Is Kelly O’Donnell Related to Lawrence O’Donnell? The Surprising Truth About the Two Journalists

Kelly O’Donnell and Lawrence O’Donnell are both well-known journalists who work for NBC News and MSNBC, respectively. They share the same last name, profession, and Irish ancestry, but are they related by blood or marriage? The answer may surprise you.

No Family Ties

The truth is that Kelly O’Donnell and Lawrence O’Donnell are not related in any way. They have no familial connection, despite sharing a common surname and working for the same media company. They are simply colleagues who happen to have similar backgrounds and careers.

According to Wikipedia, Kelly O’Donnell was born on May 17, 1965, in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the second child of Irish immigrant parents, Josh O’ Donnell and Kristen O’ Donnell. Her father Josh was a businessman who did a lot of traveling, and her mother was a dancer. She has an elder sister named Jenny, who also works as a journalist.

Kelly O’Donnell graduated from Northwestern University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, focusing on a combined course of study in journalism and public policy. She served as a reporter and anchor at WJW TV in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1990s. She joined NBC News in 1994 and has since covered various stories, including the Bush administration, Congress, several presidential campaigns, the Iraq war, the September 11 attacks, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Oklahoma City bombing, the O. J. Simpson trial, the travels and death of Pope John Paul II, and both summer and winter Olympic games. She is currently a political reporter for NBC News as White House and Capitol Hill correspondent. She appears on NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet The Press, and MSNBC.

Kelly O’Donnell married J. David Ake, an Associated Press photographer and assistant bureau chief for photos based in Washington D.C., in 2005. They have no children.

Lawrence O’Donnell was born on November 7, 1951, in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the son of Frances Marie (née Buckley), an office manager, and Lawrence Francis O’Donnell Sr., an attorney and member of the Supreme Court Bar. He is of Irish descent and grew up Catholic. He attended St. Sebastian’s School, where he was captain of the baseball team and wide receiver on their undefeated football team. He majored in economics at Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1976. He wrote for the Harvard Lampoon while at Harvard.

Lawrence O’Donnell began his political career as an aide to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1989 to 1995. He was also staff director for the Senate Finance Committee under Senator Moynihan’s chairmanship. He then became a writer and producer for the NBC series The West Wing from 1999 to 2006, playing the role of President Bartlet’s father in flashbacks. He also created and executive produced the NBC series Mister Sterling and appeared as a recurring character on the HBO series Big Love. He is currently a television anchor, actor, author, screenwriter, liberal political commentator, and host of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC opinion and news program that airs on weeknights.

Lawrence O’Donnell married Kathryn Harrold, an actress best known for her roles in The Hunter and Raw Deal, on February 14, 1994. They have one daughter named Elizabeth Buckley Harrold O’Donnell. They divorced in 2013.

Why Do They Have the Same Last Name?

The reason why Kelly O’Donnell and Lawrence O’Donnell have the same last name is simply because it is a very common Irish surname that originated from several Gaelic clans. According to, O’Donnell means “descendant of Domhnall”, which is a personal name composed of the elements domno “world” and val “might” or “rule”. The name was borne by several kings of Ireland and Scotland in medieval times.

The O’Donnells were one of the most powerful families in Ireland until the 17th century when they lost their lands and titles during the English conquest. Many O’Donnells emigrated to America during the Great Famine of the 1840s and settled in various states such as Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, California, and Texas.

Some of the most famous people with the surname O’Donnell include Rosie O’Donnell (comedian and actress), Chris O’Donnell (actor), Daniel O’Donnell (singer), Hugh O’Donnell (Scottish clan leader), Niall Garbh Ó Domhnaill (Irish chieftain), Rory O’Donnell (last king of Tyrconnell), and Red Hugh O’Donnell (Irish rebel leader).


Kelly O’Donnell and Lawrence O’Donnell are not related, despite having the same last name and working for the same media company. They are both successful journalists who have covered various stories and events in their careers. They have different personal lives and backgrounds, but they share a common Irish heritage and a passion for reporting the news.

Doms Desk

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