Lynne Abraham Has the Constitution of an Ox

Her doctor told her so. Plus, the feisty former district attorney and probable 2015 mayoral candidate talks Frank Rizzo, foreign films, and why exactly she hates exercise.

Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham

My name is … Lynne—that’s L-Y-N-N-E—Abraham. Almost everybody forgets to put the “e” on there.

When people referred to me as the “Deadliest D.A.” … it was a gross oversimplification of my responsibilities. And it was also wrong.


My biggest regret ... is not finding my husband [radio host Frank Ford] sooner. I was 36 when we married, and he was 60. He died in March 2009.

The place in Philadelphia I most like to visit ... is the Art Museum. And the Barnes, which is just sensational.

If you really want to piss me off ... tell me that Philadelphia is a backwater between New York and Washington.

The best thing on TV ...is PBS, Discovery and HBO specials. I don’t watch any commercial TV.

When I was 16 ... I dreamed of being a great surgeon, but I was too poor, and there was gender discrimination. But I was able to cure other ills through the law.

My doctor tells me ... that I have the constitution of an ox.

If you’re pouring me a drink, make sure you ... don’t put any alcohol in it. I’m really boring. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. But I do like candy. Preferably, Lore’s chocolates. Dark. They’re on 7th between Chestnut and Market. I just stocked up.

On Sunday mornings ... I read the New York Times and get a Starbucks cappuccino. I don’t do the crossword. I don’t like to spend my time on things that I don’t do effectively.

Philly’s biggest problem today ...is that it needs new leadership.

The chances of my running for mayor in 2015 ... are looking good. I’m talking to people about it. As far as my desire, I have it.

My secret talent is ... cooking. I like to cook anything. I cook French, Italian, little bit of Chinese. I love it all.

The most famous people I have ever met ... are Margaret Thatcher, President Obama and President Clinton.

Our educational system ... is in very big, deep trouble.

One film I can watch again and again is ... The Seventh Seal, the Ingmar Bergman film. Last Year in Marienbad. Anything done by Jean Gabin. I love films. And the new film Blue Jasmine. I recommend that very, very, very, very highly. Not just good. It’s wonderful. Sensational.

My biggest “aha” moment ... was when I was standing in Shanghai, right after Nixon visited China. I didn’t have a map. I didn’t speak Chinese. And I realized that I was not the center of the universe. Also, I went to South Africa during apartheid. I saw segregation at its rawest.

To stay in shape ... I have anorexia, but it’s in remission. I don’t exercise. I’m opposed to exercise.

People would be surprised to know ... that I love to walk around Philadelphia and take photographs, and I make cards with the photographs. I still write thank-you cards and notes. I don’t send emails. I like to photograph anything that strikes my fancy: architecture, fruits or veggies piled up on a cart, statuary, a church, a shop window. Recently I was in New York, and there were two guys, one dressed in all gold, the other dressed in all silver, and they were sound asleep on the subway platform. I couldn’t resist that shot.

Frank Rizzo was ... right for his time, not right for this city.