Friday, January 24, 2020



One day a couple of years after my brother's death, I was looking at a picture of him as a little boy, the age of 4, playing the piano. In the photo, his hands were on the keyboard, but his head was turned, smiling back at me as the flash went off. He wore a little bowtie and vest, his legs, unable to reach the floor, were dangling from the piano bench. A certain Jackson Browne played through my mind.

My heart was broken all over again staring at the picture. It’s one thing to lose a grown-up brother, and another to see a picture of that brother as a child, with all the potential there – a moment captured when we didn’t know his fragile life would end in tragedy. It’s a strange feeling to see a photograph of a deceased loved one as a child — in his innocence, before life got the best of him, before he lost his way. His life was over way too soon. In a weird way, he’s gone on and found out what none of us here can ever really know.

Everyday in the news I am astounded at how cavalierly the media reports mass shootings, murders and forensic files. Even the show CSI is too casual about it. So much death everywhere. We hardly stop to imagine the pain the families are going through. Until you’ve seen death up close, you cannot imagine it.

That day I left the room and left the picture on my desk as I went looking for some Kleenex to wipe my tears. As I reentered the room, I caught my own 3-year old son Jack picking up this picture off the floor. He didn’t know I was watching him, but I heard him say, “Poor little angel, poor little angel.” This was so eerie I still cannot believe it. Three days after Paul’s death, the toddler pointed at a photo of his uncle and said “Paul happy!”

Paul was always the fragile broken child in our family. I heard a therapist once say that in every family there is the broken person – the “designated problem.” We all seemed stronger than he was. When my brother was 8-years-old, his one and only friend, Carl, from another school — was taken out in the desert and shot to death by his father, who then turned the gun on himself and his youngest son as well. In those days, these kinds of killings were rare.

Through the years, whenever I hear about celebrities-gone-wild like Britney Spears, Danny Devito, Paris Hilton, Michael Richards, Courtney Love, Robert Downey Jr. — I always thank God that I never had to go through such a public humiliation, and especially that I have never lost custody of my child. My crash and burn was a private one. Or at least I thought so at the time. It turns out I publicly embarrassed myself in quiet neighborhoods all over New York, Beirut, Monte Carlo, Milwaukee —okay the whole world — in those wild animal days. There was that time with Tom Hanks on tour to promote our ABC shows Bosom Buddies and Too Close For Comfort .... oops, not here, nevermind.. Then there was the trip to London when Princess Di's billionaire, Dodi Fayed, locked me in a bank vault that doubled as a hideaway above Harrod’s. All I remember was guzzling champagne while screaming “Let me out! I have an audition for Dance Fever tomorrow!”

The only place I may have been remotely dignified was in Beirut, when I visited the Marines on a USO tour to the Middle East. If you call losing your high heel out of a helicopter over the Dead Sea as dignified. Or screaming in the Athens airport thinking a bomb was going off, when in fact people were just just ducking to pick up their luggage.

My fall from grace was not as civilized as I remember it. I wasn’t breaking windows or wandering into houses and sleeping in stranger’s beds ... but I did just about everything else. EXCEPT WHAT BRITNEY SPEARS DID YESTERDAY!
Sheesh...!! What kind of role model is this for young mothers?

Now I know that great accomplishments are often the quieter moments of overcoming self, and not always broadcast on the news.

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." Harriet Beecher Stowe

From 2010:  A rather revealing article just came out SHOT GUN LYDIA CORNELL written by Michael Sutton, an amazing journalist (one who doesn't twist or sensationalize the truth. This is Part One of a 3-part story that will be a feature in a larger magazine on the stands. This was a little scary, as I've never revealed the whole wretched story before, but I guess now it's time... Part 2 deals with the trilogy of books I have coming out. Thanks.

Sunday, December 3 at 3 p.m. PST I'll be on  BARRY GORDON FROM LEFT FIELD one of the BEST live-call-in talk shows on radio! From the website: "On December 3, Barry and Ellen's guests will be several extraordinary American women: congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, former ambassador Swanee Hunt, daughter of legendary oil magnate H. L. Hunt, Arianna Huffington and actress/writer/activist Lydia Cornell."

All that plus your chance to call in and join in the conversation, at 1-800-809-0802. "Barry Gordon From Left Field" ... it's a whole new ballgame!

I have an article in the upcoming issue of PERSPECTIVE on LABOR (Dec. 6) and will have a monthly column in the Kokomo Perspective staring in January.

Let's support the men and women who are giving and sacrificing so much by contributing a little of our time to give them a nice surprise. Most of us have day jobs, but perhaps you are between projects. Scroll down for details.



    Are women expendable and repaceable? Are we just sex objects until we're 25, and then considered over-the-hill and useless? I have spent years mentoring teenage boys and girls, and this seems to be the prevailing viewpoint; this is what they are telling me.

    A 7th grade girl at my kids' school was caught in the boys' room performing a sexual act on an 8th grade boy. A gifted young Indian girl has decided to become sexually active because she doesn't think she's pretty (or blonde!) enough to get a boyfriend. All the preteens I know are obsessed with sex, and using language that makes me faint. These kids are aspiring to become lap dancers. When did pole-dancing become a degree-requiring profession! Sex, sex and more sex - this is the prevailing value in our culture these days. Thanks to Kim Kardashian and TMZ! Actually  we must thank MTV and advertising. My motto is: All human suffering is caused by Victoria's Secret! 

    That's why I'm trying to become a virgin again in more ways than one. How can you find your soul in a pornographic world? I tell these girls that mystery is appealing; that keeping your clothes on is provocative. We don't need to create any more men of entitlement. There is already an army of men cheating on their wives and using women like paper towels, as Tiger Woods did.

    In our culture it seems that women are being sexually objectified more than ever. I am a product of the 80's, and as a sex symbol I had to dumb myself down to fit into Hollywood. I also had to wear short-shorts and skimpy costumes on TV and pose in a sequined bikini to promote Too Close for Comfort.  

    We are obsessed with sex in America in a very immature way. We have made something natural seem titillating and taboo because of our Puritan nature. Advertisers jumped on this, seeing the potential in creating a plot to keep women thin and insecure. I am not blaming men for all my problems, but they did invent makeup and war and high heels. Do you know the historical purpose of high heels?  To raise women up for easier insertion!  It's true! I'll tell you the history later.  

    My son's friend Tommy, 14, came back from Europe this summer and said the people are so genuine there. He said they seem to value relationships more than "stuff" and looking "hot." My stepson is obsessed with having "cut abs" on Facebook. God Bless him. I have tried to tell him it's inner strength that matters, but he looked at me like I was an alien. 

    I have been wondering if the greed era, circa 1980-2008, in which capitalism has been allowed to run amok -- is responsible for creating so many sociopaths and narcissists in our country. What are American values? What do we value?

    Please post your opinion for an article I'm writing. Thank you.

    More on my personal experiences with domestic violence angle in the next issue.

    This was initially written in 2010
    Check out Lydia's LIVE SHOW each Wednesday night from 7-9 PM Pacific Time here:  KELSEY GRAMMER PRESENTS LYDIA LIVE ON TODHD