Rivera at a Hudson Union Society event, September 23, 2010
|Born||Gerald Michael Riviera
July 4, 1943
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||State University of New York,
University of Arizona
Brooklyn Law School
University of Pennsylvania
|Spouse(s)||Linda Coblentz (1965–1969)
Edith Vonnegut (1971–1975)
Sherryl Raymond (1976–1984)
C.C. Dyer (1987–2000)
Erica Michelle Levy (2003–
Geraldo Rivera (/ / born Gerald Michael Riviera; July 4, 1943) is an American attorney, journalist, author, reporter, and talk show host. Rivera hosts the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large and appears regularly on Fox News Channel. He is also well known from his history as a reporter and TV personality, and as the host of the controversial talk show Geraldo from 1987 to 1998.
Rivera was born at Beth Israel Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Lillian (née Friedman), a waitress, and Cruz "Allen" Rivera (October 1, 1915–November 1987), a restaurant worker and cab driver. Rivera's father was a descendant of Catholic conversos Puerto Rican Sephardic Jews , and his mother is of Ashkenazi Russian Jewish descent. He was raised "mostly Jewish" and had a Bar Mitzvah. He grew up in Brooklyn and West Babylon, New York where he attended West Babylon High School. He has four siblings: Wilfredo, Sharon, Irene, and Craig.
Rivera is an alumnus of the University of Arizona, where he played varsity lacrosse as goalie. From September 1961 to May 1963, he attended the State University of New York Maritime College, where he was a member of the rowing team. He received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1969, and did postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania that same year.
After a brief career in law enforcement, where he served the New York City Police Department as an investigator, Rivera returned to law and became a lawyer for a New York Puerto Rican activist group, the Young Lords, and attracted the attention of WABC-TV news director Al Primo when he was interviewed about the group's occupation of an East Harlem church in 1969. Primo offered Rivera a job as a reporter but was unhappy with the first name "Gerald" (he wanted something more identifiably Latin) so they agreed to go with the pronunciation used by the Puerto Rican side of Rivera's family: Geraldo. He is a member of Tau Delta Phi fraternity.
Geraldo Rivera was hired by WABC-TV in 1970 as a reporter for Eyewitness News. In 1972, he garnered national attention and won a Peabody Award for his report on the neglect and abuse of mentally retarded patients at Staten Island's Willowbrook State School and began to appear on ABC national programs such as 20/20 and Nightline. After John Lennon watched Rivera's report on the patients at Willowbrook, he and Rivera formed a benefit concert called "One to One" (released in 1986 as Live in New York City.) Rivera reported Lennon's murder on Nightline on December 8, 1980. Rivera also appeared in The U.S. vs. John Lennon, a movie about Lennon and Yoko Ono's lives in New York City. The movie was released in 2007.
Around this time, Rivera also began hosting ABC's Good Night America. The show featured the famous refrain from Arlo Guthrie's hit "City Of New Orleans" (written by Steve Goodman) as the theme. A 1975 episode of the program featuring Dick Gregory and Robert J. Groden showed the first national telecast of the historic Zapruder Film.
From 1975 to 1977, Rivera was a correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America. He gave special reports for the show.
After Elvis Presley died in 1977, various media mistakenly reported that he had died from a heart attack. Rivera then investigated Presley's prescription drug records and concluded that he had died from multiple drug intake. His conclusion caused Tennessee medical authorities to later revoke the medical license of Dr. George C. Nichopoulos for overprescribing.
In October 1985, ABC's Roone Arledge refused to air a report done by Sylvia Chase, for 20/20 on the relationship between Marilyn Monroe and John and Robert Kennedy. Rivera publicly criticized Arledge's journalistic integrity, claiming that Arledge's friendship with the Kennedy family (for example, Pierre Salinger, a former Kennedy aide, worked for ABC News at the time) had caused him to spike the story; as a result, Rivera was fired. Sylvia Chase quit 20/20, although she returned to ABC News many years later. The report has never aired.
