Rudy Giuliani, consultant, lawyer, former mayor. Decorated Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; named Person of Year, Time magazine, 2001, Consultant of Year, Consultant magazine, 2002; named one of The 50 Highest-Earning Political Figures, Newsweek, 2010; recipient The Hundred Year Association New York Gold Medal award, 1998, Ronald Reagan Freedom award, 2002.
Former mayor of New York City Rudolph William Louis Giuliani was born on May 28, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York, into a large Italian-American family that consisted mostly of cops and firefighters. "I grew up with uniforms all around me and their stories of heroism," Giuliani remembers. His mother, Helen Giuliani, was a smart and serious woman, and his father, Harold Giuliani, worked for a brother's mob-connected loan sharking business.
AB, Manhattan College, 1965; Juris Doctor magna cum laude, New York University, 1968; Degree (honorary), Loyola College, 2005; Degree (honorary), Middlebury College, 2005; D in Public Administration (honorary), The Citadel, 2007.
In 1977, Giuliani left the U.S. Attorney's Office to spend four years in private practice with the firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler in New York. Then, in 1981, he returned to Washington to serve as President Reagan's Associate Attorney General, the No. 3 position in the Justice Department. Two years later, in 1983, Giuliani was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and began his lifelong fight against the endemic problems of drugs, violence and organized crime in New York City.
During his six years as U.S. Attorney, Giuliani worked tirelessly to jail drug dealers, prosecute white-collar criminals and disrupt organized crime and government corruption. Giuliani's 4,152 convictions (against only 25 reversals) distinguish him as one of the most effective U.S. Attorneys in American history. It was also as a U.S. Attorney that Giuliani began to develop his reputation as something of a publicity seeker, sometimes publicly handcuffing mob bosses and business leaders on trumped up charges only to quietly drop the charges later.
In 1989, Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City as a Republican against Democrat David Dinkins. He lost by a razor-thin margin in one of the closest mayoral elections in New York City history, and Dinkins became the city's first black mayor. Four years later, in 1993, Giuliani again challenged Dinkins. With more than one million New Yorkers on welfare, crime rates skyrocketing and an ever-worsening crack cocaine epidemic plaguing the city, the mild-mannered Dinkins had fallen out of favor and a tough-on-crime prosecutor appeared—to many—to be exactly what the city needed. Giuliani won the election and took office as New York City's 107th mayor on January 1, 1994.
Comparing himself to Winston Churchill leading London through The Blitz of 1940, Giuliani set out to tackle New York's problems with a single-mindedness that bordered on ruthlessness. In his first two years in office, his policies helped reduce serious crime by one-third and cut the city's murder rate in half. Police shootings fell by 40 percent and incidents of violence in city jails, once a seemingly insurmountable problem, virtually disappeared by the end of his first term, dropping by 95 percent. Giuliani's highly successful "welfare-to-work" initiative helped more than 600,000 New Yorkers land employment and achieve self-sufficiency.
Perhaps inevitably for a mayor so determined to fundamentally change the way city politics operated, Giuliani earned nearly as many enemies as admirers. Minority leaders abhorred him for his widespread reliance on racial profiling in law enforcement and liberals criticized his failure to reform the city's troubled public school system. "Civility" campaigns against jaywalking, street vendors and public funding of controversial art likewise provoked some public ire. Although he won reelection by a landslide in 1997, by 2000—as his second term was nearing its end—Giuliani's popularity had fallen off considerably. That same year was he diagnosed with prostate cancer, the disease that had killed his father, and began undergoing treatments that sapped him of his usual vigor.
However, just as Giuliani appeared to be fading into retirement, he was suddenly thrust into the international spotlight by a tragedy that shocked the world and came to define his public career. On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked two commercial passenger airliners and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Both towers collapsed within hours and 2,752 people perished from the attacks. Giuliani's leadership during the city's moment of crisis inspired many.
Arriving on the scene within minutes of the second plane crash, Giuliani coordinated rescue operations that saved as many as 20,000 lives and emerged as the national voice of reassurance and consolation. "Tomorrow New York is going to be here," a somber but resolved Giuliani announced to the city, the nation and the world. "And we're going to rebuild, and we're going to be stronger than we were before... I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can't stop us.
Giuliani has declined to comment publicly on his religious practice and beliefs, although he identifies religion as an important part of his life. When asked if he is a practicing Catholic, Giuliani answered, "My religious affiliation, my religious practices and the degree to which I am a good or not-so-good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests.
Giuliani was originally a Democrat, and supported both John F. Kennedy and George McGovern in their presidential bids. He switched to the Republican Party in 1980 after a short stint as an Independent.
Conservative political pundit George Will wrote that at the end of Giuliani's time as mayor he had run the most conservative government in America in the last 50 or 60 years.
Spouse Regina Peruggi, October 26, 1968 (annulled 1982). Spouse Donna Hanover, April 15, 1984 (divorce July 10, 2002). Spouse Judith Nathan, May 24, 2003.