Grew up in NYC and West Babylon, Long Island, NY, where both parents were working in the cafeteria of a defense contractor
Passed the bar exam for New York state after studying at Brooklyn College
Started legal career as a clerk with the Harlem Assertion of Rights Community Action for Legal Services
Was a spokesperson for a New York City Latino activist group called the Young Lords
Worked as a reporter for WABC-TV
Took a key given him by an angry doctor and sneaked a camera crew into Building 6, which housed the most severely handicapped patients of the Willowbrook School, a huge facility for the mentally retarded on New York's Staten Island; the footage revealing squalor analogous to Auschwitz and the unprecedented time to vent granted him by WABC made Geraldo a local star in NYC
Hosted series of late night TV programs, "Good Night, America" (ABC)
Secured the rights for the first television presentation of the Abraham Zapruder film of the assassination of President John F Kennedy on "Good Night, America" America" (ABC)
Began serving as a correspondent for the information series, "Good Morning, America"
Became a correspondent for ABC News
Joined the primetime news magazine "20/20" as a correspondent; among storied covered was a return to Willowbrook in 1982
Worked as a reporter for the syndicated nightly program, "Entertainment Tonight"
Fired from ABC for pushing "20/20" to air a story on John and Robert Kennedy's affairs with Marilyn Monroe and complaining bitterly (and publicly lambasting Roone Arledge who had been his biggest supporter) when it did not air; there was also an incident, involving his associate producer and future wife C C Dyer getting caught using an ABC messenger to make a marijuana delivery, which added additional fuel to Arledge's ire
First of nine syndicated two-hour primetime documentary specials, the mercilessly hyped "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults"; received a phenomenal 31.8 rating but was a monumental bust when the vaults yielded nothing
Hosted daily talk show, "Geraldo!", which became known as "The Geraldo Rivera Show" in September 1996; taped last broadcast in May 1998
Formed production company, the Investigative News Group (date approximate)
Rumbled (along with Congress of Racial Equality head Roy Innes) with neo-Nazis, suffering a broken nose from a flying chair; it has remained the single most memorable (infamous) event of his daytime talk show
Formed production company, Maravilla Productions, named after the Spanish word for "marvelous"
On March 1st, "Geraldo!" began airing in the former USSR via Soviet Channel 2 x 2, making it the first US television program scheduled on a daily basis by Soviet TV
Hosted and served as managing editor of the daily investigative magazine series, "Now It Can Be Told" (syndicated)
Played the role of Ted Mayne on the TV-movie, "Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless Romeo" (NBC)
Opened the Broadcast Boxing Club, a fitness center in NYC
Launched "Rivera Live", a daily primetime show airing on CNBC; got tremendous mileage "worrying the O.J. bone" (an estimated 550 hours); also concentrated on what he called "Zippergate", the investigation of the relationship between US President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky
Issued his personal "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" and subsequently steered clear of the most egregiously sleazoid topics, carving out a little piece of high ground as America's investigator
Appeared as interviewee (along with Phil Donahue, Maury Povich and Morton Downey Jr) on "Talked to Death", an HBO "America Undercover" documentary revealing what goes on backstage at some tabloid TV shows, emphasizing the do-anything-for-ratings mentality
Traded in his syndicated talkshow for a bigger role in the NBC news division, signing a three-year contract worth an estimated $3 million annually; NBC exercised its right to negotiate the deal after Rivera had already accepted an offer to be an anchor on the Fox News Channel
Began contributing reports to NBC's "Today" show
Debuted half-hour nightly newscast "Upfront Tonight" on CNBC (September)
Switched to Fox News Channel in order to travel to Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden; began airing the weekend show "At Large with Geraldo Rivera"
Began a weekday syndicated show, "Geraldo at Large"