Born in New York City, Rosenthal attended public schools (including Stuyvesant High School), Long Island University, and City College.
In 1983. He served in the United States Army from 1943-1946, and received his Bachelor of Laws from Brooklyn Law School (1949) as well as an Master of Laws from New York University, 1952. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1949 and commenced practice in New York City. Rosenthal was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-seventh United States Congress, filling the vacancy caused by the resignation of Representative Lester Holtzman.
Taking office on February 20, 1962, he was re-elected that fall, and then again to ten succeeding Congresses.
On May 17, 1962, Rosenthal read a statement into the Congressional Record praising the magazine Mad on its tenth anniversary. (Rosenthal"s district, New York-8, included the part of Manhattan where Mad"s offices were) "Mad Magazine..for the last 10 years has humorously pointed out the laughable foibles of business, labor, advertising, television, sports and entertainment – to say nothing of politics," Rosenthal said.
Benjamin South. Rosenthal"s Papers are held at Queens College"s Benjamin Rosenthal Library, Department of Special Collections and Archives. Rosenthal was re-elected again in 1982, but died of cancer in Washington, District of Columbia on January 4, 1983, just one day after the 98th United States Congress met for the first time.
On March 1, Gary Ackerman was elected to the seat and held it through 2013.
Served with Army of the United States, 1943-1946. Member American, New York State, Queens County bar associations Democrat-Liberal.
Married Lila Moskowitz, December 23, 1950. Children: Debra, Edward.