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Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe 2012 Shankbone 2.JPG
Lowe in 2012
Born Robert Hepler Lowe
(1964-03-17) March 17, 1964 (age 53)
Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Sheryl Berkoff (m. 1991)
Children 2
Relatives Chad Lowe (brother)

Robert Hepler Lowe (/l/; born March 17, 1964)[1] is an American actor. He came to prominence as a teen idol in the 1980s, appearing in teen and young adult film roles in The Outsiders (1983), Oxford Blues (1984), St. Elmo's Fire (1985), and About Last Night... (1986). Thereafter, his film career decreased and he ventured into television, making his breakthrough as Sam Seaborn on the NBC political drama The West Wing (1999–2003), for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and two Golden Globe Award nominations. Lowe appeared as Robert McCallister on the ABC television drama Brothers & Sisters (2006–2010), followed by a four-year run as Chris Traeger on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation (2010–14), for which he was critically acclaimed. He is currently starring as Dr. Ethan Willis on the CBS medical drama Code Black (2015–) and appears with his two sons, Matthew and Jon Owen, in the A&E reality series The Lowe Files (2017–).

In addition to his 2001 Emmy nomination for The West Wing,[2] Lowe has six Golden Globe Award nominations, which span four of the seven categories for male actors.[3]

Early life

Lowe was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of Barbara Lynn (née Hepler; 1939-2003), a schoolteacher and native of Connecticut, and Charles Davis Lowe (b. 1939), a trial lawyer.[4] His parents divorced when Lowe and his younger brother Chad were very young.

Lowe was baptized into the Episcopal church.[5] He is of German, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. On the show Who Do You Think You Are?, Lowe found out that one of his ancestors, Christopher East, was a Hessian soldier. His ancestor was fighting under the command of Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall and was captured at the American victory at Trenton, New Jersey, on the morning of December 26, 1776. As an American POW, his ancestor was given a choice, and took the option to stay in the United States.[6]

Lowe was raised in a "traditional American setting"[5] in Dayton, Ohio, attending Oakwood Junior High School, before moving to the Point Dume area of Malibu, California, with his mother and brother.[7][8]

Career

Lowe at the Governor's Ball party after the 1989 Academy Awards

One of Lowe's earliest roles came in the 1983 TV film Thursday's Child, for which he received his first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film. His breakthrough role was his big screen debut in 1983, when he and Emilio Estevez were cast in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. Lowe played the role of Sodapop Curtis, the brother of the main character Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) and Darrel Curtis (Patrick Swayze). Lowe and Estevez reunited in St. Elmo's Fire, making them the two more prominent actors from the group known as the Brat Pack. About Last Night... followed, with Demi Moore (who had starred alongside Lowe in St. Elmo's Fire). He then received his second Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the mentally disabled Rory in Square Dance (1987). In August 1987 he performed on stage, playing Baron Tusenbach in Chekov's The Three Sisters at The Williamstown Theatre Festival.[9] He recalled meeting Paul Newman there, and that the older actor encouraged him to work in the theatre in 1993 when filming a British TV production of the Tennessee Williams play Suddenly, Last Summer with (the now) Dame Maggie Smith and Natasha Richardson.[10]

Lowe is well known for playing Sam Seaborn in the television series The West Wing from 1999 - 2003 (and briefly in 2006). His performance in the show garnered Lowe a Primetime Emmy Award nomination[11] and two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a Drama Series. Lowe was drawn to the role because of his personal love of politics, and his longstanding personal relationship with Martin Sheen, who was cast as President Bartlet. When the show premiered, Seaborn was considered the lead, and the pilot centered on the character. But the acclaimed cast of the show—including Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Dulé Hill, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen (whose President Bartlet was initially scripted as a small role) and Stockard Channing (whose First Lady was initially scripted as a guest role)— were all strong actors and eventually Lowe's character was no longer the lead. Lowe and series creator Aaron Sorkin soon found themselves at odds over the network's meddling with the show, most notably the network demanding changes in the Sam Seaborn character. Eventually, Lowe left the series, not long before Sorkin and director/executive producer Thomas Schlamme unceremoniously quit over a dispute with NBC. During the final season of The West Wing, Lowe returned to his role of Sam Seaborn, appearing in two of the final four episodes. In 2011, Lowe appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and stated that he left the show because he did not feel he was being respected, when the other lead characters received a raise and he did not.[12]

