Outside of New York City, Mayor Ed Koch may seem a distant memory -- yet another big New York personality who happened to run the Big Apple from 1978-89. But while few big city mayors resonate much beyond their town's borders or for longer than their terms of office, Koch -- who died on Feb. 1 at 88 -- was a big city mayor like no other.
Among his many accomplishments politically (including three terms of office and eight years as a congressman), Koch left a very large media footprint during his post-mayoral years. He was the first New York City mayor to ever host "Saturday Night Live" (1983) and ultimately made four appearances on the NBC show: Cameos in 1978 and 1984, and as a co-host in 1984 ("I was pretty good," he said in 2010).
In general, Koch was a busy, camera-loving guy: Based on IMDB.com credits, he appeared in more than 60 films and TV shows (including "Sex and the City," "The Muppets Take Manhattan" and "We Own The Night") often -- but not always -- as himself.
His longest-running TV gig featured him in his best-known role -- himself -- as he presided over "The People's Court" from 1997-99. And starting in 2009, he hosted a weekly web series, "Mayor at the Movies," in which the film buff opined on everything from "Moneyball" to Betty White's "Saturday Night Live" performance.
Meanwhile, he also found time to write several non-fiction books ("How'm I Doing? The Wit and Wisdom of Ed Koch," "Giuliani: Nasty Man"), crime fiction novels ("Murder at City Hall," "Murder on Broadway") and even a children's book, "Eddie, Harold's Little Brother."
He did always have a sense of show business presence, so while it could never have been planned, it was almost fitting that he made his final exit just days after the documentary "Koch" had its first official New York screening.
Early reviews give thumbs-up to the film: "Compared to the man himself, 'Koch' is low-key," wrote the New York Daily News. "Director Neil) Barsky examines this colorful, often dramatic parade with his veteran reporter's eye. Yet while opposing views are heard, Koch's take on them -- now 25 to 35 years after the fact -- puts a definite period at the end of the sentence." Adds the New York Times, "It is hardly an uncritical account of Mr. Koch's dozen years as mayor, but time has a way of turning the furious political battles of the past into amusing war stories."
Few would be happier than Ed Koch to know he was still being talked about, 24 years after he left office. Mr. Mayor, you may be gone, but you're still doin' fine.