Christopher Kennedy Lawford was born in the 1950s 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 President Kennedy’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 as well as chronic alcoholism, the latter of which has been a genetic “curse” in his family for generations. Sober now for 20 years, Lawford revealed his personal story in Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption (William Morrow). The book illuminates the extraordinary circumstances of his life and brings to others a cohesive message of survival, hope and finding one's integrity in a sea of ego and depravity. In his second book, Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery (William Morrow), Lawford discusses his, and others’, “moments of clarity,” that moment that marks the shift in time and perception from addiction to recovery. Their stories shed light not only on their own journeys but also on the journey we all take as human beings, looking to make sense of our world. His latest book Healing Hepatitis C (William Morrow) tells Lawford's personal story of what having hepatitis C is really like: confronting the stigma and misinformation, the fears and frustrations, and also serves as a medical sourcebook for medical and treatment information.
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 has also spent over 15 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, Raising Helen, Thirteen Days, The Sixth Day, Blankman, The Doors, Russia House, and many others. In addition, he spent three years on All My Children.
Lawford also focuses 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 has held public speaking appearances throughout the U.S. and internationally for non-profit organizations.
Divorced with three children, he lives in Southern California.