After leaving the show, Lowe was the star and executive producer of a failed NBC drama, The Lyon's Den (2003). In 2004, he tried again in a series entitled Dr. Vegas, but it also was quickly cancelled. In 2005, he starred as Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee in a London West End production of Sorkin's play A Few Good Men, the first time the two had worked together since The West Wing. Although Lowe had expressed unhappiness about his decreased role on that show at the time of his departure, he has now repeatedly said that any animosity between them is over and that he was pleased to be working once more with Sorkin, whose talents as a writer Lowe highly regards. Lowe passed on the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd of Grey's Anatomy, which eventually went to Patrick Dempsey.[13]

Despite his two cancelled TV series and flops like View From the Top and the made-for-TV movie Perfect Strangers during his post–West Wing run, Lowe found success in the TV miniseries genre. The year 2004 marked his return to this genre; he had appeared in 1994's The Stand, based on Stephen King's book of the same name. In 2004 Lowe starred in the TNT remake of the Stephen King miniseries Salem's Lot which was the highest rated cable program of that summer and the highest ratings TNT original programming had at the time. In 2005 Lowe starred in the miniseries Beach Girls on the Lifetime network, based on the Luanne Rice novel of the same name. The series premiere received the highest ratings for a movie premiere in Lifetime history. In that same year, Lowe filmed his role as a movie agent in the 2006 independent film Thank You for Smoking. In 2006 he filmed The Perfect Day for TNT, in which he took a pay cut to film in New Orleans in order to help the hurricane-ravaged area. That same year, Lowe filmed Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming, the sequel to the 1999 Kevin Bacon thriller Stir of Echoes.

In 2006, it was announced that Lowe would join the cast of Brothers & Sisters for a guest run of several episodes. In January 2007, ABC announced that Lowe would be staying on Brothers and Sisters as a "special guest star" for the rest of Season 1 after Lowe's initial appearance on the show in November 2006 brought the best ratings and demographic showing for the show since its premiere. Soon after ABC announced an early Season 2 renewal for Brother & Sisters in March 2007, Lowe announced he would be returning for the show's second season. He continued to appear in the series until the end of the 2009–10 season. Unhappy with the stories and his lack of screen time in the fourth season, Lowe announced he would leave. In an episode broadcast on May 16, 2010, his character was part of a multi-vehicle crash involving a large truck and was put into a coma, the storyline was wrapped up in the first episode of the fifth season; Lowe did not appear in the episode.

In June 2006, he was the guest host for an episode in the third series of The Friday Night Project for the United Kingdom's Channel 4. Lowe has also appeared in a televised advertisement for 'Visit California', along with other celebrities including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. (In the advertisement campaign, he was usually pictured in a white tee-shirt printed with the California state flag.) Lowe had a supporting role in the 2009 movie The Invention of Lying[14] and a leading role in Too Late to Say Goodbye.[15]

In 2010, he appeared in the biography of the Brat Packers called: Brat Pack: Where Are They Now? He also appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. Lowe is currently teaming up with 44 Blue to produce a reality series entitled Potomac Fever about young adults living in Washington, D.C.[16]

In July 2010, it was announced that Lowe would be providing the voice for the superhero Captain Marvel in the upcoming animated series, Young Justice.[17] It was also announced in July 2010 that Lowe would become a series regular on the series Parks and Recreation.[18] In 2011, Lowe guest starred in a recurring role on Showtime's comedy Californication. Lowe featured as the troubled but in-demand actor Eddie Nero – a character based upon "about ten people", according to Lowe[19] but somewhat contradicted by sources at Showtime itself[20] – employed to portray Hank in a film version of his book, Fucking and Punching.[21]

In 2011, Lowe wrote a memoir titled Stories I Only Tell My Friends, which was released in May 2011.[16][22] During his promotional tour for Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Lowe told Australian radio show The Kyle & Jackie O Show that during his five-day press visit to Australia in 1990, he was so badly affected by the overuse of painkillers that the only two things he remembers from the trip were being at the Sydney Zoo and getting a tattoo,[23] although he states in his book that he does not remember getting the tattoo. In 2014, Lowe wrote a second book titled Love Life, which was released in April that year. He uses stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.

In 2014, Lowe starred in a pilot for the single-camera comedy The Pro as Ben Bertrahm, a former professional tennis player.[24] The pilot was not picked up for series.

In 2014, Lowe narrated The '90s: The Last Great Decade? on the National Geographic Channel, which aired in July of that year.[25]

In 2015, Lowe starred in the satirical thriller Pocket Listing.

