Geraldo Rivera

This page was last edited on 18 January 2018, at 04:16.

Geraldo Rivera (born Gerald Michael Rivera, July 4, 1943)[2][3] is an American attorney, reporter, author, and talk show host. He was the host of the talk show Geraldo from 1987 to 1998. Rivera hosted the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large, hosts the occasional broadcast of Geraldo Rivera Reports (in lieu of hosting At Large), and appears regularly on Fox News programs such as The Five.

Geraldo Rivera
Geraldo Rivera at White House (5682334468) (cropped)
Rivera at the White House in 2011
Born Gerald Michael Rivera
July 4, 1943 (age 74)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Residence Edgewater, New Jersey
Alma mater State University of New York Maritime College
University of Arizona
Brooklyn Law School
Occupation Journalist, talk show host, writer, attorney
Years active 1980–present
Organization Fox News Channel
Television Geraldo
Geraldo at Large
The Five
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Linda Coblentz (m. 1965–1969)
Edith Vonnegut (m. 1971–1975)
Sherryl Raymond (m. 1976–1984)
C.C. Dyer (m. 1987–2000)
Erica Michelle Levy (m. 2003)
Children 6
Family Craig Rivera (brother)

Early life

Rivera was born at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, New York, the son of Lillian (née Friedman) and Cruz "Allen" Rivera (October 1, 1915 – November 1987), a restaurant worker and cab driver respectively.[4][5] Rivera's father was a Catholic Puerto Rican,[6] and his mother is of Ashkenazi Russian Jewish descent. He was raised "mostly Jewish" and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.[7][8] He grew up in Brooklyn and West Babylon, New York, where he attended West Babylon High School. Rivera's family was sometimes subjected to prejudice and racism, and took to spelling their surname as "Riviera" because they thought it sounded "less ethnic".[9]

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.[10][11] In 1965, Rivera graduated from the University of Arizona (where he continued his involvement in athletics as a goalie on the lacrosse team) with a B.S. degree in business administration.

Following a series of jobs ranging from clothing salesman to short-order cook, Rivera enrolled at Brooklyn Law School in 1966. As a law student, he held internships with the New York County District Attorney under legendary crime-fighter Frank Hogan and Harlem Assertion of Rights (a community-based provider of legal services) before receiving his J.D. near the top of his class in 1969. He then held a Reginald Heber Smith Fellowship in poverty law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in the summer of 1969 before being admitted to the New York State Bar later that year.[12]

After working with such organizations as the lower Manhattan-based Community Action for Legal Services and the National Lawyers Guild, Rivera became a frequent attorney for the Puerto Rican activist group, the Young Lords, eventually precipitating his entry into private practice.[13][14] This work attracted the attention of WABC-TV news director Al Primo when Rivera 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 Latino) so they agreed to go with the pronunciation used by the Puerto Rican side of Rivera's family: Geraldo.[15] Due to his dearth of journalistic experience, ABC arranged for Rivera to study introductory broadcast journalism under Fred Friendly in the Ford Foundation-funded Summer Program in Journalism for Members of Minority Groups at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1970.[13][16]


Early stages

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[17][18] for his report on the neglect and abuse of patients with intellectual disabilities at Staten Island's Willowbrook State School, and he 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 put on a benefit concert called "One to One" on 30 August 1972 at Madison Square Garden in New York City (which was released posthumously by Yoko Ono in 1986 as Live in New York City).

Geraldo Rivera circa 1970s
Rivera in the mid-1970s

Around this time, Rivera also began hosting (and executive producing) ABC's Good Night America, a late night newsmagazine which aired as part of the ABC's Wide World of Entertainment program block. The show featured the famous refrain from Arlo Guthrie's hit "City of New Orleans" (written by Steve Goodman) as the theme. Good Night America tackled controversial topics of the era, including marijuana usage and the status of Vietnam War draft dodgers. A 1975 episode of the program, featuring Dick Gregory and Robert J. Groden, showed the first national telecast of the historic Zapruder Film.[19]

On May 19, 1983, Rivera broadcast the first U.S. network television mention of AIDS, interviewing on 20/20 New York lighting designer Ken Ramsauer. Ramsauer died aged 27, four days later;[20] Rivera delivered a eulogy at Ramsauer's Central Park memorial service.[21]

In October 1987, 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 his 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. During a Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly aired May 15, 2015, Rivera stated the official reason given for the firing was that he violated ABC policy when he donated $200 to a non-partisan mayoral race candidate.

