Christopher Lawford, actor & nephew of JFK, dead at 63
By Rachel DeSantis NY Daily News 9/5/2018
Christopher Lawford, an actor and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, died Tuesday, his cousin Kerry Kennedy confirmed. He was 63.
“We mourn the loss of my cousin Christopher Lawford, Rest in Peace,” she wrote on Twitter.
TMZ reports Lawford suffered a medical emergency at a yoga studio, and appears to have died of natural causes, though an autopsy is pending.
Lawford was the oldest of four children born to British actor and Rat Pack member Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, the younger sister of JFK.
He embarked on an acting career in the late ‘80s, and appeared in TV shows like “General Hospital,” “Frasier,” “The O.C.” and “All My Children,” with his final role coming in the 2008 drama “Eavesdrop.”
But it was a serious drug habit that overshadowed headlines for Lawford in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
He briefly attended Fordham Law School, but dropped out thanks to a heroin addiction.
In 1980, he was arrested in Aspen, Colo. for impersonating a doctor in order to obtain prescription drugs.
It was the death of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy’s son David in 1984 that inspired Lawford to get sober, which he had been for more than 30 years at the time of his death.
“I never intended for drugs to wreck my life,” he told People in 1991. “But that’s exactly what happened. They threw me up against the wall and said, ‘We got you now, son.’ Thank God it’s over.”
Lawford later chronicled his struggle with addiction in the 2005 New York Times bestseller “Symptoms of Withdrawal.”
The actor previously worked with the Democratic National Committee as well as for his uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy. He graduated Boston College Law School in 1983, and obtained a master’s certificate in clinical psychology from Harvard University.
“There is hope. Don’t give up. I’ve been clean and sober 26 years, lots of people do it,” he told TMZ in 2013.
Lawford was married first to Jeannie Olsson, with whom he had three children before they divorced in 2000. He married his third wife, Mercedes Miller, in Maui in 2014.
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