Lowe has been a commercial spokesman for DirecTV since fall 2014. Commercials featuring Lowe contrast him with some alternate, less appealing form of Lowe, who instead has cable.[26] The advertisements were pulled in April 2015 after the National Advertising Division, acting on a complaint by Comcast, found DirecTV's claims about its customer satisfaction, quality, and ranking to be less than truthful.[27]

In February 2015, Fox announced they had greenlit a pilot for the comedy The Grinder starring Rob Lowe and directed by Jake Kasdan.[28] The pilot, unfortunately, was never ordered to series by Fox.

Since November 2015, Lowe voices Simba in the Disney movie and series The Lion Guard.[29]

In December 2015, Lowe was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is located in front of the Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard.[30]

In 2015, Lowe launched Profile™,[31] a men's skincare product line. The line features a collection of five antiaging products specially formulated for men. It is currently sold at Nordstrom stores and online.[32] The product collection includes a cleanser, a shave gel, an aftershave serum, a moisturizer, and an eye serum in the price range of $24.50 to $59.50.[33] In 2016, Lowe launched a fragrance product line called 18 Amber Wood with the Profile™ brand.[34]

On August 27, 2016, a TV special for Comedy Central Roasts was recorded and aired on September 5, 2016, with Rob Lowe as the Roastee and David Spade as Roast Master. Amongst the Roasters were Jewel, Nikki Glaser, Ralph Macchio, Pete Davidson, Peyton Manning, Rob Riggle, Jimmy Carr, Ann Coulter and the "Roast Master General" Jeff Ross.[35]

On April 21, 2017, KFC released a campaign featuring Lowe as astronaut Colonel Sanders giving a JFK speech spoof/homage about launching the Zinger chicken sandwich into space.[36] Lowe said in a statement that when he was a child, his grandfather took him to meet Harland Sanders.[37]

In late autumn 2017, Rob began a reality series with his two sons, 24-year-old Matthew and 22-year-old Jon Owen, on A&E titled The Lowe Files. With the exception of the hour-long pilot, the series features 30-minute road trips with the Lowe boys, and occasional TV guest stars known in the field, investigating common urban myths and legends that Rob has loved since he was a young boy and has shared with his boys throughout their growth, sometimes to the frustration of the boys' mom and Lowe's wife, Sheryl. Some of the topics being explored are Bigfoot/Sasquatch, the alleged unidentified "submerged" objects that may have a base right off the coast from L.A., alien abduction, and ghosts and their direct responses to stumuli. The series debuted on August 2, 2017.

Personal life

Lowe with wife Sheryl Berkoff in 2003

Family and relationships

Lowe married Sheryl Berkoff in 1991. They met twice, once at a speed dating session, and again on the set of Lowe's movie, Bad Influence.[38] The couple have two sons: Matthew Edward Lowe (b. 1993), and John Owen Lowe (b. 1995).

Sex tape

In 1988, Lowe was involved in a sex scandal over a videotape of him having sex with a 16-year-old girl he met in a nightclub. They were videotaped the night before the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. As the age of consent in Georgia was 14 at the time (until 1995 when it was raised to 16), both were of legal age to engage in sexual activity, although 18 was the legal age to be involved in such a recording.[39] At the time, Lowe was campaigning for Michael Dukakis.[40]

Another part of the same tape was leaked at the time, showing Lowe and his friend Justin Moritt both having vaginal and oral sex with a young American model named Jennifer, who was never identified, in a hotel room in Paris. This part of the original tape was sold as one of the first commercially available celebrity sex tapes, damaging Lowe's public image.[41] Eventually, his career rebounded, and Lowe mocked his own behavior during two post-scandal appearances as host of Saturday Night Live.[42]

Nanny lawsuit cases

Lowe in 2008

In April 2008, Lowe filed separate lawsuits against three former employees accusing them of breach of contract, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Lowe accused an ex‑nanny of engaging in a scheme to hurt the couple by spreading "malicious lies". Another former nanny was accused of falsely claiming to have had a personal and intimate relationship with Lowe, and also repeatedly expressing romantic interest in Lowe, claiming Lowe sexually harassed her and that Sheryl Lowe was an abusive employer. Rob Lowe claimed a former chef engaged in sex on their bed when the family was out of town, stole prescription drugs from the Lowes, broke several security cameras, overcharged them for food, and allegedly made statements to various people that Sheryl was heartless, cold and unclean.[43]

