THE BLOG
06/16/2011 10:47 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Conversations About My Father: Geraldo Rivera

A few weeks ago I set out to engage people in a conversation about their fathers. Through the experience the depth of emotions provoked in talking about "dad" struck me, and the powerful sentiments stirred by distant memories seemed to surprise even those who were sharing their stories. The discussions were often deeply personal and I am grateful to all of those who shared glimpses of their fathers. I hope you enjoy the collection of stories and that you share your own Father's day story in the comments thread.

Now in his 47th year in television, Geraldo Rivera sat down with me for an emotional interview to talk about his late father. Geraldo remembers his dad as a sweet and kind-hearted man who was a relentless dreamer affectionately called "Papi" by all who knew him. Cruz Allen Rivera was a Puerto Rican immigrant, one of 17 children and the first in his family to come to the United States. Arriving in New York he experienced discrimination, finding most union jobs closed to him before eventually finding work as a cab driver and restaurant worker.

Geraldo says his father inspired his signature mustache. "The first man I ever saw with a Bigote -- I grew one as soon as I was able to." Geraldo's proudest memory with his dad was the year he was named Grand Marshall of the Puerto Rican day parade and describes walking down Fifth Avenue hand-in-hand his with father, wearing top hats and waving to "two million of our closest friends." It was the fulfillment of his dad's immigrant dreams and a moment Rivera says he wishes he could have frozen in time.