Geraldo Rivera

TV host, Investigative reporter, Producer
Passionate, pandering, ambitious or simply self-serving - all have been used at one time or another to describe the controversial career of broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera. Emerging from a legal background and ... Read more »
Born: 07/03/1943 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (79)

20/20 2005 - 2006, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

Empty Nest 1992 - 1994, 1997 - 1998, 2005 - 2006, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

Glee 2015 (Tv Show)

Himself

Men Behaving Badly 1997 - 1998, 2005 - 2006, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

Nash Bridges 1992 - 1994, 1996 - 1998, 2005 - 2006, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

Nurses 1992 - 1994, 1997 - 1998, 2005 - 2006, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 2000s: A New Reality 2014 - 2015 (TV Show)

Interviewee

The Apprentice 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Contestant

The Critic 1993 - 1994, 1997 - 1998, 2005 - 2006, 2014 - 2015 (Tv Show)

Voice

Good Morning America 1975 - 2014 (TV Show)

Actor

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2014 (Tv Show)

Himself

Entertainment Tonight 1981 - 2013 (TV Show)

Actor

All About Steve 2009 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Cheech & Chong Roasted 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

My Name is Earl 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Phineas and Ferb 2009 (Tv Show)

Voice

Grindhouse 2007 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The U.S. vs. John Lennon 2006 (Movie)

(Actor)

VH1 Goes Inside Cops 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Playboy's 50th Anniversary Celebration 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

The Pulse 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Jerry Falwell: Minister of Morals 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Rivera Live 1993 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Geraldo Voyager: The Journey Home 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Justice For All 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

13th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Geraldo Rivera's Sail to the Century I 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Geraldo Rivera's Sail to the Century II 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Geraldo Voyager: On the High Seas 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

LAPD Blues 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Las Vegas -- The American Fantasy 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Nueva America 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Smashed: Kids and Alcohol 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Upfront Tonight 1998 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Women in Prison: Nowhere to Hide 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Back to Bedlam 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Blacks and Blue 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Drug Bust: The Longest War 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Geraldo Rivera 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Primary Colors 1998 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Seinfeld 1998 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Geraldo Rivera Show 1987 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? 1991 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Contact 1997 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Latino Laugh Festival 1995 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Meet Wally Sparks 1997 (Movie)

Special Appearance (Actor)

Talked to Death 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Trial by Television 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook 1996 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Grumpier Old Men 1995 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Latin Nights: An All-Star Celebration 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Talk Back America III 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

In a New Light '93 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Talk Back America II 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Donahue: The 25th Anniversary 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The New Godfathers 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Now It Can Be Told 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Soap Opera Digest Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

What's Poisoning Your Children 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

2 Years... Later 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bonfire of the Vanities 1990 (Movie)

(uncredited) Robert Corso (Actor)

At Rona's 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Candid Camera on Wheels 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Devil Worship: Exposing Satan's Underground 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Modern Love 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Murder: Live From Death Row 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

American Vice: The Doping of America 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Our Kids and the Best of Everything 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Sons of Scarface: The New Mafia 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Whatta Year... 1986 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Salsa 1974 (Movie)

(Actor)

On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

Passionate, pandering, ambitious or simply self-serving - all have been used at one time or another to describe the controversial career of broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera. Emerging from a legal background and Hispanic activism in the late-1960s, the charismatic Rivera began reporting for New York's WABC-TV in 1970, where an investigation into the horrendous conditions at a local institution for the mentally disabled won him a Peabody Award and national attention. Laudable correspondent work for programs like "20/20" (ABC, 1978- ) made him a rising star in the world of television news. When the humiliating failure of his live special "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault" (syndicated, 1986) made him a journalistic punch line, his career seemed all but over. Instead, Rivera embraced the sensationalistic approach more firmly than ever with his tabloid-driven daytime talk show "Geraldo" (syndicated, 1987-1998). Pioneering the realm of "Trash TV," Rivera's salaciously-themed episodes paved the way for the likes of Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer. Later attempts to reestablish himself as a serious journalist with such cable outlets as CNBC and Fox News Channel met with a mix of skepticism and curiosity. Never far from controversy, Rivera continued to raise eyebrows with incidents like his infamous "map in the sand" interview from Iraq, during which he revealed potentially sensitive information about ongoing U.S. Military operations. Boasting a career filled with impressive journalistic highs and embarrassing lows, Rivera defied the expectations of many critics by remaining a consistent media presence for more than four decades.

