Rudy Giuliani was born on May 28, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York. Giuliani grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, as an only child in a strict Roman Catholic family; his grandparents were Italian immigrants. He majored in political science and philosophy at Manhattan College, in the Bronx. Upon his graduation from college in 1965, with his career plans still undecided, he entered New York University Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1968. A clerkship at the office of New York Federal District Court Judge Lloyd F. McMahon led to a job as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern district of New York. There, the ambitious young Giuliani was named chief of the narcotics unit and promoted to the position of executive U.S. attorney. In 1975, Giuliani moved to Washington, D.C., to work as the associate deputy attorney general and chief of staff for Deputy Attorney General Harold R. Tyler. By that time, Giuliani—a Democrat—had become increasingly disillusioned with what he saw as the leftist leanings of the party. For the first time, he registered as a Republican. After practicing law for four years, Giuliani was named associate attorney general in the new administration of President Ronald Reagan in 1981. As the third-highest-ranking member of the Department of Justice, Giuliani oversaw all the U.S. attorneys' federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Bureau of Corrections, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the U.S. Marshals. In 1983, Giuliani returned to Manhattan to work as the U.S. attorney for the Southern district of New York. In his six years in the office, he was extremely aggressive in the prosecution of accused criminals, including drug dealers, members of organized crime, and white-collar criminals. Giuliani's critics accused him of being overzealous and of prosecuting cases merely to advance his own political ambitions. Whatever his motives, his methods paid off, as he amassed an impressive record of 4,152 convictions and only 25 reversals. Giuliani entered the race for mayor of New York City in 1989. He lost by a close margin to his Democratic rival David N. Dinkins, who became the city's first African-American mayor. Four years later, when Giuliani ran again and won, he became New York's first Republican mayor in over 20 years.
Because of Giuliani's aggressive attack on crime, From 1993 to 1998, the city's crime rate fell by 40 percent, and the murder rate decreased by an even greater percentage, leading the FBI to characterize New York as America's safest large city. Aside from this undeniable success, Giuliani had a number of harsh critics in the city and state of New York. Many argued that much of his success could be attributed to fortunate timing, and that many of the reforms that materialized under Giuliani's administration (the infiltration and revamping of the once-squalid Times Square by mainstream companies like Disney, for example) actually started under Dinkins. It was certainly true that his reduction in crime coincided with the end of the national recession and the resurgence of Wall Street, both of which contributed immensely to the increase in New York's business and tourism. Much of the criticism focused on Giuliani's brash and unabashedly confrontational personal style. Known for his volatile temper and withering sarcasm, the mayor earned a reputation for being self-righteous and ruthless in his criticism of those with whom he disagreed.
Despite these criticisms, Giuliani remained a popular mayor throughout the 1990s, easily winning reelection in 1997 over Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messenger.
In late 1998, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the senior senator from New York, announced his retirement in 2000, it was universally speculated that Giuliani would run for his vacant seat. Although it was widely known that Pataki did not support Giuliani, the mayor was such a visible figure that he seemed a sure bet for the Republican candidacy. The New York Senate race earned national attention during 1999 and early 2000, when Hillary Clinton declared her candidacy on the Democratic side and received the nomination, becoming the first wife of a sitting president to actively seek political office. In April 2000, Giuliani announced publicly that he had been diagnosed with the early stages of prostate cancer, prompting speculation that he would not continue his Senate campaign. Less than two weeks later, Giuliani announced that he was separating from his wife of 11 years, Donna Hanover, a former television journalist and actress. Hanover announced in her own press conference that Giuliani had been romantically involved with at least two other women during their marriage, including his former communications director, Cristyne Lategano, and Judith Nathan, a New York City businesswoman who had been appearing with him in public since late 1999.
The mayor's tumultuous spring reached a climax on May 19, 2000, when Giuliani officially withdrew from the Senate race, stating that he would finish out his second and final term as mayor and concentrate on his personal issues, including the process of getting treatment for his prostate cancer.
After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Giuliani's commanding leadership earned him the admiration and respect of the international community and especially of the griefstricken residents of New York City. Though his popularity might have earned him a third term as mayor, election restrictions prohibited him from running. The Republican candidate, business leader Michael Bloomberg, triumphed in November, and was sworn in as mayor of New York City on January 1, 2002.