On April 21, 1986, Rivera hosted The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults. The special broadcast was billed as the unearthing of Capone's secret vaults located under the old Lexington Hotel in Chicago. Millions of people watched the 2-hour show, but all that they uncovered was dirt. Recently, Rivera told the Chicago Tribune, "It was an amazingly high profile program — maybe the highest profile program I've ever been associated with." [22]

Talk shows, specials and guest appearances

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.[23] One early show was titled "Men in Lace Panties and the Women Who Love Them". In another in 1988, Rivera's nose was broken in a well-publicized brawl during a show whose guests included white supremacists, antiracist skinheads, black activist Roy Innis, and Jewish activists.[24]

From 1994 to 2001, Rivera hosted Rivera Live, a CNBC evening news and interview show which aired on weeknights.[25]

Fox News to present

Rivera after delivering the keynote at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 2008 Public Policy Conference

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.[26]

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; Rivera was expelled from Iraq.[27][28] Two days later, he announced that he would be reporting on the Iraq conflict from Kuwait.[29]

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. In the ensuing controversy, Rivera appeared on television and demanded a retraction from the Times. He further threatened to sue the paper if one was not provided.[30]

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 Rivera had made about her in a Boston Globe interview. Rivera, while objecting to her views on immigration, said, "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.[31][32]

In 2008, Rivera's book, titled HisPanic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S., was released.[33]

On January 3, 2012, Rivera began hosting a weekday radio talk show on 77 WABC in New York, N.Y.[34] The show was scheduled in the two hours between Imus in the Morning and The Rush Limbaugh Show on WABC. On January 30, 2012, Rivera also began hosting a weekday show on Talk Radio 790 KABC in Los Angeles.[35]

On March 23, 2012, Rivera made comments regarding Trayvon Martin's hoodie and how the hoodie was connected to Martin's shooting death, repeating them on subsequent occasions.[36] Rivera apologized for any offense that he caused with the comments. His son Gabriel said that he was "ashamed".[37] Some have reportedly taken the apology as disingenuous;[38] among those who did not accept it was Rivera's longtime friend Russell Simmons.[39] He later apologized to Trayvon Martin's parents as well.[40]

Although he considered running as a Republican in the United States Senate special election in New Jersey, 2013 (to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Frank Lautenberg), he eventually decided not to stand for election.[41]


In 2015, Rivera competed on the 14th season of the television series The Celebrity Apprentice, where he ultimately placed second to TV personality Leeza Gibbons. However, Rivera still raised the highest amount of money out of any contestant in the season, with $726,000, $12,000 more than Gibbons.

Rivera hosts the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large and appears regularly on Fox News Channel. He hosts the talk radio show Geraldo Show on WABC 770 AM radio every weekday. On November 13, 2015, Rivera revealed on Fox News that his daughter, Simone Cruickshank, was at the Stade de France when the attacks and explosions occurred; she and her friends made it out alive and would be returning safely home.[42]

Rivera competed on season 22 of Dancing with the Stars, partnered with professional dancer Edyta Śliwińska.[43] On March 28, 2016, Rivera and Śliwińska were the first couple to be eliminated from the competition.[44] On November 29, 2017, Rivera defended Matt Lauer, who had been fired by NBC after inappropriate sexual behavior was alleged, by saying, "News is a flirty business."[45] He later apologized after receiving heavy criticism.[46] Mr. Rivera had previously bragged about initiating multiple incidents of workplace harassment in his book "Exposing Myself." [47]

Personal life

Rivera has been married five times:

  1. Linda Coblentz (1965–69, divorced)
  2. Edith Vonnegut (December 14, 1971–75, divorced)
  3. Sherryl Raymond (December 31, 1976–84, divorced)
    son: Gabriel Miguel (born July 1979)[48][49]
  4. C.C. (Cynthia Cruickshank) Dyer (July 11, 1987 – 2000, divorced)
    daughters: Isabella Holmes (born 1992)[50] and Simone Cruickshank (born 1994)
  5. Erica Michelle Levy (since August 2003)
    daughter: Sol Liliana (born 2005)[51]

Rivera has admitted to having a multi-year affair until 1985 with Marian Javits, wife of New York Senator Jacob K. Javits.[52]

Rivera is a resident of Shaker Heights, Ohio.[53] He previously resided in Middletown Township, New Jersey at Rough Point, an 1895 shingle-style estate.[54]

Rivera is an active sailor. As owner and skipper of the sailing vessel Voyager, he has participated in the Marion–Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race in 1985, 2005, 2011, and 2013. In 2013, his vessel finished in 12th place out of 34 finishers.[55] He also sailed Voyager 1,400 miles up the Amazon river and around the world, going so far as to meet the King of Tonga on the international dateline in time for the new millennium. The adventures were chronicled in six one-hour long specials on The Travel Channel,[56] and some of this footage remains available on his website.[57]


  • Rivera, Geraldo (1972). Willowbrook: A report on how it is and why it doesn't have to be that way. 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 (1973). Puerto Rico: Island of Contrasts, pictures by William Negron. Parents Magazine Press. ISBN 0-8193-0683-5.
  • 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.

