OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Christopher Kennedy Lawford speaking March 16 at VU dinner event

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-01-29T00:05:00Z 2013-01-29T12:10:14Z OFFBEAT: Christopher Kennedy Lawford speaking March 16 at VU dinner eventBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Christopher Kennedy Lawford, whose parents are the late Patricia Kennedy Lawford and her actor husband Peter Lawford, is coming to Valparaiso University in March to speak at a dinner event in the ballroom of the Harre Student Union.

Invitations have yet to be mailed out, so Times readers are getting an early scoop.

The event is at 6 p.m. March 16 sponsored by Frontline Foundations, Inc., which is a substance abuse program with offices in both Chesterton and Valparaiso.

Tickets for the dinner and lecture are $40 each or if purchasing an entire table seating eight, the tickets are only $35.

You can call (219) 728-1638 for tickets or purchase online at in1accord.eventbrite.com.

Lawford, nephew of the late John F. Kennedy, is a best-selling author and has been in recovery for more than 26 years. He currently works with the United Nations, the White House Office on Drug Control Policy, the World Health Organization and the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse.

He was also named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime to promote activities supporting drug treatment, care, and recovery and holds a master's in clinical psychology from Harvard Medical School.

His mother died in 2006 at age 82 and his father (the couple had divorced in 1966) died at age 61 in 1984.

Following in his father's Hollywood career footsteps, Lawford, 57, has enjoyed some success in the world of television and film, including working for his former cousin-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger, appearing in two of his films, including "Terminator 3."

On TV, he was part of the soap opera casts on both "All My Children" and "General Hospital."

He is best known for starring in "Thirteen Days," the 2000 docudrama directed by Roger Donaldson about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, seen from the perspective of the US political leadership.

(While the movie carries the same name as the book "Thirteen Days" by former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, it is based on a different book, "The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis" by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.)

Lawford has said in media interviews he's been trying to make a film about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis "from Cuba's perspective," but has said the project "has been stymied by the U.S. blockade."

Lawford said the idea came from him sitting next to Cuban leader Fidel Castro (who is now 86) in Havana during a 2001 screening of "Thirteen Days." He later told ABC News: "Castro got up at the end of the film and he said, 'You've made a great film, but you've ignored Cuba, now you have to make a film of what was happening here in Cuba during those 13 days."

Lawford said has returned to Cuba six times "to do just that," but says "as you know, we have an embargo against Cuba, which is one of the greatest foreign policy tragedies in the history of the United States."

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

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