Christopher Lawford Kennedy 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 for more than 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. Currently, he holds positions as a Public Policy Consultant for Caron Treatment Centers and a national spokesperson for a Hepatitis C public awareness campaign and was recently appointed to the California Public Health Advisory Committee.
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.
Mr. Lawford second book, Moments of Clarity (William Morrow January 2009), a book of interviews illuminating the spiritual epiphanies that occur in peoples live enabling them to move from addiction to recovery quickly became a New York Times Bestseller in January 2009. In May of 2009 Harper Collins will release his third book Healing Hepatitis C.
Mr. Lawford has three children, David, Savannah and Matthew and currently resides with his girlfriend, Jodi Johnson, and her daughter Taylor in Marina Del Rey, California.