Mario Matthew Cuomo (pronounced /ˈkwoʊmoʊ/; born June 15, 1932) served as the 52nd Governor of the state of New York from 1983 to 1994, and is the father of Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of New York.
He was born in the New York City borough of Queens to a family of Italian-American origin. His father, Andrea Cuomo, was from Nocera Superiore, Italy, and his mother Immacolata was from Tramonti. The family owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens in New York City. Cuomo attended P.S. 50 and later earned his bachelor's degree in 1953 and law degree in 1956 from St. John's University, graduating first in his class. When he and the salutatorian (the late St. John's Law Dean Patrick Rohan) were summoned to the dean's office (Reverend Joseph T. Tinnelly) at the end of the year, he was asked what field he plans on going into after graduation. Cuomo responded that he would like to be a trial lawyer. Consequently, he was sent to clerk for the Honorable Judge Adrian P. Burke of the New York Court of Appeals. Additionally, he was signed and played baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system until he was injured when a ball hit his head, and subsequently became a scout for the team.
He first became known in New York City in the late 1960s when he represented “The Corona Fighting 69,” a group of 69 homeowners from the Queens neighborhood of Corona, who were threatened with displacement by the city's plan to build a new high school. He later represented another Queens residents group, the Kew Gardens-Forest Hills Committee on Urban Scale, who opposed Samuel LeFrak's housing proposal adjacent to Willow Lake in Queens. In 1972, Cuomo became more well-known across and beyond New York City when Mayor John Lindsay appointed him to conduct an inquiry and mediate a dispute over low income public-housing slated for the upper middle class neighborhood of Forest Hills. Cuomo described his experience in that dispute in the book Forest Hills Diary and the story was retold by sociologist Richard Sennett in The Fall of Public Man.