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Mourners gather at private service for Mary Kennedy

BEDFORD -- Family and friends gathered Saturday at a stone church in a hamlet north of New York City for the funeral of Mary Richardson Kennedy.

The service was private, but the list of celebrities attending was a testament to both the Kennedy family's star power and her knack for friendship.

The mourners included actors Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase and Edward James Olmos, tennis great John McEnroe and musician Paul Shaffer. Glenn Close sang, and "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David spoke during the ceremony.

Mary's estranged husband, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., delivered the eulogy.

Speaking to reporters at the church before the service, Mary's sister-in-law and friend, Kerry Kennedy, recalled her as "brilliant" and "beautiful."

"She cared so very, very deeply about everybody around her," she said.

But she added that her friend had fought a lifelong struggle against depression.

The 52-year-old architectural designer and environmentalist was found dead of an apparent suicide Wednesday at the family's estate in Bedford. Her death followed a difficult two years, during which her husband filed for divorce and she was charged twice with driving while intoxicated.

Still, Kerry Kennedy said, those troubles didn't stop her from developing "really deep, rich, rich friendships," with friends around the world.

The casket was carried into St. Patrick's Catholic Church by a group that included three of Mary Kennedy's older children, one of her sisters and the hotelier Andri Balazs.

Mary Richardson married into the Kennedy family in 1994, but had been close to the clan since meeting Kerry at boarding school as a teenager. The pair wound up being roommates for 15 years, including their time together at Brown University.

She had four children with Robert, the son of assassinated U.S. senator and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, but the couple separated years ago. He filed for divorce in 2010. The case was pending when she died.

The domestic turmoil extended into preparations for her funeral. One of Mary's brothers went to court to request custody of her body, which could potentially have spoiled a Kennedy plan to bury her near the family's compound in Hyannisport, Mass.

At the interment Saturday evening, Robert Kennedy knelt with family members and paid respects at the casket in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery.

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