Most Eligible Bachelor: Local Celebrity Johnnie-O on Growing Up on the North Shore

Ladies, there’s a handsome bachelor in town—and Make It Better will help you get him!

We’ve partnered with the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago’s 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens, and the group will be auctioning off a date with John O’Donnell, better known as Johnnie-O, at the Showhouse Preview Party on April 29.

But first, we decided to get to know the 40-something Johnnie—founder of the “West Coast prep” apparel company Johnnie-O, a former competitive golfer and brother of actor Chris O’Donnell.

MIB: Your family is a huge, Irish-Catholic clan—you grew up in Winnetka with six siblings. How many nieces and nephews do you currently have?

JO: 23. I’m close to them, we have amazing relationships—they’re my pseudo-kids.

MIB: Any thoughts of settling down and starting your own family?

JO: If the right situation presented itself, I would welcome the opportunity. But you’re not going to find me on match.com!

MIB: Your company offers clothing and accessories for men, women and children, and celebrities like Adrian Grenier, Luke Wilson and Pete Sampras have been spotted wearing your surfer logo. What does the company do to give back?

JO: We give as much as we can. We've done charity boutiques where we donate 20 to 25% of sales, and we donate our products to charities and events. We’ve supported many organizations, including Autism Speaks, Friends of Golf and The Brees Dream Foundation.

MIB: You’ve been living in L.A. for many years now. Do you get to see your brother Chris a lot?

JO: We see each other frequently, to play golf, and I go over to his house and eat his food. He has a great marriage, 5 beautiful kids under age 11, and a wall-to-wall, 9-to-5 job. His lifestyle is similar to an investment banker dad in Winnetka—only at work, he shoots bad guys and sits in his trailer getting his makeup done.

MIB: Do you miss the North Shore?

JO: Oh, yes. It’s a lot more impersonal here. There are people from all over the world—people who don’t have history with each other. On the North Shore, you’re still friends with people from high school. There’s a security there—you have a lot of people watching your back.

I miss the pace, the hometown feel, familiar faces—the comforts and the memories. People always say, “It must be so much fun in L.A.” And it is. But how much fun can you have? Sooner or later you want to jump off the fun train, and hunker down with friends and family. Not everything is the Sunset Strip.

Interested in attending the Preview Party for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago’s 2011 Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens and bidding on the date with Johnnie-O? Details are at lakeforestshowhouse.com.

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