all these incarnations, their fortune in the final pre-election game has always paralelled and predicted the fate of the incumbent party or nominee in the Presidential race. This pattern was unbroken until 2004, when President George W. Bush won the presidency, despite a Redskins loss.
The vast majority of historians as well as the public consider him to be the greatest American President of the 20th century, for his leadership out of the Great Depression and through World War II.
He never appeared in public in his wheelchair. The only time he used it was at his home at Campabello or at the retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia. Only two photos of him in a wheelchair exist, both taken by a family member and neither released publicly until after his death.
His loyal Scotch terrier Fala was the first publicly adored Presidential pet. He became almost as big a celebrity as Roosevelt.
He and his cousin Theodore Roosevelt both served as assistant secretary of the Navy and Governor of New York and were vice presidential candidates before becoming President of the United States.
His lengthy presidency inspired the 22nd Amendment, which, ratified in 1951, limits a person to two elected terms (or a total of 10 years if a vice president succeeds to the presidency) as U.S. President. This amendment specifically exempted sitting-president Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt's third vice president who had succeeded to the presidency upon FDR's death in 1945. In his oral biography "Plain Speaking" by Merle Miller, Truman found the 22nd Amendment to be a source of amusement, as it had been promulgated by anti-Roosevelt Republicans, whom he had despised. If there had been no 22nd Amendment, Truman told Miller, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower (whom Truman also despised for toadying up to red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy during the 1952 Presidential campaign) surely would have won a third term in 1960.
Father of James Roosevelt and Congressman Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr..
He was a B-student at Harvard College, where he was a member of the cheerleading squad, served as business manager of the "Harvard Lampoon", and was a member of the Hasty Pudding Club.
A generation grew up from childhood into adulthood knowing no other president in the White House. When he died, the shock was so great that people remembered where they were when they heard the news for many years afterward, just as the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a seminal memory for the Baby Boom generation.
Is one of only two men to appear on a major political party's presidential ticket five times: the other is Richard Nixon. After an unsuccessful campaign as the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1920, F.D.R. won four successive presidential campaigns in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944. Republican stalwart Nixon won the vice presidency twice as Dwight D. Eisenhower's running-mate in 1952 and 1956, but lost to Democrat John F. Kennedy in his first bid for the presidency in 1960. Nixon subsequently won two terms as president, defeating Democrats Hubert H. Humphrey and George McGovern in 1968 and 1972, respectively.
President-elect Roosevelt was the target of an assassination attempt during a speech in Miami, Florida, on February 15, 1933, three weeks before he was to be inaugurated on March 4. Giuseppe Zangara, an unemployed bricklayer, shouted "Too many people are starving!" and fired six shots from a revolver at Roosevelt, who had just delivered a speech at Bayfront Park and was sitting in the back seat of his open touring car with Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak. Zangara's shots hit five people, including Cermak, who was mortally wounded. However, Roosevelt was untouched and retained his composure, preventing the crowd from lynching the diminutive would-be assassin. Ironically, his cousin Theodore Roosevelt also was the target of an assassination attempt during his unsuccessful third-party (Progressive or "Bull Moose" Party, as it was popularly known) campaign for the presidency in 1912. On October 14, 1912, he was shot during a campaign stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With a bullet lodged in his chest and blood seeping through his clothes, Roosevelt nevertheless addressed the audience for 80 minutes, joking at one point that "It takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose." The coolness under fire of both men helped to contribute to their legends.
The sixth U.S. president to die in office. Ironically, all presidents to have died in office since the first (William Henry Harrison in 1841) were elected 20 years apart: Harrison in 1840, Abraham Lincoln in 1860, James Garfield in 1880, McKinley in 1900, Warren G. Harding in 1920, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, and John F. Kennedy in 1960. Ronald Reagan (elected 1980) was the victim of an assassin's bullet in 1981, but he survived and broke the 120-year curse that had plagued the U.S. Presidency.
Has been portrayed by Ralph Bellamy, Kenneth Branagh, Edward Herrmann, John Lithgow, Jason Robards, David Ogden Stiers, Robert Vaughn, Jon Voight, Christopher Plummer, Bill Murrayand voiced by Charlton Heston, and Roosevelt's grandson James Roosevelt Jr..
First cousin of Tennis Hall of Famer Ellen Crosby Roosevelt.
In his last will and testament, he named the Warm Springs Foundation the beneficiary of insurance policies totally $560,000. He left the remainder of his estate, valued at $1,900,000 to his wife, and on her death to their children.
On the day of his funeral, all Parisian cinemas and "other places of entertainment" shut as a mark of respect.
Though his legs were severely weakened by polio, they were not completely paralyzed. They were able to move, but were so damaged that they could not support his weight under normal conditions. He was able to walk when underwater, or when equipped with leg braces.
Spoke both French and German, albeit with a distinct New England accent. He also had a limited knowledge of Latin.
Godfather to Prince Michael of Kent, who was born on Independence Day in 1942. One of Prince Michael's middle names is "Franklin", in honor of the president.
According to writer Joe Eszterhas, Roosevelt wrote a 22-page treatment for a biopic of American naval hero John Paul Jones for Paramount Pictures that's sitting in a records storage vault in Missouri.
An avid stamp collector, he was inducted into the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 1945.
Depicted with Dr. Jonas Salk on the obverse of the USA's March of Dimes silver dollar commemorative coin, dated and issued in 2015.
His unsuccessful Republican opponents in 1936 and 1940 were opposite extremes in longevity: Alfred Landon, the Kansas governor who ran against Roosevelt in 1936 survived for more than half a century afterwards, dying in 1987 at the age of 100. Wendell Willkie, the corporate lawyer who ran against him in 1940 (having never held any public office before or after) died in October of 1944, before the end of the presidential term he had sought. (Coincidentally, Landon and Wilkie's respective running mates, Frank Knox and Charles L. McNary, had both died earlier that same year).
Began Lend Lease to the UK in March 1941, and extended it to the Soviet Union after the Axis invasion in June.
Imposed an oil embargo on the Empire of Japan in July 1941, which took effect in the following month.
He was a chain smoker.
When Winston Churchill addressed Britain's House of Commons on April 17 1945, to pay tribute to the late President, his allusion to Roosevelt's "affliction" and description of his life as a triumph "of will-power over physical infirmity" were discreet but rare public references to the President's condition.

Personal Quotes (16)

[final words] I have a terrific headache!
[from his First Inaugural Address, 1933] First of all, let my assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . .
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval forces of Japan.
[after the attack on Pearl Harbor] No matter how long it may take us, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
What I want to do is to create a country in which no one is left out.
I have seen war. I have seen war on land and on sea. I hate war!
[answering a charge that he sent a navy destroyer to retrieve his dog] These Republican leaders are not content with attacks on me or on my wife or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog Fala.
There are as many opinions as there are experts.
A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted in the air.
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.
The ablest man I ever met is the man you think you are.
When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck you before you crush him.
The saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority are possessed of two great qualities--a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.
You know, I am a juggler and I never let my right hand know what my left hand does. I may have one policy for Europe and one diametrically opposite for North and South America. I may be entirely inconsistent, and furthermore I am perfectly willing to mislead and tell untruths if it will help win the war.
[ to the Democratic Convention, 1936] This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
Forests are the lungs of our land.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page