In April 1986, Rivera hosted the syndicated special The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault, an ill-fated adventure where Rivera excavated what he had been told was the site of Al Capone's buried treasure trove. Rivera broadcast live as the site was excavated, fully expecting to find a store of the former gangster's wealth. The show was heavily advertised, particularly on Chicago's WGN television station. A medical examiner was brought along for the excavation in case any dead bodies were excavated. The show was on air for several hours, displacing regularly scheduled programming, as Rivera's team penetrated the vault he was sure would yield the famed loot. Ultimately, the vault was found to contain a few broken bottles. Rivera held one of these bottles aloft for the camera and excitedly stated that it had once contained "bootleg moonshine gin".
Talk shows and specials
In 1987 Rivera began producing and hosting the daytime talk show Geraldo, which ran for 11 years. The show featured controversial guests and theatricality, which led to the characterization of his show as "Trash TV" by Newsweek and two United States senators. One of the early shows was titled "Men in Lace Panties and the Women Who Love Them." His nose was broken in a well-publicized brawl during a 1988 show, involving white supremacists, antiracist skinheads, black activists, and Jewish activists.
In 1987 he hosted the first of a series of prime-time special reports dealing with an alleged epidemic of Satanic ritual abuse. He stated: "Estimates are that there are over 1 million Satanists in this country.... The majority of them are linked in a highly organized, very secretive network. From small towns to large cities, they have attracted police and FBI attention to their Satanic sexual child abuse, child pornography, and grisly Satanic murders. The odds are that this is happening in your town."
More credible estimates are about 10,000 adult members of religious Satanic churches, temples, and grottos as well as 10,000 solitary practitioners of Satanism; Rivera's claims of ritualistic abuse, conspiracy, and criminal activity remain unsubstantiated.
In 1994 he began hosting nightly discussion of the news on CNBC called Rivera Live while continuing to host Geraldo. The show was portrayed in the final episode of Seinfeld, with Rivera as himself reporting on the lengthy trial of the show's four main characters. In May 1994, he appeared on The Price Is Right.
Later, he would take his talk show in a different direction, moving it from "Trash TV" to a more subdued, serious show, and changed its name from Geraldo to The Geraldo Rivera Show. By this time, however, the show had run its course, and was canceled in 1998.
In 1997 Rivera contracted with NBC to work as a reporter for six years for $30 million, including hosting Rivera Live on CNBC. During 1998 and 1999, he extensively covered the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Fox News to present
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he accepted a pay cut and went to work for the Fox News Channel as a war correspondent in November 2001. Rivera's brother Craig accompanied him as a cameraman on assignments in Afghanistan.
In 2001, during the War in Afghanistan, Rivera was derided for a report in which he claimed to be at the scene of a friendly fire incident; it was later revealed he was actually 300 miles away. Rivera blamed a minor misunderstanding for the discrepancy.
Controversy arose in early 2003, while Rivera was traveling with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. During a Fox News broadcast, Rivera began to disclose an upcoming operation, even going so far as to draw a map in the sand for his audience. The military immediately issued a firm denunciation of his actions, saying it put the operation at risk, and nearly expelled Rivera from Iraq. Two days later, he announced that he would be reporting on the Iraq conflict from Kuwait.
In 2005, Rivera engaged in a feud with The New York Times over their allegations that he pushed aside a member of a rescue team in order to be filmed "assisting" a woman in a wheelchair down some steps in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The ensuing controversy caused Rivera to appear on television and demand a retraction from the Times. He further threatened to sue the paper if one were not provided.
In 2007 Geraldo was involved in a dispute with fellow Fox colleague Michelle Malkin. Malkin announced that she would not return to The O'Reilly Factor, claiming that Fox News had mishandled a dispute over derogatory statements made about her by Geraldo in a Boston Globe interview. Rivera, while objecting to her views on immigration, says, "Michelle Malkin is the most vile, hateful commentator I've ever met in my life. She actually believes that neighbors should start snitching out neighbors, and we should be deporting people." He added, "It's good she's in D.C., and I'm in New York. I'd spit on her if I saw her." Rivera later apologized for his comments.
