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.
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).
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.
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.
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).