Emmy-Winner Rivera to Resign as ABC Investigative Reporter

Times Staff Writer

Geraldo Rivera, 42, the fiery New Yorker who in 15 years went from storefront lawyer to ace investigative reporter for ABC News, has told the network he is resigning in November to “pursue other opportunities,” ABC News said Tuesday.

A spokeswoman, Carol Olwert, said ABC News had “no reason to believe” that Rivera was quitting because of a decision last week by ABC News President Roone Arledge to cancel a story on ABC’s “20/20" news magazine. The story probed purported affairs between actress Marilyn Monroe and President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy.

Rivera is a “20/20" correspondent but did not work on that story. He has been publicly critical of Arledge’s decision. Arledge, who has been both a champion and defender of Rivera, has said he thought the story needed more work.


‘A Square Peg’

Rivera, known for his intensely personal reporting style, told the Associated Press in New York that he considered himself “a square peg trying to fit in the round hole of network news, and lately the friction has been killing me.”

He said Arledge’s cancellation of the Monroe story accelerated his decision to leave, but “I have no bitterness to Arledge. He gave me my big break.”

In a prepared statement, ABC said that “although we sincerely regret” Rivera’s decision, “ABC did not wish to stand in the way of his future plans. We wish him well in his endeavors, including the possibility of future work for ABC News on a free-lance basis.”

Represented the Poor

Rivera has won six local and national Emmy awards. Originally a lawyer who represented poor people on New York’s Lower East Side, he began his news career in 1970 with the “Eyewitness News” broadcasts of ABC-owned WABC-TV in New York. He joined ABC News in 1977.

He told the AP that after a vacation next month, he may consider other jobs in TV news: “After 2,000 stories and 15 years, I need to think what to do with the rest of my life. After a certain age, a kid grows up and he has to leave.”