Geraldo Rivera is a well-known, former American television host.

Born on July 4, 1943 in New York City, he was born Gerald Rivera and raised in the Jewish faith of his mother even though his father was Puerto Rican.

Rivera played goaltender for the lacrosse team at the University of Arizona but moved onto the Brooklyn Law School where he obtained his law degree (J.D.) in 1969 and called to the New York Bar Association in 1970. One of his school projects was student-at-law with the anti-poverty neighborhood law firms Harlem Assertion of Rights and Community Action for Legal Services, New York City, from 1968 to his call to the bar.

He then toyed with post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania before becoming a junior investigator with the New York Police Department.

Geraldo RiveraBut he was interested in the activist Puerto Rican independence and became the staff lawyer for the New York-based nationalist group, the Young Lords.

His big break came when WABC-TV offered him a job as a reporter. Gerald changed his given name to Geraldo and his investigative stories began to garner attention nationwide. Soon, ABC was auditioning him for national news shows such as 20/20 and Nightline and he was an original cast member of ABC's Good Morning America.

In 1977, while hosting his own national show, ABC's Good Night America, he produced The Elvis Coverup and broke the story, shortly after Elvis' death in 1977, that Elvis died not from a heart attack but from a prescription drug overdose.

He quit ABC in a public spat with another journalist, he quit and organized a TV special, the opening of the alleged treasure vault of the famed gangster Al Capone. Millions watched as Rivera inched into the vault, ultimately to find no treasure. It was an empty stunt but one that captivated millions of Americans.

Geraldo Rivera used the Capone show as a springboard to launch Geraldo, a daytime shock and talk show, now much copied. In one November, 1988 episode, his nose was broken on live television as a fracas broke out between black and Jewish activists and white supremacists.

He won three national Emmy Awards for his work and even a Peabody Award, a prestigious international award for broadcasting excellence. His work broadcasting the OJ Simpson trial brought a record number of viewers. He has interviewed Fidel Castro, Charles Manson and Michael Jackson.

But, eventually, viewers tired of his showmanship.

He tried to revive his image from trash talk to serious investigative TV by repackaging his show and renaming it The Geraldo Riviera Show but it was ultimately cancelled in 1998.

By 2001, he returned to field journalism and was assigned to Afghanistan as a war correspondent for Fox News but controversy followed him. On one live report, he errantly showed his viewers - and the enemy - a map of an upcoming operation, drawing the ire of the US Army.

Returned to the United States, he was involved in another live dust-up on a cable news show called the O'Reilly Factor.

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