Lawrence O’Donnell is an American-born socialist TV expert and presenter, writer, producer, and actor. He makes the headlines on his own show The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, weekly news and political commentary show on the MSNBC network. His encounter with politics dates back to 1989 when he became a parliamentary aide to then-US Senator Pat Moynihan.
Lawrence O’Donnell’s Bio
He was born on November 7, 1951, as Lawrence Francis O’Donnell Jr. in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother Frances Marie (née Buckley) worked as an office manager and his father Lawrence Francis O’Donnell Sr. earned his living as an attorney. He is of Irish descent and was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. O’Donnell received his high school education at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, Massachusetts, and for college he attended Harvard College, graduating with a degree in economics in 1976. As a student, he wrote articles for The Harvard Lampoon and earned a reputation among students for his wit and sarcasm.
O’Donnell turned to write soon after graduating from college, and it remained his sole occupation for over a decade. His earlier works include the book Deadly Force, based on a real-life case of wrongful death and police brutality in which O’Donnell’s father was the plaintiff’s attorney. The book was published in 1983 and was made into the 1986 film A Case of Deadly Force, for which O’Donnell was an Associate Producer.
The year 1989 marked the beginning of Lawrence O’Donnell’s six years as an advisor to then-Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. From 1989 to 1991, he was Senior Advisor to Senator Moynihan and later Chief of Staff of the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the United States Senate (1992-93), chaired by Senator Moynihan. Finally, he was Director of Staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (1993-1995), also chaired by Senator Moynihan.
O’Donnell was involved in showbiz/television when his work as a legislative advisor ended in 1995. Equipped with first-hand knowledge of what goes on in the US Congress, he landed a well-deserved place on the production team of the political drama series The West Wing (1999-2006). During the highly successful seven seasons of the series, he served in various capacities as an author, editor, and most importantly, producer.
For his brilliant work on The West Wing, he received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2001, and the series was also nominated in the same category in 2006. In 2003, he created another TV drama series Mister Sterling, but it was rather short-lived as it was canceled after only 10 episodes. O’Donnell is also a good actor who has taken guest roles in several TV series.
Lawrence O’Donnell got his biggest television appearance so far when he started hosting his own show on the MSNBC network. The weeknight opinion and news show The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell has had a steady and successful run since its premiere in September 2010. The multi-talented TV star had served as a political expert on several news and talk shows before landing his own show. In 2009 he became a regular contributor to the NBC news talk show Morning Joe, where he earned a reputation for his aggressive debating style. He was also the top choice fill-in presenter on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann between 2009 and 2010.
Since joining the MSNBC network in the 1990s, Lawrence O’Donnell has made his way through the ranks to become one of the network’s top shots. As expected, his great work for the network is rewarded with a fair financial reward of $4 million per year.
O’Donnell’s continued involvement with MSNBC became dubious sometime in 2017 due to speculation that he would leave the network when his contract expired. However, this speculation was put to rest when the host of The Last Word renewed his contract on May 31, 2017.
Is He Married? Wife, Daughter
Lawrence O’Donnell is not currently in a marital relationship but has been married in the past. He was married to former film and television actress Kathryn Harrold. The duo entered into matrimony on Valentine’s Day 1994 and they have a child together, a daughter named Elizabeth Buckley Harrold O’Donnell, who was also born in 1994. It remains unclear when O’Donnnell’s marriage to Harrold ended, but it is widely reported that their divorce was finalized in 2013.