Radio talk show host. Born on January 16, 1947, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BS in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stonybrook, Long Island, NY, and her Masters and Ph.D. in Physiology from Columbia University (College of Physicians and Surgeons) in New York. She earned a post-doctoral certification in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling from the University of Southern California. Schlessinger was a faculty member at USC and Pepperdine University in Malibu, and has taught at UCLA. She was in private practice for twelve years before turning her attention to a national audience.
Her radio show, the syndicated Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show on KFI-AM Radio in Los Angeles started in 1990. She is best known for her no-nonsense philosophy of personalresponsibility and self-motivation, which has won her millions offans, and more than a few critics. Schlessinger is also a best-selling author (including Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives, The Ten Commandments: The Significance or God’s Laws in Everyday Life, How Could You Do That?: The Abdication of Character, Courage and Conscience, and Ten Stupid Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives), and a much sought after public speaker.
Her radio audience extends to 400 stations across the United States. Schlessinger’s fans admire her bluntness, her humor, and her short, curt style which cut to the root of the problem, while her critics consider her unbearably self-righteous, harsh and insensitive, and question whether callers have an unhealthy attraction to being publicly reprimanded, sometimes very severely.
Her moral messages include no sex before marriage, no marriage before thirty, no abortions, no day care, and above all, no whining. She was publicly ridiculed for being somewhat of a hypocrite when nude pictures taken by a former lover, when she was a young women, surfaced on the Internet.
The always controversial Schlessinger made headlines in early 2000 when nearly four hundred people attended a raucous demonstration outside the Paramount Pictures lot to protest the studio’s plans for a daytime television talk show hosted by Dr. Laura. The protesters accused the tough-talking Schlessinger of homophobia and cited comments she made on her weekly call-in radio show-heard by an estimated 18 million listeners-referring to gays and lesbians as “deviant” and “a biological error.”
Many of the show’s advertisers pulled their support due to the controversy, and Dr. Laura premiered in September 2000 to some of the worst ratings on television. Though Schlessinger herself placed a full-page ad in the Daily Variety, attributing her views regarding the traditional family to her Orthodox Jewish background, her apologies were too little, too late, for her nemeses at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) who continued their public crusade against her. Dr. Laura was cancelled in late March 2001, after reaching No. 132 in the nationwide Nielsen ratings.
In December 2002, Schlessinger’s estranged mother, whom she reportedly had not spoken to in more than 14 years, was found slain in her Beverly Hills condominium. The cause of death has not been established.
Schlessinger is married to Dr.
Lewis Bishop, who is also her manager and business partner. She practices Orthodox Judaism, and has a black belt in the martial arts.