LOS ANGELES — John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, was simply father of a graduate Wednesday.
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Kerry planned to attend his daughter Alexandra’s graduation from the American Film Institute Conservatory, part of the candidate’s two-day trip to California that included a brief visit to pay his respects to the late Ronald Reagan.
Kerry suspended much of his campaign activities this week in deference to the former president, who died Saturday.
Alexandra Kerry, 30, is one of Kerry’s two daughters from his first marriage to Julia Thorne. A younger daughter, Vanessa, is a medical student at Harvard.
Both daughters were with Kerry Tuesday evening when he attended a screening of Alexandra’s 15-minute film, “The Last Full Measure.” Her graduate project is about a 9-year-old girl trying to cope with her father’s difficult return home from the Vietnam War.
Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran, but his daughter has said the movie is not autobiographical, despite the father-daughter relationship. The film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last month.
Also an actress
Kerry told reporters on his campaign plane Tuesday that Alexandra, also a film and stage actress, was considering several job prospects, among them shadowing a movie director.
Following the screening, Kerry celebrated at a Los Angeles restaurant with his daughters and an invitation-only crowd that included actress Dana Delaney and actor Daniel Stern, who plays the father in Alexandra’s film.
Thorne also attended both events but Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, was not present, having flown back to Washington on Tuesday to visit an ill friend.
Earlier Tuesday, Kerry took an impromptu, hourlong walk around the University of California, Los Angeles campus. What aides had described as “a quiet stroll” threw his Secret Service agents — and the neighborhood — into a frenzy.
Kerry was trailed by eight agents, eight reporters, three campaign staffers, four law enforcement vehicles and several local police motorcycles. The candidate shook hands, waved and greeted passers-by, many of whom were surprised to see a presidential candidate in their midst.
Kerry will make a return trip to California June 24 as Hollywood stars, including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and Billy Crystal, perform at a fund-raising concert. The event had been scheduled June 7. A similar concert in New York, originally planned for Thursday, has been rescheduled for July 8.
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