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SHOW OF THE WEEK

January 27, 1985|HOWARD ROSENBERG

"ROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS TIMES," Sunday 8-11 p.m., Monday 8-10 p.m., Tuesday 9-11 p.m. (2) (8) (Illustrated on Cover)--Probably no American family has been subjected to as much scrutiny--and continues to arouse as much curiosity--as the Kennedys.

And probably no other name in contemporary American politics evokes such fierce emotions--pro and con--as Robert Kennedy.

That will intensify with this seven-hour CBS miniseries (shown on the cover) about the brief, epic life of Kennedy, who was attorney general in his brother's Administration, a U.S. senator and presidential candidate before his murder in 1968.

Brad Davis, probably best known for his performance as Turkish prison escapee Billy Hayes in "Midnight Express," plays Kennedy in this Robert Christiansen/Rick Rosenberg production based on a biography by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an old friend of the Kennedy family.

Davis, who got the role only two weeks before the start of production, says he crammed for the part by reading the Schlesinger book, watching TV footage and speaking with acquaintances of the famed Democratic politician. He says he expected to be compared with the real Kennedy, but didn't allow that to affect his performance.

Walon Green's sweeping teleplay traces Kennedy from age 21, when he campaigns to elect his brother, John, to Congress, to his death at age 42 while campaigning for President in Los Angeles. The story shows Kennedy as the proud father and strong family man initially willing to exist in the shadow of John, but who assumed leadership of the Kennedy clan after his brother's assassination in 1963.

The cast also includes Cliff De Young as John Kennedy, Veronica Cartwright as Ethel Kennedy, Ned Beatty as J. Edgar Hoover, and Jack Warden and Beatrice Straight as patriarch and matriarch of the Kennedy family, who continue to remain in the public eye--and controversial--with Edward Kennedy's leadership role in the U.S. Senate.

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