|Known for||Founder of the Guardian Angels; radio host, politician and media personality|
(m. 1981; div. 1995)
(m. 2000; div. 2012)
Sliwa was born into a Catholic family of Polish and Italian descent, in Canarsie, Brooklyn. He has two sisters. He attended Brooklyn Prep, a Jesuit high school from which he was later expelled, and graduated from Canarsie High School, a Brooklyn, New York City public high school. In his youth, he worked as a delivery boy for the New York Daily News, where he was awarded the title of "Newsboy of the Year" and a trip to the White House after he saved several people from a burning building while on a paper route.
In May 1977, Sliwa created the "Magnificent 13", a group dedicated to combating violence and crime on the New York City Subway. At the time, the city was experiencing a crime wave. The Magnificent 13 grew and was renamed the Guardian Angels in 1979. The group's actions drew strong reactions, both positive and negative. Membership of the Guardian Angels showed 80 percent of them were either black or Hispanic in ethnic origin. Unarmed, the group required training in karate and fulfillment of legal requirements for citizens' arrest for all members before they were to be deployed.
Mayor Ed Koch, a critic of Sliwa and of the organization, launched an investigation into the Guardian Angels, which according to The Washington Post, proved "so positive that the Guardian Angels will soon be awarded some sort of official status." Then-Lieutenant Governor Mario Cuomo was a rare early advocate of the organization, being quoted saying "[t]hey are a better expression of morality than our city deserves".
In the early 1980s, he expanded operations to Buffalo, and was often critical of local police policies and practices. One incident involved Guardian Angels member Frank Melvin, who was fatally shot by a Newark police officer in December 1981 after an officer mistook his unzipping of his jacket, done to display his Guardian Angels emblem, as a threat. Sliwa claimed the killing was racially motivated, with Melvin having been a black man. He also contended that the officer faulted for shooting Melvin, a Hispanic man, didn't kill him and that the true officer, who Sliwa and the Guardian Angels claimed was a white officer also present at the time, was being protected by the department. An Essex County grand jury cleared both officers of charges related to Melvin's death.
On June 19, 1992, Sliwa was kidnapped and shot by two gunmen after entering a stolen taxi in Manhattan. The taxi picked up Sliwa near his home in the East Village, and a gunman hiding in the front passenger seat jumped up and fired several shots, hitting him in the groin and legs. The kidnapping was foiled when Sliwa leapt from a front window of the moving cab and escaped. Sliwa underwent surgery for internal injuries and leg wounds.
Federal prosecutors eventually charged John A. Gotti, the son of Gambino crime family leader John Gotti, with the attempted murder and a raft of other charges. Prosecutors claimed that Gotti was angered by remarks Sliwa had made on his radio program about Gotti's father. However, after three attempts to try him, the last on September 20, 2005, three separate juries were unable to agree to convict Gotti on all of the charges brought against him, and the charges were dropped. Jurors later told reporters they did believe he had a role in Sliwa's shooting. Prosecutors declined to re-try Gotti and dismissed the charges against him. Sliwa said he would seek damages in civil court.
Michael Yannotti, a Gotti associate, was also charged with shooting Sliwa in the incident but was acquitted. Yannotti, however, was sentenced to 20 years on an unrelated racketeering charge. Still, Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin said evidence suggested Yannotti was the shooter.
Sliwa has been a radio broadcaster for three decades, most of that time on WABC-AM, where he began his career in 1990. In 1994, the then city-owned and operated WNYC hired Sliwa, who had been released by WABC. Some, including Sliwa, have suggested that he was given access to the station by newly-elected Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom he had supported in the 1993 mayoral race.
Sliwa has become a populist conservative radio talk show host. Since 1996 he has hosted various radio programs on WABC, and in 2000, he became the co-host, with attorney Ron Kuby, of the long-running Curtis and Kuby in the Morning. The show lasted eight years before Citadel Broadcasting replaced the team with Don Imus. His longtime broadcast partner was lawyer Ron Kuby, with whom he had multiple times hosted in the past "Curtis & Kuby" weekday radio show at noon, on WABC-AM in New York City. Starting in June 2017, Sliwa's co-host was attorney and television commentator, Eboni Williams.
The Curtis Sliwa LIVE program began national syndication on December 1, 2008. WABC retained Sliwa until November 2009, when his show was cancelled after a contract dispute. He hosted both the morning and evening "drive time" shows on WNYM-AM 970, but as of January 2, 2014, Sliwa returned to WABC, replacing Rush Limbaugh who moved to WOR-AM. Prior to his mayoral campaign, a Bronx lawyer lobbed a complaint against Sliwa, alleging he was promoting his mayoral candidacy on his show, which would violate campaign laws. Sliwa said he was considering quitting his show, but would only make a decision after he garnered enough signatures to appear on the ballot for the Republican primaries. After officially declaring his candidacy in March 2021, Sliwa's radio program went on hiatus.
2021 NYC Mayoral campaign
Sliwa announced on March 8, 2020, that he would be running for mayor of New York City in 2021 as a Republican, seeking to become the 110th mayor of New York City. He was endorsed by the Staten Island and Brooklyn Republican parties. Billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, who had earlier mulled a mayoral run, endorsed Sliwa.
Sliwa has been married four times. He wed his second wife, Lisa Evers, in 1981. At the time, she was National Director of the Guardian Angels and co-hosted a WABC-AM radio show called Angels in the Morning. She is also a martial arts expert who briefly trained with the World Wrestling Federation in 1986.