See also


  1. ^ "Geraldo Rivera: 'The Jews Need Me Right Now' –". 2003-05-23. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  2. ^ "Geraldo Rivera Biography". Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  3. ^ "Geraldo Rivera Was Born 'Jerry Rivers'?". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  4. ^ "Excerpt: "His Panic" – ABC News". February 26, 2008. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  5. ^ "Geraldo Rivera Biography (1943-)". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  6. ^ "Excerpt: "His Panic"". ABC News. February 26, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Biography for Geraldo Rivera". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  8. ^ Miller, Gerri. "InterfaithFamily". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  9. ^ Wood, Jamie Martinez (2007). Latino Writers and Journalists. New York, NY: Facts on File, Inc. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-8160-6422-9.
  10. ^ – Sailing Book (continues) Archived March 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Fort Schuyler Maritime Alumni Association Archived August 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. (September 24, 1998) Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ a b "Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans". Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  14. ^ Bloom, Joshua; Martin, Waldo E., Jr. (January 2013). Black against Empire. University of California Press. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-520-27185-2.
  15. ^ "Urban Legend about Geraldo Rivera's name being changed from Jerry Rivers". Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  16. ^ "Pulitzer's School". Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  17. ^ Powers, Ron (1977). The Newscasters: The News Business as Show Business. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 185. ISBN 0312572085.
  18. ^ See also List of Peabody Award winners (1970–79)#1972
  19. ^ Ron Rosenbaum (September 2013). "What Does the Zapruder Film Really Tell Us?". Smithsonian. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  20. ^ David France (December 1, 2016). How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-5098-3941-4.
  21. ^ Lindsey Gruson (June 14, 1983). "1,500 attend Central Park memorial service for AIDS victim". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  22. ^ Kori Rumore (April 22, 2016). "For its 30th anniversary, we watched Al Capone's Vaults with Geraldo Rivera so you didn't have to". Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  23. ^ "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,'
  24. ^ "Geraldo Rivera's Nose Broken In Scuffle on His Talk Show". New York Times. November 4, 1988. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  25. ^ Beatty, Sally (November 2, 2001). "Geraldo Rivera to Leave CNBC For Fox and, Then, to Cover War". Wall Street Journal. New York, NY.
  26. ^ "Gun-toting Geraldo under fire for the story that never was", The Daily Telegraph, December 20, 2001
  27. ^ Plante, Chris (March 31, 2003). "Military kicks Geraldo out of Iraq". CNN. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "Geraldo Rivera apologizes for breaking reporting rules in Iraq". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  30. ^ "Geraldo Rivera might sue The New York Times". TV Squad. September 7, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  31. ^ Shanahan, Mark. "Making waves: controversial celebrity newsman Geraldo Rivera", The Boston Globe, September 1, 2007.
  32. ^ Malkin, Michelle. "Geraldo Rivera unhinged",, September 1, 2007.
  33. ^ Rivera, Geraldo. "Rivera Takes on Anti-Immigrant Fervor in 'His Panic'". NPR. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  34. ^ Brian Stelter (December 11, 2011). "Geraldo Rivera Gets Talk Deal on WABC Radio". The New York Times.
  35. ^ Steve Carney (January 20, 2012). "Geraldo Rivera to debut radio talk show on KABC-AM". Los Angeles Times.
  36. ^ Fox News Segment of Geraldo Rivera's Comments Regarding Trayvon Martin's Death on YouTube
  37. ^ Lee, MJ (March 23, 2012). "Geraldo Rivera: My own son ashamed of me". Politico. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  38. ^ Wemple, Erik (March 27, 2012). "Geraldo undoes apology!". The Washington Post.
  39. ^ Simmons, Russell (March 27, 2012). "Geraldo, Your Apology Is Bullsh*t!". Global Grind.
  40. ^ Geraldo Rivera's Apology on YouTube
  41. ^ Stetler, Brian (February 4, 2013). "Fox News Monitors Geraldo as He Mulls Political Office". The NY Times.
  42. ^ Adams, T. Becket (November 13, 2015). "Geraldo Rivera's daughter in Paris during terror attack". Washington Examiner. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  43. ^ "'Dancing With the Stars' 2016: Season 22 Celebrity Cast Revealed Live on 'GMA'". ABC News. March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  44. ^ "'Dancing with the Stars' Recap: Latin Night and the First Elimination". Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  45. ^ Corriston, Michele (November 29, 2017). "Geraldo Rivera Defends Matt Lauer: 'News Is a Flirty Business'". People. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  46. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (November 29, 2017). "Geraldo Rivera Apologizes For Matt Lauer Comments; Fox News "Troubled" By Tweets". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  47. ^
  48. ^ 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.
  49. ^ Froelich, Janis D.. (July 15, 1991) Geraldo... Er, Make That Gerald Rivera's Moms Tell All!. Deseret News. Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  50. ^ Geraldo, wife overcome fertility foes, have baby. Herald-Journal. November 9, 1992
  51. ^ 50 Highs and Lows from 40 Years in the News Business Archived January 24, 2013, at (September 5, 2010). Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  52. ^ Maier, Thomas (2010-08-03). Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465020409.
  53. ^ 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.'"
  54. ^ 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."
  55. ^ "Finish Line Order" (PDF). 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  56. ^ "IMDB Sail To The Century".
  57. ^ "Geraldo Rivera: Sail To The Century".

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