Geraldo, Geraldo, Geraldo! How could you?
Then again, being Geraldo, how could you not?
In his autobiography, "Exposing Myself," to be released next week by Bantam Books, Geraldo Rivera reveals everything his public was dying to know about his alleged conquests of Bette Midler, Margaret Trudeau, Marian Javits and Chris Evert, his escapades with two "coeds" in a boiler room at ABC Television in Manhattan, and his mutual mauling by Mick Jagger and Rudolf Nureyev in the kitchen of his TriBeCa apartment.
In another homey anecdote, the talk show host recounts how he escorted two prostitutes, with whom he'd spent the weekend at the Beverly Hills Hotel, to Hollywood mogul and George Bush pal Jerry Weintraub's son's bar mitzvah.
"At least it wasn't a bris," he said yesterday, calling from a pay phone in Cleveland. "Thirty pages in a 500-page book get taken out of context and turned into a New York Post headline!" he complained bitterly. "I didn't expect this sex thing."
The king of trash television didn't expect "this sex thing"? The man who brought us murderous teenagers from satanic cults having homoerotic encounters with space aliens in hot tubs in Marin County?
And he didn't even have the decency to include an index.
"It was suggested, but I didn't want it," he explained. "Precisely because I didn't want people to go through it and get out all the saucy, sexy stuff. There's 47 years of living here! ... I was best friends with John Lennon! I had an incredible confrontation with Yasser Arafat! I've been around the pike. If I had wanted to write a sex book, I would have really written a sex book."
Here's "Exposing Myself" on Margaret Trudeau: "It was like she had never been made love to before. It was like she was unleashing years of pent-up frustration."
On Bette Midler: "We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts." And on Marian Javits: "It was one of the most thrilling sexual experiences I've ever had, made magical by Marian, of course, and by the sheer illicitness of the moment."
"I went to bed with a lot of people in my life," he said yesterday. "With all the private people, their names were either changed or they were used with their permission. With the public people, like Bette Midler and Margaret Trudeau and Marian Javits, they live their lives on the public stage, and much worse things have been written about them. I don't think it's that slanderous a statement to say that somebody made love to me 15 years ago."
In other words, getting into bed with Geraldo -- to say nothing of bathrooms and rental cars -- is tantamount to going on his show.
But it's no invasion of privacy, he argues.
"Marian Javits and I have been linked romantically for over 20 years," he said. "Liza Minnelli has been very open and frank about her life, although that was just a flirtation. ... Take Margaret Trudeau -- she's already written about her sex life."
Did he at least engage in safe sex?
"Who remembers?" he said. "Today I'm a very healthy man, and also entirely monogamous, just like most of these ladies."
He lapsed into sociology.
"We all lived through these wide-open and, as you suggest, revolutionary times in American history. Times are much different today." Even Bette Midler, he said, "is today married, sober, mainstream and has found herself."
Marian Javits, the widow of former senator Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.), could not be reached late yesterday, and the Associated Press reported that it couldn't get through to Midler. But the wire service quoted Trudeau's lawyer, Michael Levine, as saying that Geraldo was the victim of an overactive imagination.
"Number one, there is no truth whatever to these allegations. This is pure exploitation," Levine said. "She has no intention of pursuing any action or making any further statement against such scurrilous, self-promoting untruths."
So how will Geraldo feel if all these women come forward to denounce him as a lousy lover?
"I don't care if they say that, as long as they don't say I made it up," he replied. "I don't care about the reviews."
The manuscript, he said, was "heavily lawyered, twice by Bantam-Doubleday, once by a private firm."
He added that he has been "very sedate and happy, since my marriage in July 1987."
And his fourth wife? What's her name -- Linda? Edie? Sheri?
"No, it's C.C.," he said helpfully. "It's easy to get confused."
Whatever her name is, wasn't she a little worried after reading his book?
"Yeah," the author acknowledged. "What did she say? I don't remember. You'll find out what she said when she goes on Phil Donahue next week."