John Dukakis

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John Dukakis
John Chaffetz

(1958-06-09) June 9, 1958 (age 61)
Alma materBrown University
OccupationActor, music executive
Lisa (m. 1988)
Parent(s)Kitty Dukakis
John Chaffetz (biological father)
Michael Dukakis (adoptive father)
RelativesJason Chaffetz (half-brother)

John Dukakis (né Chaffetz; born June 9, 1958) is an American entertainer, music executive, and political aide.

Early life[edit]

Dukakis was born John Chaffetz in San Jose, California but reared in the Boston area. He is the son of Kitty Dukakis and John Chaffetz, a businessman,[1] and the adopted son of former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, whom his mother married when he was five.[2] His half-brother, through his biological father, is Jason Chaffetz, who was the U.S. Representative (R) for Utah's 3rd district from 2009 to 2017.[3]

Acting career[edit]

While attending Brown University in the 1970s, Dukakis was cast in Universal's Jaws 2. He relocated to Hollywood and continued to work as an actor for the next 6 years. He had substantial roles in the films Making Love, Delusion and Split Image and on television in Family Ties, Little House on the Prairie, Taxi and the Jim Jones docudrama, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. He finished his career in New York working on the Broadway and Off-Broadway stage.

Political career[edit]

After retiring from acting, he secured a job in Washington, D.C., as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator John F. Kerry in Kerry's first two years in office. In 1987, when Michael Dukakis announced his intention to run for President of the United States, John left Washington and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to run the Southern campaign for the months prior to the Super Tuesday primaries. Later, as the Democratic National Political Director, he campaigned nationally on behalf of the unsuccessful Dukakis–Bentsen ticket.

Music industry[edit]

With the 1988 campaign over, John began work with an attorney in Boston named Bob Woolf who had built a significant international practice representing professional athletes. John ran the music business management department and spent most of his time on a developing local act: New Kids on the Block. Within several years the company grew and he was sent to Los Angeles to open an office there with an emphasis on working with other established and developing acts. When he left the company in 1992, the company was also working with Boyz II Men and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

Dukakis left Bob Woolf to become the general manager of Paisley Park Records, a joint venture between the artist Prince and Warner Bros. Records. During his tenure, the company released a Prince album as well as projects from George Clinton and Mavis Staples.

In 1994, he formed a new venture with his partner, Qadree El-Amin. Southpaw Entertainment was a full service management company. In its early years it primarily focused on the management of Boyz II Men. But after the record-setting success of the 12X platinum "II" album, the company took on new clients. Over the years, Southpaw also handled the careers of Janet Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Brownstone and Blackstreet.

In early 2002, Dukakis left Southpaw to take a position as an Executive Vice President of Overbrook Music, a music label as well as a full service management company owned and operated by Will Smith and his partner, James Lassiter. The company released the multi-platinum-certified soundtrack for the film Wild Wild West as well as the gold-certified soundtrack for the film Love & Basketball. In addition to Will, the company also manages Christina Vidal (MCA Records, Nickelodeon's Taina), Jordan Knight (Interscope Records), Deborah Cox (J Records), singer/songwriter Javier (Capitol Records), Singer/songwriter Maria (DreamWorks Records) and Samantha Mumba (Polydor/Interscope records.

In December 2007, Dukakis returned to Boston to serve as Senior Vice President heading up Hill Holliday's emerging branded-entertainment division.

Personal life[edit]

Dukakis lives in Newton, Massachusetts. He has been married to his wife, Lisa, since 1988. He has one daughter, Alexandra Jane Dukakis.


(1979) - Taxi (episode 1, Goodwin, brief appearance)


  1. ^ Ari L. Goldman (August 18, 1988). "In Dual-Faith Families Children Sturggle [sic] For a Spiritual Home". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Goldie Blumenstyk (July 5, 1987). "Dukakis Reminds Some Of A Democrat Named Kennedy". Orlando Sentinel.
  3. ^ Lee Davidson (December 22, 2009). "Congressman Jason Chaffetz, family differ on gay marriage". Deseret News.

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