Laura (Catherine) Schlessinger (1947-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1947, in Brooklyn, NY; Education: State University of New York—Stonybrook, B.S. (biological sciences); Columbia University, M.S., M. Phil., and Ph.D. (physiology), 1974; University of Southern California, postdoctoral certificate in marriage, family, and child counseling, 1980. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Hapkido karate (earned black belt, 1992), machine knitting, Harley Davidson motorcycles, power boating, collecting unique teapots; student of Jewish history, religion, and philosophy.
Office—c/o Premiere Radio Network, 15260 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 500, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403; fax: (818)461-5140. Agent—Harry Walker Agency, Inc., 355 Lexington Ave., 21st Fl., New York, NY 10017.
Licensed marriage and family counselor, 1980—. KFI-AM 640 Radio, Los Angeles, CA, host of syndicated Dr. Laura Show, 1990—; host of Dr. Laura Schlessinger television show, UPN, 2000-01. Also worked as an instructor in physiology and human sexuality at University of Southern California and as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University. Founder, Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation for Abused and Neglected Children.
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, National Association of At-Home Mothers (member, board of advisors).
Marconi Award for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year, 1997; American Women in Radio and Television's Genii Award, 1998, for contributions to the industry; Israel 50th Anniversary Tribute Award, 1998, for contributions to humanity; Crystal Cathedral Academy Award, 1998, for promoting positive family values in the media; Love of a Child award, Childhelp USA, 1998; Chairman's Award, National Religious Broadcasters, 2000; National Heritage Award, National Council of Young Israel, 2001; Conservative Leadership Award, Clare Booth Luce Institute, 2001; Woman of the Year Award, Clare Booth Luce Institute, 2002.
(With Martha Lambert) Why Do You Love Me?, illustrated by Daniel McFeeley, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.
But I Waaannt It!, illustrated by Daniel McFeeley, Cliff Street (New York, NY), 2000.
Growing up Is Hard, illustrated by Daniel McFeeley, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Where's God?, illustrated by Daniel McFeeley, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.
Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess up Their Lives, HarperPerennial (New York, NY), 1995.
How Could You Do That?!: The Abdication of Character, Courage, and Conscience, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess up Their Lives, Cliff Street (New York, NY), 1997.
(Coauthor with Rabbi Stewart Vogel) The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life, Cliff Street (New York, NY), 1998.
Cope with It!, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Damsels, Dragons, and Regular Guys, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 20002000.
Good People—And Where You Fit In, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2000.
Parenthood by Proxy: Don't Have Them if You Won't Raise Them, Cliff Street (New York, NY), 2000.
The Ten Commandments: Do They Still Count?, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2000.
I Hate My Life!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess up Their Relationships, Cliff Street (New York, NY), 2001.
Ten Stupid Things Parents Do to Mess up Their Kids, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Woman Power: Transform Your Man, Your Marriage, Your Life, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Author of foreword to Coming out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality, by Richard Cohen, Oakhill Press (Winchester, VA), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including L.A. Parent.
Each weekday, from her studio at KFI-AM Radio in Los Angeles, marriage and family therapist Dr. Laura Schlessinger doles out her wisdom to harried callers who turn to her for answers to their problems, while an audience of some ten million listens in for inspiration and entertainment. Schlessinger has been described as boldly direct, sometimes brash, in her response to those seeking her advice, which is grounded in her concern for families and her strong belief in traditional moral values. This same voice and focus inform Schlessinger's self-help books, including Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess up Their Lives, Parenthood by Proxy: Don't Have Them if You Won't Raise Them, and The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. Schlessinger has also penned a number of books for children, including Why Do You Love Me? and Growing up Is Hard.
In Why Do You Love Me? Schlessinger explores the concept of unconditional love when a boy asks his mother if she stops loving him when he misbehaves. The idea for the work stemmed from a question posed by the author's then six-year-old son; as she told Holly G. Miller in the Saturday Evening Post, "Kids this age don't understand the concept of unconditional love. They think they have to earn it. They haven't learned that parents don't need a reason to love them. Parents love their kids 'just because.'" Christine A. Moesch, writing in School Library Journal, described Why Do You Love Me? as "a reassuring, warm book to share with youngsters at bedtime or any time when presented with those 'why' questions that children are so fond of asking."
Another children's books by Schlessinger, But I Waaannt It!, deals with this universal childhood demand through the story of Sammy, who gets all the stuffed animals he wants but soon discovers what is truly important. While noting the book's goal of "zeroing in on consumerism and greed," a Publishers Weekly contributor maintained that the "overearnest tone and dialogue manufactured to drive home Dr. Laura's message" somewhat overwhelm the plot.
In Growing up Is Hard Sammy's father notices that his son looks sad and attempts to get at the source of the youngster's frustration. Though he tries to hold his tongue, Sammy finally reveals that he no longer enjoys life: his teacher wants him to do a better job in school, his parents want him to help around the house, and his best friend wants to play with other people. Sammy's father explains that change is part of growing up, and Sammy learns to look at his concerns in a new light.
In Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Where's God? a young boy wants to contact God to ask for help with his mother's ailing knee. After talking to a grocery-store clerk, listening to a television evangelist, and even searching for God with his binoculars, Sammy eventually learns from his grandfather where and how to find God. According to Booklist critic Ilene Cooper, the work "does cover the basics and usually presents God at a level preschoolers can understand."
Biographical and Critical Sources
McClendon, Ray, Dr. Laura: A Mother in America, Chariot Victor (Colorado Springs, CO), 1999.
Sbane, Vickie L., Dr. Laura: The Unauthorized Biography, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Booklist, February 15, 1996, p. 963; August, 1998, review of The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life, p. 1919; August, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess up Their Relationships, p. 2049; October 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Where's God?, pp. 334-335.
Children's Book Review Service, May, 1999, review of Why Do You Love Me?, p. 112.
Ladies' Home Journal, April, 1998, p. 40.
Library Journal, April 1, 1996, p. 103; October 15, 1997, review of Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess up Their Lives, p. 78; April, 1999, Christine A. Moesch, review of Why Do You Love Me?, p. 108; September 1, 2001, Susan E. Burdick, review of Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess up Their Relationships, p. 211.
Los Angeles Times, September 3, 1991, p. B1; March 13, 1994, p. E2.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 21, 1996, p. 14.
National Review, October 13, 1997, review of Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess up Their Lives, p. 73.
People, July 11, 1994, pp. 93-94; November 17, 1997, p. 42.
Publishers Weekly, May 25, 1998, p. 16; September 14, 1998, review of The Ten Commandments, p. 66; March 1, 1999, review of Why Do You Love Me?, p. 67; April 17, 2000, review of But I Waaannt It!, p. 79; October 22, 2001, review of Ten Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess up Their Relationships, p. 69; August 2, 2004, review of Woman Power, p. 64; August 16, 2004, Daisy Maryles, "Dr. Laura Takes Two," p. 17.
Saturday Evening Post, November, 1999, Holly G. Miller, review of Why Do You Love Me?, p. 46.
School Library Journal, April, 1999, Christine A. Moesch, review of Why Do You Love Me?, p. 108; June, 1999, pp. 5, 12; May, 2000, Denise E. Agosto, review of But I Waaannt It!, p. 154; September, 2001, Doris Gebel, review of Growing up Is Hard, p. 73.
U.S. News and World Report, April 29, 1996, Amy Bernstein, "Dr. Laura Schlessinger's Moral Health Show."
Washington Post, July 26, 1995, p. D1.
Dr. Laura Web site, http://www.drlaura.com/ (May 20, 2005).*