Geraldo Rivera

Journalist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Geraldo Rivera talks about how being born half Puerto Rican and half Jewish affected his world view. He speaks of his time at law school and his involvement in The Young Lords, a Latino activist group. He recounts joining WABC's Eyewitness News in New York City, and his relationship with his Columbia University professor Fred Friendly. He speaks in depth about his groundbreaking WABC report on the Willowbrook State School, which led to a major overhaul in how mentally disabled people are cared for in the United States. He remembers his early days of celebrity and associating with the likes of John Lennon, George Harrison, and his then father-in-law Kurt Vonnegut. He chronicles his rise to network news, working on such shows as Good Morning America, The ABC Nightly News, and 20/20. Rivera then recalls his misadventures with The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault and his daytime talk show Geraldo. He describes his time at CNBC on Rivera Live covering the OJ Simpson trial and the Bill Clinton scandal, and outlines his reaction to 9/11 and his decision to become a war correspondent for Fox News. Dr. Ralph Engelman conducted the interview on November 16, 2011 in New York City.

"It still happens often, someone tells me, 'I'm a social worker because of your Willowbrook State School expose.' It's one of the most gratifying aspects of my life. Clearly, institutionalizing people with disabilities only enhanced their disabilities, it didn't alleviate them. It destroyed lives and wasted capital. That's my proudest achievement."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Geraldo Rivera on his Willowbrook Report
Geraldo Rivera on allegations that he staged a military attack in 1973 during the Arab-Israeli War
Geraldo Rivera on airing the Zapruder film on his news series Good Night America
Geraldo Rivera on hosting The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on attending law school
On working in the Manhattan DA's office; on how becoming involved with The Young Lords affected him as a journalist; on how he came to work for WABC Eyewitness News
On his mentor Fred Friendly; on his early WABC Eyewitness News reports; on the concept of WABC Eyewitness News
On early career controversy; on the success of WABC Eyewitness News and his resulting fame; on early resentment toward him and how WABC Eyewitness News changed local news in New York

Chapter 2

Geraldo Rivera on going undercover; on his Willowbrook report; on the then-current state of local news
On his friendship with John Lennon and other celebrities; on how the Willowbrook report affected his career; on going national at ABC News
On his relationship with Roone Arledge; on being a correspondent on 20/20
On hosting The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault; on hosting his daytime talk show Geraldo; on his CNBC show Rivera Live and the OJ Simpson case

Chapter 3

On getting his nose broken on Geraldo; on covering the Bill Clinton scandal; on 9/11 and how he came to work for Fox News
On his reception at Fox News and his time as a war correspondent; on the "friendly fire incident" of December 2001
On the "Iraq map incident"; on hosting Geraldo At Large on Fox News; on reporting the death of Osama bin Laden
On his shifting political views; on career achievements and regrets; on advice to aspiring journalists; on his legacy
Shows

20/20

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Geraldo Rivera on how 20/20 was initially received
Geraldo Rivera on leaving 20/20

Geraldo

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Geraldo Rivera on hosting Geraldo
Topics

9/11

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Geraldo Rivera on 9/11

Bill Clinton

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Geraldo Rivera on covering the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Geraldo Rivera on mentor Fred Friendly, the "architect" of his career

Diversity in Television

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Geraldo Rivera on the concept behind WABC Eyewitness News

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Geraldo Rivera on airing the Zapruder film on his news series Good Night America

Memorable Moments on Television

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Geraldo Rivera on airing the Zapruder film on his news series Good Night America
Geraldo Rivera on hosting The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault
Geraldo Rivera on getting his nose broken on The Geraldo Rivera Show

Television and the Presidency

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Geraldo Rivera on covering the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal

War

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Geraldo Rivera on reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan 

War on Terror

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Geraldo Rivera on reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan 
Professions

Correspondent

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Geraldo Rivera on his early reports on WABC Eyewitness News
Geraldo Rivera on his advice to aspiring journalists

Hosts

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Geraldo Rivera on hosting Geraldo At Large on Fox News
Geraldo Rivera on hosting Geraldo At Large on Fox News

Journalists & News Producers

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Geraldo Rivera on his early reports on WABC Eyewitness News
Geraldo Rivera on his advice to aspiring journalists
Genres

News and Documentary

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Geraldo Rivera on WABC Eyewitness News
Geraldo Rivera on how 20/20 was initially received and his decision to leave the program
Geraldo Rivera on interviewing Michael Jackson on Geraldo At Large
People

Roone Arledge

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Geraldo Rivera on his relationship with Roone Arledge

Bill Clinton

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Geraldo Rivera on covering the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal

Fred Friendly

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Geraldo Rivera on mentor Fred Friendly, the "architect" of his career

Michael Jackson

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Geraldo Rivera on interviewing Michael Jackson on Geraldo At Large

Peter Jennings

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Geraldo Rivera on an incident with Peter Jennings

John Lennon

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Geraldo Rivera on his friendship with John Lennon

Bill O'Reilly

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Geraldo Rivera on his relationship with Bill O'Reilly

O. J. Simpson

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Geraldo Rivera on covering the O.J. Simpson murders

Barbara Walters

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Geraldo Rivera on Barbara Walters

All Interviews

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