Mitt Romney, likely Republican
Party nominee for the 2012 Presidential election, was born into politics. Mitt
is the son of three-term Michigan Governor (from 1963-1969) George W.
Romney and Lenore Romney, a popular First Lady of Michigan
and an unsuccessful U.S. Senate Republican nominee in 1970. Before their
marriage, Lenore was an aspiring actress who had bit parts in several films (A
Tailor Made Man, 1931). Disliking the seamier side of Hollywood, she
turned down a contract with MGM in favor of marriage and family. At that time,
George was a business executive who rose to CEO of the American Motors
Corporation before entering politics.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Mitt succeeded in business, then served as the
70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007. He also followed
in his father’s footsteps when he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Party
Presidential nomination in 2008—George had been an unsuccessful candidate for
the nomination in 1968. In 2012, Mitt won the Republican Party primaries, but
only after an extensive battle in which other candidates were the top vote-getters
in multiple states.
Mitt is the great-great-grandson of Parley P.
Pratt, an early leader in the Mormon Church during the 1800s. Parley was
nicknamed “The Apostle Paul of Mormonism,” and built the first public road in Salt
Lake City, Utah. Parley and his brother, Orson Pratt, another
Mormon leader, were both original members of the Church of Latter Day
Saints’ “Quorum of Twelve Apostles.” The group served as the governing body of
the church. Parley was tragically murdered in 1857 by the estranged husband of
his twellfth wife. Mitt’s father George served as head of the
Detroit Stake (administrative unit) of the Mormon Church. When Mitt was
serving his stint as a Mormon missionary in France in the 1960s, he
led his group to a record number of baptisms and rose to serve as assistant to
the Mission president, the highest office available to missionaries.
George's cousin was Milton “Mitt” Romney, Mitt’s
namesake and an NFL quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1925-1928.