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Radical Woman of the Day: Donna Hanover

On this day in 1950 was born Donna Hanover, journalist, actor, and former First Lady of New York City. Born in Oakland, California, Donna Ann Kofnovec graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Stanford in 1972. There she met her first husband, Stanley Hanover, whom she married after her graduation. They moved to New York City, where Donna Hanover obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia.

Throughout the 1970s Hanover held a number of positions in TV journalism, including hosting and producing KDKA-TV’s Evening Magazine show. In 1980, as she and Stanley were getting divorced, she moved to Miami, where she met Rudy Giuliani. The two began dating and married in 1984, after they had moved to New York City. Throughout much of the 80s Hanover anchored the WPIX 10 p.m. news, leaving the position in 1989 to give birth to her second child.

Hanover campaigned for Giuliani during his successful bid for Mayor of New York City in 1993 and continued to work as a journalist at WNYW and Food Network for several years after his election. She also began to take on acting roles, appearing in The People Vs. Larry Flynt and Ransom in 1996 and in a recurring role on Law & Order, as well as other TV guest appearances. In April 2000 she signed on to play the lead role in The Vagina Monologues but resigned to support Giuliani after he announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

After Giuliani publicly announced his separation from Hanover without consulting or informing her in May of 2000, the couple divorced, and Hanover won custody of their two children. She continued to co-anchor for Food Network and later co-hosted for New York radio station WOR. In 2005 she published My Boyfriend’s Back: 50 True Stories of Reconnecting with a Long-Lost Love, which contained the story of her reunion with Edwin Oster, a high school boyfriend Hanover married in 2003 after a 20-year separation. She lives in New York and California.