Relationships

Cruz

Son
born in 1987 born to a woman Rivera was briefly involved with before his marriage to C C Dyer living with mother in Texas in 1997

Linda Coblentz

Wife
first wife met at the University of Arizona married c. 1965, in part to avoid the draft divorced

C Dyer

Wife
fourth wife born c. 1956 together from c. 1980 married in July 1987 publisher of the Two River Times, a local New Jersey weekly newspaper owned by husband worked together on "20/20" separated in September 1999 reconciled six-weeks later in November 1999 separated again in spring 2000 divorced in 2000

Irene Hunt

Sister
born c. 1941

Erica Levy

Wife
fifth wife born c. 1975 works at CNBC married August 10, 2003

Erica Pressman

Companion
worked for Rivera's talk show

Cruz Rivera

Father
Puerto Rican changed first name to Alan when he converted to Judaism married Rivera's mother in 1940 died on Thanksgiving 1987 of a heart attack

Lillian Rivera

Mother
Jewish

Isabella Rivera

Daughter
on born November 7, 1992 mother, C C Dyer

Simone Rivera

Daughter
born in September 1994 mother, C C Dyer

Sherryl Rivera

Wife
third wife married on December 31, 1976 divorced in 1984 had worked with Rivera at ABC-TV mother of his oldest son

Gabriel Rivera

Son
born in July 1979 mother, Sheri Rivera

Craig Rivera

Brother
younger worked with Geraldo on "20/20" also appeared on the syndicated nightly newsmagazine, "Inside Edition"

Wilfredo Rivera

Brother
older a cousin adopted and raised by Rivera's family

Sharon Rivera

Sister
born c. 1947

Edith Vonnegut

Wife
second wife daughter of author Kurt Vonnegut Jr married on December 14, 1971 divorced

EDUCATION

West Babylon High School

Babylon , New York
was a member of the football team

School of Law, University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 1969
was Reginald Heber Smith Fellow

State University of New York Maritime College

Bronx , New York
attended for two years

School of Law, Brooklyn College

Brooklyn , New York 1969

University of Arizona

Tucson , Arizona 1965

New York City Community College of Applied Arts and Sciences

Brooklyn , New York

School of Journalism, Columbia University

New York , New York 1970
graduate of their summer program

Milestones

2005

Began a weekday syndicated show, "Geraldo at Large"

2001

Switched to Fox News Channel in order to travel to Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden; began airing the weekend show "At Large with Geraldo Rivera"

1998

Began contributing reports to NBC's "Today" show

1998

Debuted half-hour nightly newscast "Upfront Tonight" on CNBC (September)

1997

Traded in his syndicated talkshow for a bigger role in the NBC news division, signing a three-year contract worth an estimated $3 million annually; NBC exercised its right to negotiate the deal after Rivera had already accepted an offer to be an anchor on

1997

Appeared as interviewee (along with Phil Donahue, Maury Povich and Morton Downey Jr) on "Talked to Death", an HBO "America Undercover" documentary revealing what goes on backstage at some tabloid TV shows, emphasizing the do-anything-for-ratings mentality

1996

Issued his personal "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" and subsequently steered clear of the most egregiously sleazoid topics, carving out a little piece of high ground as America's investigator

1994

Launched "Rivera Live", a daily primetime show airing on CNBC; got tremendous mileage "worrying the O.J. bone" (an estimated 550 hours); also concentrated on what he called "Zippergate", the investigation of the relationship between US President Bill Clin

1993

Opened the Broadcast Boxing Club, a fitness center in NYC

1992

Played the role of Ted Mayne on the TV-movie, "Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless Romeo" (NBC)

1991

On March 1st, "Geraldo!" began airing in the former USSR via Soviet Channel 2 x 2, making it the first US television program scheduled on a daily basis by Soviet TV

1989

Formed production company, Maravilla Productions, named after the Spanish word for "marvelous"

1988

Rumbled (along with Congress of Racial Equality head Roy Innes) with neo-Nazis, suffering a broken nose from a flying chair; it has remained the single most memorable (infamous) event of his daytime talk show

1987

Formed production company, the Investigative News Group (date approximate)

1986

First of nine syndicated two-hour primetime documentary specials, the mercilessly hyped "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults"; received a phenomenal 31.8 rating but was a monumental bust when the vaults yielded nothing

1985

Fired from ABC for pushing "20/20" to air a story on John and Robert Kennedy's affairs with Marilyn Monroe and complaining bitterly (and publicly lambasting Roone Arledge who had been his biggest supporter) when it did not air; there was also an incident,

1978

Joined the primetime news magazine "20/20" as a correspondent; among storied covered was a return to Willowbrook in 1982

1977

Became a correspondent for ABC News

1975

Began serving as a correspondent for the information series, "Good Morning, America"

