Proudly Jewish, Koch was an outspoken supporter of Israel.
After leaving office, he worked as a lawyer and continued to offer his opinions as a political pundit, movie reviewer, food critic and judge on ‘‘The People’s Court.’’ He wrote 10 nonfiction books, four mystery novels and three children’s books, played himself in the movies ‘‘The Muppets Take Manhattan’’ and ‘‘The First Wives Club’’ and hosted ‘‘Saturday Night Live.’’
Edward Irving Koch was born in the Bronx on Dec. 12, 1924, the second of three children of Polish immigrants. During the Depression, the family lived in Newark, N.J.
After serving as a combat infantryman in Europe during World War II, he got a law degree and began his political career in Greenwich Village by winning a district leader race as a liberal Democratic reformer. Koch was elected to the City Council and then to Congress, serving from 1969 to 1977.
With New York in dire financial condition in 1977, Koch defeated Mayor Abe Beame and Cuomo in the Democratic primary to win his first term in City Hall. He breezed to re-election in 1981 and 1985, winning an unprecedented three-quarters of the votes cast.
In 1982, he made a run for governor against Cuomo, then the state’s lieutenant governor. But Koch’s bid blew up after he mouthed off about a possible move to Albany, saying that living in the suburbs was ‘‘wasting your life.’’
Koch’s third term was beset by corruption scandals, one of which ended in the suicide of a top party boss in 1986.
Meanwhile, racial unease ran high after the deaths of two young black men who were set upon by gangs of whites in 1986 and 1989, and the mayor fell out with many black voters for purging anti-poverty programs and saying, among other things, that busing and racial quotas had done more to divide the races than to achieve integration. He also said Jews would be ‘‘crazy’’ to vote for Jackson during the civil rights leader’s 1988 presidential campaign.
Koch attributed his defeat to longevity, not racial tensions. But he also said his biggest regret as he left office was that ‘‘many people in the black community do not perceive that I was their friend.’’
On Friday, Jackson said in a statement that Koch’s ‘‘leadership and legacy will never be forgotten.’’
At 83, Koch paid $20,000 for a burial plot at Trinity Church Cemetery, at the time the only graveyard in Manhattan that still had space. ‘‘I don’t want to leave Manhattan, even when I'm gone,’’ he explained.
The funeral will be Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. Dignitaries including Bloomberg and Ido Aharoni, the Israeli consul general in New York, will be among the speakers, said a person familiar with the arrangements, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to discuss them.
Associated Press writer Samantha Gross contributed to this report.