In his autobiography, he revealed his affairs with Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Judy Collins, Chris Evert, Margaret Trudeau, Marion Javits, and at least 1000 other women. He first made a name for himself as a lawyer defending Harlems's largely Hispanic Young Lords gang. His brother is newscaster Craig Rivera, who previously gained experience as Geraldo's producer at ABC News.
Exposed deplorable conditions in "Willowbrook State School", an institution for people with developmental disabilities, in early 1972. Publicity from the class-action lawsuit against the state of New York that soon followed was a major contributing factor in the passing of a federal law called "Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980."
The fictional news anchorman character Hector Ramirez which appeared in several popular cartoon series during the 1980s ("G.I. Joe" (1985), "Transformers" (1984), "Jem" (1985) and "InHumanoids" (1986), all produced by Marvel-Sunbow Production) was a parody of Rivera.
His most famous program was The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults (1986) (TV) that aired in April 1986. When Chicago's Lexington Hotel was being demolished, a sealed vault was discovered. Rivera hosted the live program that was going to climax with the opening of the vault, supposedly revealing Al Capone's treasure or a more gruesome find. The biggest find was an empty whiskey bottle. The hype generated a record rating of 57 with an estimated audience of 30,000,000. The term "Al Capone's Vault" has come to mean any overhyped event that leads to nothing.
His mom, Lilian Friedman, is a Jewish American of Jewish-Russian ancestry; and was born in New Jersey. His dad, Cruz "Allen" Rivera, was a Puerto Rican of Spanish ancestry and raised Roman Catholic. Lilian and Cruz moved to Florida, where Cruz had a fatal heart attack on Thanksgiving Day of 1987 and (as Geraldo mentioned in light of the British Petrolum disaster) where his ashes were scattered. The widowed Lillian Rivera still lives in Florida, and is close to her children; whom she raised Jewish. She appeared with Craig on one episode of 'Geraldo at Large' from Florida, via satellite. Meanwhile, Geraldo named his youngest son, Cruz, in honor of his dad and his youngest child, Solita Liliana, in honor of his Judaism and his mother.
His ex-wife, Edie Vonnegut, is Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s daughter. His autobiography, written in 1991, is "Exposing Myself".
Children: Isabella Holmes (b. 7 November 1992) and Simone Cruickshank (b. September 1994) by C. C. Dyer; Gabriel Miguel (b. 2 July 1979) by Sherryl Raymond; Cruz (b. 1987) by a previous relationship; Solita Liliana (b. August 2005) by Erica Levy.
Joined Fox News Channel in November 2001 as a war correspondent.
Geraldo Rivera and Erica Levy welcomed their daughter, Solita Liliana, on August 2, 2005. He was 62, and she was 30 at the time of Sol's birth. This was his fifth child and third daughter, while it was her first and only child. He has also since said that after having five children, he's "done" .
He underwent knee replacement surgery on his left knee on September 28, 2009. He also underwent back surgery after a trip to Afghanistan, and was off work for two weeks.
His son Gabe Rivera married Dr. Deborah Rish in May 2009. Thus, Gabe is the son-in-law of one of the doctors who investigated Michael Jackson in Jackson's 1993 criminal case.