He was educated at Portland State University (BA, liberal arts, 1958) and earned a teaching certificate in elementary education from the University of Oregon.
He was the first to suggest that John Ford was the author of the 578-line poem A Funeral Elegy which in 1995 had been touted by Donald Foster as being written by William Shakespeare. Teaching elementary school proved unsatisfactory, so he tried other jobs, including bookstore owner, deep sea fisherman, moss picker, custodian, cabdriver, and archivist, before turning to writing. Kennedy has been a long-time advocate of the theory that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, was the person actually responsible for writing the works of William Shakespeare.
Author: (novel) Amy's Eye, 1985 (International Rattenfanger Literature prize, Federal Republic Germany 1988), also 18 children's books including Richard Kennedy: Collected Stories, 1988 and 3 musicals, including adaptation of hockey club Andersen's The Snow Queen. Inclusion of stories in: The Oxford Book of Modern Fairy Tales, 1993, The Oxford Book of Children's Stories, 1993.
He is a founding member of the Shakespeare Fellowship, and in 2005 he proposed that Shakespeare's Stratford monument was originally built to honor John Shakespeare, William's father, who by tradition was a "considerable dealer in wool".
Married Lillian Elsie Nance, August 3, 1960. Children: Joseph Troy, Matthew Cook.