Born Oct. 26, 1932 in New Rochelle, N.Y. Parents owned a small book publishing company. Grew grew up in affluent Westchester County suburbs of New York City. Parents were Eastern liberal Republicans. Attended prestigious Phillips (Andover) Academy in Andover, Mass.; earned degrees from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He is Jewish.
Moved to Beverly Hills after graduating law school in 1957 to join his cousin's entertainment law firm. Practiced law for two years. Worked for then-Assemblyman Tom Rees (D-Los Angeles). Spent 1 1/2 years as an attorney for State Compensation Insurance Fund.
Cites a speech by the late Rep. Helen Gahagan Douglas, who once represented much of his current 23rd District, on plight of migrant workers as inspiration to enter politics. First elected in heavily Jewish and liberal Democratic Westside district in state Assembly in 1962, succeeding Rees. Elected to state Senate in 1966. Authored more than 200 state laws, including first liberalization of California's abortion law in a century, comprehensive family planning program and major consumer legislation. Named "best all around senator" by Capitol press corps and "most effective senator" by Senate colleagues. Defeated five others to win first House term in 1976 when Rees retired. Selected to serve on the strategic House Rules Committee in 1979. Chaired a Rules Committee task force seeking to improve budget process in 1982-84. Named to Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the CIA and other government intelligence agencies, in 1984. Easily thwarted well-financed GOP challenges in 1982 and 1986 after district lines were redrawn to give him more of conservative San Fernando Valley. Backed Rep. Richard Gephardt's unsuccessful Democratic presidential bid this year.
Married to the former Dolores Martin, an ex-elementary school teacher, for 28 years. An active participant in his political career, she is also co-chairwoman of Congressional Wives for Soviet Jews and head of orientation program for wives of freshmen Congress members. Couple has three children and a grandchild. Peter, 28, is a resident physician, Dayna, 27, an aspiring actress, choreographer and dance therapist and Adam, 25, runs a sound recording studio. Beilenson resides in a four-bedroom California-style home in Chevy Chase, Md. and stays in rented Tarzana apartment occupied by Adam when in the district. Hikes and camps in national parks with Dolores. Photographs of flowers from his garden adorn Washington office. An avid reader.