Lawford, Christopher Kennedy 1955–
Lawford, Christopher Kennedy 1955–
PERSONAL: Born March 29, 1955, in Santa Monica, CA; son of Peter Sydney (an actor) and Patricia (Kennedy) Lawford; married Jeannie Olsson (a magazine advertising salesperson), November 17, 1984; children: David Christopher, Savannah Rose, Matthew. Education: Tufts University, B.A., 1977; Boston College, J.D., 1983; Harvard University, master's degree.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, William Morrow & Company, 10 E. 53rd St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Lawyer, political consultant, actor, and television producer. Has worked as an executive staff member for various political organizations and politicians, including for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and for Democratic National Committee and Community Action for Legal Services Agency; former staff member for various local, state, and national political campaigns; former attorney, Mitchell, Silverberg & Krupp (law firm); consultant to nonprofit organizations, including Special Olympics, Columbia University Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation. Lecturer in psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.
Actor in films, including The Suicide Club, 1987, Mr. North, 1988, Spellbinder, 1988, Impulse, 1990, The Russia House, 1990, Run, 1991, The Doors, 1991, Jack the Bear, 1993, Blankman, 1994, Drunks, 1995, Fools Paradise, 1997, (and executive producer) Kiss Me, Guido, 1997, Not Even the Trees, 1998, Ask for Becky Whiteworth, 1998, Oh, Belly … Belly, 1998, Dead Broke, 1999, The Waiting Game, 1999, R2PC: Road to Park City, 2000, The 6th Day, 2000, Thirteen Days, 2000, Exit Wounds, 2001, Red Zone, 2001, Hitters, 2002, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2003, and Chump Change, 2004. Actor in television movies, including Exile, 1990, The Abduction, 1996, Mother of Jesus, 1999, The Sex Monster, 1999, The Confession, 1999, Dark Tides, 2000, Londinium, 2001, Walking Shadow, 2001, and Counterstrike, 2003; has also appeared in television series and miniseries, including, All My Children, 1992–97, Witness to the Mob, 1998, and General Hospital, 2002–03, as well as in television specials. Consulting producer, Film Directorate (Cuba), for documentary film on Cuban missile crisis.
Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Kennedy Lawford was born into a life of fame and privilege. The son of actor Peter Lawford, who was famous as a member of the "Rat Pack" that included Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr., and Patricia Kennedy, the sister of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Lawford spent his early life surrounded by actors, politicians, and the wealthy while growing up in southern California. His memoir, Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption, describes his childhood, his drug addiction and subsequent recovery, and his more recent success.
Lawford's childhood was one almost anyone would envy, but after President Kennedy's assassination in 1963, his parents separated and Lawford started using drugs, eventually becoming addicted to heroin. The problem became worse in college, and in 1980 he was arrested for impersonating a doctor while attempting to get drugs. His family connections helped him avoid charges without so much as having to serve probation, however. Lawford went on to complete a law degree at Boston College, but failed to pass the bar exam. He relates in his memoir that he felt less than enthusiastic about pursuing an attorney's career. Lawford ultimately resolved to recover from his addiction after his cousin, David Kennedy, died from a drug overdose in 1984. Lawford next decided to follow in his father's footsteps and become an actor. Although he has not become famous, Lawford has nonetheless found great success as an actor, appearing in numerous movies and television programs since the late 1980s.
Symptoms of Withdrawal, was praised for its unabashed honesty. Library Journal contributor Patti C. McCall describiing it as a "thoughtful, honest, and at times humorous" work. Sara Nelson, writing in Publishers Weekly, noted that Lawford "could come off as obnoxious—were it not for his frankness, humor and self-awareness."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 61, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2005.
Lawford, Christopher Kennedy, Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
America's Intelligence Wire, September 27, 2005, "Interview with Christopher Kennedy Lawford"; October 5, 2005, "His Father a Film Star, His Mother a Kennedy, Christopher Lawford a Drug Addict at 14"; October 9, 2005, "Encore Presentation: Interview with Christopher Kennedy Lawford."
Booklist, August, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal, p. 1950.
Entertainment Weekly, October 7, 2005, Gilbert Cruz, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal, p. 80.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal, p. 899.
Library Journal, September 15, 2005, Patti C. McCall, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal, p. 73.
Newsweek, September 19, 2005, Allison Samuels, Devin Gordon, and Nicki Gostin, "Newsmakers," interview with Christopher Kennedy Lawford, p. 75.
Philadelphia Inquirer, September 23, 2005, "Names in the News," review of Symptoms of Withdrawal.
Publishers Weekly, July 18, 2005, Sara Nelson, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal, p. 194.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (November 28, 2005), Sandra Calhoune, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal.
BookReporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (November 28, 2005), Barbara Bamberger Scott, review of Symptoms of Withdrawal.