On January 3, 2012, Rivera began hosting a weekday radio talk show on WABC (AM) in New York. On January 30, 2012, Rivera also began hosting a weekday radio talk show on KABC (AM) in Los Angeles from 10AM to 12PM PST. He fills the 10 a.m. to noon slot between the syndicated Imus in the Morning and Rush Limbaugh programs.
On March 23, 2012, Rivera made controversial comments regarding Trayvon Martin's hoodie and how the hoodie was connected to the shooting death of Martin. He apologized for any offense that he caused with the comments, of which even Rivera's son Gabriel was "ashamed". Some, however, have taken the apology as disingenuous, if even as any kind of apology whatsoever. Among those who did not accept the apology was a longtime friend of Rivera, Russell Simmons. He later apologized to Trayvon Martin's parents as well.
Rivera planned to visit Iraq in April, 2012, for what he promised his wife would be his last (and eleventh) visit. 
He is currently considering a Senate run in New Jersey as a Republican.
Rivera has been married five times and has fathered five children:
- Linda Coblentz (1965–69, divorced)
- Edith Vonnegut (December 14, 1971–75, divorced)
- Sherryl Raymond (December 31, 1976–84, divorced)
son: Gabriel Miguel (born July 1979)
- C.C. (Cynthia Cruickshank) Dyer (July 11, 1987–2000, divorced)
daughters: Isabella Holmes (born 1992) and Simone Cruickshank (born 1994)
- Erica Michelle Levy (since August 2003)
daughter: Solita Liliana (born 2005)
He also fathered Cruz Grant (born 1987) with an unnamed, Mexican American woman.
Rivera is an active sailor. He is owner and skipper of the boat Voyager and sailed in the Marion–Bermuda race (June 2011).
- Rivera, Geraldo (1972). Willowbrook. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-71844-5.
- Rivera, Geraldo (1973). Miguel Robles—so far. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-253900-X.
- Rivera, Geraldo (1977). A Special Kind of Courage: Profiles of young Americans. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-10501-9.
- Rivera, Geraldo (1992). Exposing Myself. London: Bantam. ISBN 0-553-29874-7.
- Rivera, Geraldo (2008). HisPanic: Why Americans fear Hispanics in the U. S. New York: Celebra. ISBN 0-451-22414-0.
- Rivera, Geraldo (2009). The Great Progression: How Hispanics will lead America to a new era of prosperity. New York: New American Library. ISBN 0-451-22881-2.
- "Geraldo Rivera"
- Geraldo Rivera: ‘The Jews Need Me Right Now’. Forward.com (2003-05-23). Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- Urban Legends Reference Pages: Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Rivers. Snopes.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- "Excerpt: "His Panic" – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- Geraldo Rivera Biography (1943–). Filmreference.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- "Excerpt: "His Panic"". ABC News. February 26, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Biography for Geraldo Rivera
- Do the Jews Need Geraldo. Interfaithfamily.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- – Sailing Book (continues). Geraldo.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- Fort Schuyler Maritime Alumni Association. Fsmaa.org. (1998-09-24) Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- Rivera, Geraldo. Museum.tv. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- "Urban Legend about Geraldo Rivera's name being changed from Jerry Rivers". Snopes.com. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Powers, Ron (1977). The Newscasters: The News Business as Show Business. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-312-5707-7 Check
- See also List of Peabody Award winners (1970–1979)#1972
- "TWO DEMOCRATIC SENATORS JOIN BENNETT'S CRUSADE AGAINST `TRASH TV'" (newspaper). Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. December 8, 1995. p. 26. Retrieved March 2, 2009. "Two Democratic senators are joining Friday with William Bennett... to criticize advertisers who support what critics call 'trash TV' talk shows.... In television and radio ads to begin airing Friday, Bennett and Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) urge companies to withdraw advertising dollars from... [shows including] 'Geraldo,'"
- "Geraldo Rivera's Nose Broken In Scuffle on His Talk Show". New York Times. November 04, 1988. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- Geraldo Rivera'S Influence On The Satanic Ritual Abuse And Recovered Memory Hoaxes. Religioustolerance.org. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- "Gun-toting Geraldo under fire for the story that never was", telegraph.co.uk, December 20, 2001
- "Confusion surrounds Rivera's expulsion from Iraq", CNN, April 1, 2003
- Carr, David (April 1, 2003). "A NATION AT WAR: COVERAGE; Pentagon Says Geraldo Rivera Will Be Removed From Iraq". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
- Geraldo Rivera might sue The New York Times – TV Squad. Tvsquad.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- Rivera, Geraldo. "Rivera Takes on Anti-Immigrant Fervor in 'His Panic'". NPR. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- Shanahan, Mark. "Making waves: controversial celebrity newsman Geraldo Rivera", The Boston Globe, September 1, 2007.
