Lawrence O’Donnell is known for his not-so-cool approach to political affairs in MSNBC’s political commentary program, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Not surprisingly for many people, the TV presenter is practically an encyclopedia of politics, O’Donnell has been involved in politics most of his life. Apart from being a presenter, he is also a good writer, producer, and actor.
Lawrence Francis O’Donnell Jr. was born on November 7, 1951, and his romance with politics was traced back to 1989 when he became an advisor to then-US Senator Pat Moynihan in the Legislature. O’Donnell must have got his mind from his father, Lawrence O’Donnell Sr. who was a lawyer. More about O’Donnell Jr., his career and his marital problems can be found below.
Lawrence O’Donnell’s Career History Before MSNBC
O’Donnell’s career began during his college years. He attended Harvard College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in economics. As a student, he wrote articles for The Harvard Lampoon. He stood out with his brilliant articles and was respected by his colleagues. O’Donnell immersed himself in writing full-time after graduation and it remained his sole occupation for over a decade.
His earlier work includes the book Deadly Force, based on a real case of police brutality in which his father was the plaintiff’s attorney. The book was published in 1983 and in 1986 it was made into a film called A Case of Deadly Force; O’Donnell served as Associate Producer of the film.
How He Became Involved With Politics and Television
The year 1989 marked the beginning of Lawrence O’Donnell’s 6 years as a consultant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. From 1989 to 1991, he served as senior advisor to Senator Moynihan and later as staff director of the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the United States Senate (1992-93), chaired by Senator Moynihan. He also served as staff director of the United States 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. With his first-hand knowledge of 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 7-season of the series, he worked in various capacities: as an author, editor and, most importantly, producer.
For his brilliant work on The West Wing, he was awarded the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2001 and was nominated in the same category in 2006. In 2003 he created another TV drama series, Mister Sterling. However, this was short-lived as it was canceled after only 10 episodes. O’Donnell is also a good actor who has pulled guest roles in some TV series.
How Has His Career Progressed Since He Joined MSNBC?
Lawrence O’Donnell got his biggest TV job so far when he started hosting his own show on the MSNBC network. The weekly opinion and news show, The Last Word, starring Lawrence O’Donnell, has been consistently successful since its premiere in September 2010. The versatile 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. Here he gained a reputation for his aggressive debating style. He was also the preferred host of 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 great shooters. As expected, his great work is rewarded with a fair financial reward of $4 million per year.
In 2017 there was speculation that he would leave the network when his contract expired. The speculation was buried when The Last Word Host extended his contract on May 31, 2017.
What Happened to Lawrence O’Donnell’s Marriage?
He was previously married to former film and television actress Kathryn Harrold. Lawrence and Kathryn met through a mutual friend and decided to take things to the next level; they entered into the bond of marriage on Valentine’s Day 1994. The same year they were married they welcomed a daughter named Elizabeth Buckley Harrold. Things went smoothly for a while, but they fell apart and divorced in 2013.
The TV presenter is now said to have a relationship with her former MSNBC colleague Tamron Hall. In fact, it is said that Lawrence’s relationship with Hall began before his divorce from his first wife; allegedly the two started dating in 2011. It is based on this report that many speculated that O’Donnell was having an affair, which consequently led to the divorce. But neither Lawrence nor his ex-wife revealed the reason for their separation.
Two events so far have led many to believe that Lawrence O’Donnell’s ex-wife was a good luck charm and that his life has been plagued by mishaps since her departure. One was Lawrence O’Donnell’s near-death experience. This happened a few months after the divorce; O’Donnell was on holiday in the Virgin Islands with his brother when they were involved in an accident that almost cost them their lives.
The second event, which was really strange, was his ugly display of anger and disorientation amidst technical difficulties on the set of his program. This was captured in an 8-minute clip that mysteriously leaked out, causing the TV presenter to apologize afterward. There are reports suggesting that Lawrence O’Donnell and his girlfriend are planning to get married; only time will tell if this is true.