In 2000, Sliwa married his third wife, Mary Galda, a former WABC employee who also served as the Guardian Angels' national director. They have one son, Anthony Chester. In 2018 Curtis married long time girlfriend Nancy Regula, an attorney and animal advocate, and the two reside on the Upper West Side with their rescue cats. Sliwa was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, which he announced publicly on April 20, 2011.
- Witchel, Alex (November 12, 1992). "BACK ON THE STREET WITH: Curtis Sliwa; Not Invincible, but Standing Fast". The New York Times.
- Couric, Katie (December 18, 2005). "Aleta St. James' journey to motherhood". NBC News.
- "Brooklyn's Favorite Crime-fighter, Curtis Sliwa, Is Honored by Local Politicians" (PDF). Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 6, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 20, 2010.
- Witchel, Alex (November 12, 1992). "Back on the Street With: Curtis Sliwa; Not Invincible, but Standing Fast". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- "Guardian Angel founder ambushed in cab". Tampa Bay Times. June 20, 1992. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- Hester, Jere (August 14, 2017). "The early history of the Guardian Angels and their controversial New York City subway patrols". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- "Curtis Sliwa, CEO and Founder". Guardian Angels. Archived from the original on September 5, 2007. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- "25 Years Later, How The Magnificent 13 Became The Guardian Angels". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- Hester, Jere (November 9, 1998). "Either Right Or Wrong Angels On Patrol, 1980". Daily News. New York. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
- Robbins, William (August 7, 1981). "Effectiveness of Guardian Angels called uncertain". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- Wadler, Joyce (April 14, 1981). "'Guardian Angels': Different Gang". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- "James Cunningham, Buffalo Police Commissioner, Dies". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 22, 1984.
- Norman, Michael (January 1, 1982). "Guardian Angel is killed by an officer in Newark". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- Fowler, Glenn (January 2, 1982). "Death of 'Angel' will be studied by a prosecutor". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- Narvaez, Alfonso A. (February 5, 1982). "Officers cleared by a grand jury in 'Angels' case". The New York Times. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- Bennet, James (June 21, 1992). "Koch Visits Sliwa as Investigation Fails to Yield Shooting Suspect". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
- Neumeister, Larry (September 28, 2006). "3rd Gotti Jr. Trial Ends in Mistrial". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
- Feuer, Allan (October 20, 2006). "No Fourth Trial for Gotti, Prosecutors Say". The New York Times. Retrieved July 10, 2007.
- Zambito, Thomas (November 14, 2006). "Mob Goon's 20 Yrs. Moves Sliwa to Tears". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on December 1, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
- Campanile, Carl (December 25, 2004). "'LITTLE NICKY' IS EYED IN GOTTI HITS". New York Post. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- Collins, Glenn (July 17, 2006). "WNYC's Planned Move Will Finish Its Breakup With the City". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Martin, Douglas (February 9, 1994). "City Radio Gives a Host's Job to Sliwa". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Nossiter, Adam (April 13, 1996). "Gunman's Tale of Fear, Hatred and Drugs". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Hinckley, David (November 28, 2007). "Curtis & Kuby will 'go out with their heads high'". Daily News. New York.
- Sisario, Ben (January 2, 2014). "Talk Radio on WABC Shifts Focus to the Local". The New York Times.
- "Eboni Williams To Co-Host With Curtis Sliwa". Radio Ink. June 7, 2017.
- "ABC Radio Networks Launches Curtis Sliwa LIVE" (PDF). ABC Radio Networks. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- "Curtis Sliwa is leaving WABC 770 AM". Daily News. New York. November 24, 2009.
- "A big 'Apple' welcome for Sliwa". Daily News. New York. December 7, 2009.
- "The EIB Network Welcomes New Affiliates". RushLimbaugh.com. January 2, 2014.
- Campanile, Carl (February 25, 2021). "Curtis Sliwa accused of boosting mayoral campaign on his radio program". New York Post. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- "Sliwa Goes on Hiatus". Radio Ink. March 2, 2021. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
- Balk, Tim (March 15, 2021). "NYC mayor's race gets a late entry: Curtis Sliwa, Guardian Angels founder as GOP contender". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
- Mahoney, Bill (October 31, 2016). "Upstart group wins legal battle over control of the Reform Party". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- "Reform Party of New York & Women's Equality Party lose ballot status". News Growl. November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
- Campanile, Carl (March 8, 2020). "Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa vows to run for mayor". New York Post. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
- Editorial Board (March 3, 2021). "Republican remainders: NYC's GOP mayoral contenders are uninspiring". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- Levine, Jon (March 27, 2021). "John Catsimatidis' family divided over Republican NYC mayoral primary". New York Post. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
- Carter, E. Graydon (December 28, 1981). "People: Dec. 28, 1981". TIME. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010.
Guardian Angels National Director Lisa Evers, 28, who will marry Angels leader Curtis Sliwa, 26, on Christmas Eve in Manhattan
- Bernstein, Fred (February 8, 1982). "In a Time of Tragedy and Growth, the Guardian Angels' Curtis Sliwa Relies on His New Wife, Lisa". People.
- "Guardian Angel Embodies The Right Attitude". Chicago Tribune. Montreal Gazette. July 21, 1986.
- Burke, Cathy (July 9, 2000). "Angel No. 1 Ties Knot with Bride No. 3". New York Post.
- Zambito, Thomas (June 14, 2006). "Gotti Goons Target My Boy: Sliwa". Daily News. New York.
- "Curtis Sliwa Homepage". Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Curtis Sliwa.|
- Curtis Sliwa on Facebook
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Curtis Sliwa at IMDb
- on YouTube
- "Chester Sliwa, father of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, dies at 92". New York Daily News. September 11, 2012.
- "Frances Sliwa, mother of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, dies at 93". NYTimes. May 31, 2017.