Geraldo Rivera (born Gerald Michael Riviera; July 4, 1943) is an American attorney, journalist, writer, reporter and former talk show host. He is known to have an affinity for melodramatic, high-profile stories. Rivera hosts the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large, and appears regularly on Fox News Channel.
Rivera was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Lillian (née Lillie Friedman), a waitress, and the late Cruz "Allen" Rivera (October 1, 1915 - November 1987), a restaurant worker and cab driver. Rivera's father was Puerto Rican and his mother is an Ashkenazic Jew, and he was raised "mostly Jewish" and had a Bar Mitzvah. He grew up in Manhattan and West Babylon, New York. His mother inspired him to become a journalist when she signed him up for a journal camp at his high school his sophomore year. He is an alumnus of 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, did postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania that same year, and briefly attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism during the summer of 1970. After a brief career in law enforcement where he served the NYPD as an investigator, he returned to law and became a lawyer for a New York Puerto Rican activist group, the Young Lords and attracted the attention of news producer Al Primo when he was interviewed about the group's occupation of a Spanish 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 New York City 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. It was released in 2007.