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Home > Author > Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Christopher Kennedy Lawford

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Author, Actor, Activist

Background Information

Christopher Kennedy Lawford was born in Malibu, California, the first-born child of President John F. Kennedy’s sister, Patricia, and famous Rat Pack actor, Peter Lawford. He grew up on both coasts and experienced the high life of Hollywood and the powerful world of politics....from a front row seat. After JFK’s assassination, his parents divorced and he moved with his mother to New York City where he spent his early teen years experimenting with drugs and getting into all kinds of trouble, culminating in an addiction to heroin. Sober now for 22 years, Lawford shared his personal story in his memoir Symptoms of Withdrawal with others in hopes of making a difference.


Lawford holds a B.A. from Tufts University, a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and a Masters Certification in Clinical Psychology from Harvard Medical School, where he gained an academic appointment as a lecturer on Psychiatry. He has worked extensively in politics, government, and business as well as in Hollywood. His political career includes executive staff positions with The Democratic National Committee, The Community Action for Legal Services Agency, and in the Washington office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  In addition, he held staff positions on numerous national, state, and local political campaigns.


Lawford spent over fifteen years in the film and television industry as an actor, lawyer, executive, and producer. He began in Universal Studios’ Independent Film Acquisition Unit. He also worked in the entertainment law office of Mitchell, Silverberg, and Knupp. His acting credits include Terminator 3, Thirteen Days, The Sixth Day, Blankman, The Doors, Russia House, The World’s Fastest Indian and Slipstream . In addition, he spent three years on All My Children.


Mr. Lawford has also focused much of his life on public service in the non-profit sector, working for The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, The Special Olympics, and The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and Caron Treatment Centers. He currently spends much of his time speaking throughout the US on public policy issues concerning Mental Health, Addiction and Hepatitis C


He is the author of Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (William Morrow 2005), a book illuminating the extraordinary circumstances of his life and bringing a cohesive message of survival, hope and finding one's integrity.The book received praise from critics and writers:

Christopher Lawford owns the most elusive of the qualities a young writer needs –he is in possession of a naturally good style.  So, given as far as he chooses to go, he certainly tells it like it is.  Three cheers.”

-- Norman Mailer


...a moving tale of self-discovery and redemption...a writer of talent and grace.


-- Publishers Weekly

 we are fortunate to have his story in prose that is jazzy, rocking, sometimes dark but in the end, bright with hope. Pity the last line of the book can't be quoted in family publications. What is that last line? Read for yourself.”


-- Frank McCourt


You know this memoir works when the pages absent Frank, Marilyn, Sammy, and Jackie are every bit as interesting as those where they're featured.


                                                             -- American Library Association


Mr. Lawford will release his second book Moments of Clarity in January (William Morrow 2009), a book of interviews illuminating the spiritual epiphanies that occur in peoples live enabling them to move from addiction to recovery. 


Mr. Lawford has three children, David, Savannah and Matthew and currently resides in Los Angeles California.



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