1975

Secured the rights for the first television presentation of the Abraham Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F Kennedy on "Good Night, America" America" (ABC)

1972

Took a key given him by an angry doctor and sneaked a camera crew into Building 6, which housed the most severely handicapped patients of the Willowbrook School, a huge facility for the mentally retarded on New York's Staten Island; the footage revealing

1968

Started legal career as a clerk with the Harlem Assertion of Rights Community Action for Legal Services

Hosted and served as managing editor of the daily investigative magazine series, "Now It Can Be Told" (syndicated)

Was a spokesperson for a New York City Latino activist group called the Young Lords

Hosted series of late night TV programs, "Good Night, America" (ABC)

Passed the bar exam for New York state after studying at Brooklyn College

Worked as a reporter for the syndicated nightly program, "Entertainment Tonight"

Hosted daily talk show, "Geraldo!", which became known as "The Geraldo Rivera Show" in September 1996; taped last broadcast in May 1998

Grew up in NYC and West Babylon, Long Island, NY, where both parents were working in the cafeteria of a defense contractor

Worked as a reporter for WABC-TV

Bonus Trivia

.

Through a mistake, his birth name was given as Gerald Riviera. He legally changed his surname in the 1960s when he was beginning his career.

.

Some sources list July 5 as Mr. Rivera's birthdate.

.

Rivera owned the Two Rivers Times newspaper in New Jersey and his wife C C Dyer was the publisher.

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Rivera has received a number of daytime and special category Emmy Awards, the majority of which are regional awards. He has also received two Robert F. Kennedy Awards (1973 and 1975) and two Alfred I du Pont-Columbia University Citations. In addition, the New York State Associated Press named him Broadcaster of the Year in 1971, 1972 and 1974.

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"Jerry Rivers" is less another name Rivera has used than one that has been associated with him. Some have claimed over the years that it is his real name, that he appropriated a more ethnic-sounding name merely to be fashionable. Rivera has always steadfastly stated that his current name is his birth name. His mother's attempts to Americanize it consisted only in dropping the "o" in Geraldo.

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A sampler of criticism of Rivera could include such remarks as the following: "You know sensationalism is back in style . . . when Geraldo Rivera is riding high" (Richard Zoglin, Time); "His narcissism overwhelms his news sense" (Charles Leerhsen, Newsweek); "Geraldo Rivera should be arrested for exposing himself" (Reuven Frank, former president of NBC News) --all quoted in Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1989.

.

Responding to charges that he is sometimes too arrogant, Rivera responded in an interview in PLAYBOY in 1979: "I was definitely arrogant and pushy, but I was other things too . . . arrogance is definitely part of my life. My defense against criticism has always been arrogance. I would always answer my critics by saying, 'What do you know? When was the last time you were in the streets? What have you lived through? What have you seen?'"Rivera has also noted that the criticism he weathers has its good side as well: "I've explained what I do so many times in as public a way as I can that my audience now EXPECTS people to say bad things about me. It keeps me in the position of being almost a perennial underdog." --quoted in Los Angeles Times, March 5, 1989.

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Rivera promised a junior high school class that he would pay for their college education (c. 1987) upon graduation from high school. Five years later he payed for nine of the graduate's college educations (approximately $180,000 annually). He continues to actively encourage children to realize their dreams through education and has remained politically active as an advocate for children's and minority rights.

.

According to his 1991 autobiography, the aptly named "Exposing Myself"--a book he now refers to as "the colossal error of my adult life"--his life up until about 1987 was one long string of romance and debauchery and adventure. His policy, he wrote was to keep "one steady and one on the side," having flings, flirtations or affairs with--he claimed--the likes of Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli and Marian Javits, wife of late New York Sen. Jacob Javits, as well as nameless, and countless, production assistants, Studio 54 habitues, and groupies. Characterizing himself in the book as "a grunting, voracious pig in heat", Rivera bragged in a 1989 Playboy interview of having sex with "thousands of women, literally thousands. It's gaudy." In light of his confessed infidelities, it's little wonder his first three marriages failed.

.

About his monogamous relationship with fourth wife: "I'm a flirt but I'm not a fool. I play to an audience of one. If C C were ever to hear that I betrayed her, she would just say goodbye, and she's too valuable." --Rivera to People, March 17, 1997.

.

"What I really want is to be one of the wise men of my generation. I think I've earned it now. I want to be the Jennings, Brokaw, Rather person for a fourth entitiy, be it Fox or whoever. The old news format is dying. I want to conduct a show that would be rock & roll news for the millenium. And that will be my last job in broadcasting. I want one more hit." --Geraldo Rivera to Rolling Stone, September 18, 1997.

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