James 'Radio' Kennedy, movie inspiration, dies at 73
ANDERSON COUNTY, SC - James ‘Radio’ Kennedy passed away over the weekend. His legendary support of South Carolina high school football earned national attention and eventually became the inspiration for the 2003 film, Radio.
Kennedy’s niece/caregiver told an Anderson County news station her uncle had been hospitalized Saturday night before passing away, Sunday morning.
According to another person who knew Kennedy well, T.L. Hanna High School’s football coach, Harold Jones, the football enthusiast also suffered from pancreatitis, diabetes, and kidney issues.
Kennedy was a fixture in the school’s football program, earning the nickname ‘Radio’ by carrying a transistor radio wherever he went.
In the 1960’s, Kennedy began attending Hanna football games as a way of coping with his intellectual disability, and he remained a constant presence at the school until his death.
A Sports Illustrated article brought Radio’s story to a national audience and provided the basis for the 2003 film starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
Kennedy passed away at 73 years of age.