John Vliet Lindsay (/vliːt ˈlɪnᵈzi/; November 24, 1921 – December 19, 2000) was an American politician, lawyer, and broadcaster who was a U.S. congressman, mayor of New York City, candidate for U.S. president, and regular guest host of Good Morning America.
During his political career, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from January 1959 to December 1965 and as mayor of New York City from January 1966 to December 1973. He switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 1971, and launched a brief and unsuccessful bid for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination as well as the 1980 Democratic nomination for Senator from New York. He died from Parkinson’s disease and pneumonia in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on December 19, 2000.
Lindsay was born in New York City on West End Avenue, to George Nelson Lindsay and the former Florence Eleanor Vliet. He grew up in an upper-middle-class family of English and Dutch descent. Lindsay’s paternal grandfather migrated to the United States in the 1880s from the Isle of Wight, and his mother was from an upper-middle-class family that had been in New York since the 1660s. Lindsay’s father was a successful lawyer and investment banker. Lindsay attended the Buckley School, St. Paul’s School and Yale, where he was admitted to the class of 1944 and joined Scroll and Key.
With the outbreak of World War II, Lindsay completed his studies early and in 1943 joined the United States Navy as a gunnery officer. He obtained the rank of lieutenant, earning five battle stars through action in the invasion of Sicily and a series of landings in the Pacific theater. After the war, he spent a few months as a ski bum and a couple of months training as a bank clerk before returning to New Haven, where he received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1948, ahead of schedule. In 1949, he began his legal career at the law firm of Webster, Sheffield, Fleischman, Hitchcock & Chrystie.