Jessica Gibson, Lowe's 24-year-old former nanny, made 12 allegations against Lowe involving sexual harassment claims and labor-code violations. On June 19, 2008, Santa Barbara, California, Superior Court Judge Denise de Bellefeuille dismissed two allegations regarding labor-code violations due to lack of legal basis.[44] The legal battle ended in May 2009, the press reported that court records showed that lawsuits filed by both nannies and Lowe were dismissed in Santa Barbara. Attorneys for both women and Lowe sought the dismissals.[45]

Philanthropy

Lowe was the first male spokesperson for the 2000 Lee National Denim Day fundraiser, which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education. His grandmother and great-grandmother both suffered from breast cancer, and his mother died of the disease in late 2003.[46][47]

Lowe is a founder of the Homeowner's Defense Fund, a Santa Barbara County non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to local control of land-use planning and transparency in government. The average price of tract homes in Santa Barbara in early 2006 was US$1,100,000, which motivated some to propose denser housing on existing lots. While in favor of increasing housing density, Lowe sought to build a 14,260-square-foot (1,325 m2) mansion for himself on an empty lot in Montecito, California.[48] His protest over the appearance of the address of the empty lot in the Santa Barbara News-Press precipitated a mass resignation of senior employees at that newspaper on July 6, 2006.[49][50][51]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1983 The Outsiders Sodapop Curtis
1983 Class Franklin 'Skip' Burroughs IV
1984 The Hotel New Hampshire John Berry
1984 Oxford Blues Nick De Angelo
1985 Go-Go's: Prime Time Hunk at the dance
1985 St. Elmo's Fire Billy Hixx
1986 Youngblood Dean Youngblood
1986 About Last Night Danny Martin
1987 Square Dance Rory aka Home Is Where the Heart Is
1988 Masquerade Tim Whalen
1988 Illegally Yours Richard Dice
1990 If the Shoe Fits Francesco Salvitore
1990 Bad Influence Alex
1991 The Finest Hour Lawrence Hammer
1991 The Dark Backward Dirk Delta
1992 Wayne's World Benjamin Kane
1994 Frank and Jesse Jesse James
1995 Tommy Boy Paul Barish Uncredited
1997 For Hire Mitch Lawrence
1997 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Decapitated henchman's friend Uncredited
1997 Living in Peril Walter Woods
1997 Contact Richard Rank
1997 Hostile Intent Cleary
1998 One Hell of a Guy Nick
1998 Crazy Six Billie, a.k.a. Crazy Six
1999 Dead Silent Kevin Finney
1999 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me Number Two from 1969
2000 The Specials The Weevil/Tony
2001 Proximity William Conroy
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember Middle Number Two
2003 View from the Top Co-Pilot Steve Bench
2005 Thank You for Smoking Jeff Megall
2009 Majesty Himself
2009 The Invention of Lying Brad Kessler
2009 Too Late To Say Goodbye Bart Corbin
2011 I Melt with You Jonathan
2011 Breakaway[52] Coach Dan Winters
2012 Knife Fight Paul Turner
2014 Sex Tape Hank Rosenbaum
2014 The Interview Himself Uncredited cameo
2016 Pocket Listing Frank Hunter
2016 Monster Trucks Reece Tenneson[53][54]
2017 How to Be a Latin Lover Rick the Gigolo
2017 Mune: Guardian of the Moon Sohone (voice)
2018 Super Troopers 2 Guy Le Franc Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1979–80 A New Kind of Family Tony Flannagan 11 episodes
1980 ABC Afterschool Special Charles Elderberry Episode: "Schoolboy Father"
1981 ABC Afterschool Special Jeff Bartlett Episode: "A Matter of Time"
1983 Thursday's Child Sam Alden Television film
1990–2000 Saturday Night Live Host 3 episodes
1993 Great Performances Doctor Cukrowicz Episode: "Suddenly, Last Summer"
1994 The Stand Nick Andros Television miniseries; 4 episodes
1995 The Larry Sanders Show Himself Episode: "The Bump"
1995 Midnight Man Sean Dillon Television film
1996 On Dangerous Ground Sean Dillon Television film
1996 First Degree Det. Rick Mallory Television film
1998 Stories from My Childhood Ivan (voice) Episode: "Ivan and His Magic Pony"
1998 Outrage Tom Casey Television film
1999 Atomic Train John Seger Television film
1999 Winding Roads Partygoer Television film
1999–2006 The West Wing Sam Seaborn 79 episodes
2000 Under Pressure John Spencer Television film
2001 Jane Doe David Doe Television film
2002 Framed Det. Mike Santini Television film
2002 The Christmas Shoes Robert Layton Television film
2003 The Lyon's Den Jack Turner 13 episodes
2004 Dr. Vegas Dr. Billy Grant 10 episodes
2004 Salem's Lot Ben Mears 2 episodes
2004 Perfect Strangers Lloyd Rockwell Television film
2005 Beach Girls Jack Kilvert 6 episodes
2005 The Christmas Blessing Robert Layton Television film
2006–10 Brothers & Sisters Robert McCallister 77 episodes
2006 A Perfect Day Rob Harlan Television film
2007 Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming Ted Cogan Television film
2007–09 Family Guy Stanford Cordray/Himself (voice) Episodes: "Road to Rupert" and "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven"
2010–15 Parks and Recreation Chris Traeger 76 episodes
2011 Young Justice Captain Marvel (voice) 2 episodes
2011–14 Californication Eddie Nero 6 episodes
2012 Drew Peterson: Untouchable Drew Peterson Television film
2013 Prosecuting Casey Anthony Jeff Ashton Television film
2013 Behind the Candelabra Dr. Jack Startz Television film
2013 Killing Kennedy John F. Kennedy Television film
2013 Franklin & Bash Himself Episode: "Shoot to Kill"
2015 Beautiful & Twisted[55] Ben Novack, Jr. Television film
2015 Moonbeam City Dazzle Novak (voice) 10 episodes
2015–16 The Grinder Dean Sanderson 22 episodes
2015 You, Me and the Apocalypse Father Jude Sutton 8 episodes
2015 The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar Simba (voice) Television film
2016–present The Lion Guard Simba (voice) 13 episodes
2016 Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe Himself/Roastee Television special
2016–present Code Black Dr. Ethan Willis
2017 The Lion Guard: The Rise of Scar Simba (voice)
2017-present The Lowe Files Rob Lowe Himself/ Series lead