- Malkin, Michelle. "Geraldo Rivera unhinged", MichelleMalkin.com, September 1, 2007.
- Geraldo Rivera Gets Talk Deal on WABC Radio Brian Stelter, New York Times, December 11, 2011
- Geraldo Rivera to debut radio talk show on KABC-AM Steve Carney, Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2012
-  Fox News Segment of Geraldo Rivera's Comments Regarding Trayvon Martin's Death
- Lee, MJ (March 23, 2012). "Geraldo Rivera: My own son ashamed of me". Politico. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Wemple, Erik (March 27, 2012). "Geraldo undoes apology!". The Washington Post.
- Simmons, Russell (March 27, 2012). "Geraldo, Your Apology Is Bullsh*t!". Global Grind.
-  Geraldo Rivera's Apology]
- Stetler, Brian (February 4, 2013). "Fox News Monitors Geraldo as He Mulls Political Office". The NY Times.
- McDougal, Dennis (March 5, 1989). "There's a New Geraldo...Sort of : Rivera' still a TV outlaw, but he's moving into new corporate, personal and professional worlds". Los Angeles Times.
- Froelich, Janis D.. (1991-07-15) Geraldo . . . Er, Make That Gerald Rivera's Moms Tell All!. Deseret News. Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- Geraldo, wife overcome fertility foes, have baby. Herald-Journal. November 9, 1992
- 50 Highs and Lows from 40 Years in the News Business. Geraldo.com (2010-09-05). Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
- Media Life – People. Medialifemagazine.com (2005-08-04). Retrieved on 2011-12-17.
-  Geraldo talks Trayvon Martin hoodie,Muslim monitoring and stop and frisk in NYC
- via Associated Press. "Geraldo Rivera sues over housing dispute", USA Today, September 13, 2004. Accessed March 17, 2011. "The Fox News senior correspondent owns two homes in the 26-acre Edgewater Colony, where residents own their homes but share ownership of the land.... 'I intend living here always, hopefully in peace and loving my neighbors.'"
- Cheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking of Living In: Middletown Township, N.J.;A Historic Community on Raritan Bay", The New York Times, December 24, 1995. Accessed May 10, 2007. "The most expensive area is along the Shrewsbury River, where an eight-bedroom colonial on five acres is listed at $5.9 million. Among the residents of that area are Geraldo Rivera, the television personality, and members of the Hovnanian home-building family."
- Official website
- "Geraldo Rivera Official Statement Regarding Embedment Controversy", 4 April 2003 – Rivera tells the story of his Iraq "Map in the Sand" (archive)
- "Pentagon Says Geraldo Rivera Will Be Removed From Iraq" – The New York Times, April 1, 2003
- Geraldo Rivera's Influence on the Satanic Ritual Abuse and Recovered Memory Hoaxes – from religioustolerance.org
- Urban Legend about Geraldo Rivera's name being changed from Jerry Rivers – from snopes.com
- Geraldo Rivera at the Internet Movie Database