Video game

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Fox Hunt Edison Pettibone Live action[56]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1983 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Thursday's Child Nominated
1988 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Square Dance Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama The West Wing Nominated
2001 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama The West Wing Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The West Wing Won
2002 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The West Wing Won
2003 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series The West Wing Nominated
2014 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Behind the Candelabra Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Killing Kennedy Nominated
2016 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Grinder Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Actor in a New TV Series The Grinder Nominated

References

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  5. ^ a b Fanshawe, Simon (March 23, 2002). "Pretty witty". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, April 27, 2012
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  8. ^ New York Times, He's Handsome — You Noticed? — but Not Just April 20, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
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  10. ^ Los Angeles Times, Williams Play a Different Role for Rob Lowe by Susan King Jan 6 1993
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  14. ^ Sandhu, Sukhdev (2014-08-29). "The Invention of Lying, review". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-10-16. 
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  27. ^ Justin Wm. Moyer (April 8, 2015). "Rob Lowe DirecTV ad campaign nixed". Washington Post. 
  28. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth. "Fox Orders Rob Lowe Comedy 'The Grinder' To Pilot". Variety. 
  29. ^ "Lion King spin-off taps Rob Lowe as Simba, Gabrielle Union, James Earl Jones and more". ew.com. August 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 
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  31. ^ "Profile 4 Men". 
  32. ^ "Profile 4 Men Skincare Line". 
  33. ^ Naughton, Julie (May 19, 2015). "Rob Lowe Launching Profile Skin Care Line". WWD. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  34. ^ "Profile 18 Amber Wood: bois d'ambre - Rob Lowe's Perfume & Hair Evolutions are Meshed". March 1, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  35. ^ "ALL THE ROB THAT'S FIT TO ROAST" Retrieved September 6, 2016.
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  37. ^ "KFC Explores The Final Frontier With Colonel Rob Lowe". PR Newswire. April 21, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
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  41. ^ Ogunnaike, Lola (March 19, 2006). "Sex, Lawsuits and Celebrities Caught on Tape". New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Church Chat: Church Lady Spanks Rob Lowe". NBC. 1990-03-17. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
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  44. ^ Lee, Ken (June 19, 2008). "Judge Dismisses Two Claims Against Rob Lowe". People. Retrieved June 19, 2008. 
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  47. ^ "How to Cope With Breast Cancer". CNN. September 15, 2000. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
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  49. ^ Rainey, James (July 7, 2006). "5 Editors, Columnist Quit in Santa Barbara". LA Times. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
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  52. ^ Bollywood/Hockey Drama Break Away stars filming with Lowe, Belle Indie Wire. September 28, 2010
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  56. ^ "On the Trail of Foxhunt". GamePro. No. 87. IDG. December 1995. pp. 38–40. 

External links