You know him as the foul-mouthed former White House Chief of Staff who will be sworn in Monday as Chicago’s new mayor. But there’s more to this North Shore native and Northwestern grad than meets the eye. Despite his recent presence in the political spotlight, you might be surprised about what you still don’t know about the Windy City’s new head honcho.
5. The West Wing Inspiration
Rahm was once the muse for the creators of the West Wing, who used his brusque, take-no-prisoners political attitude to develop Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman. Bradley Whitford, who played pseudo-Rahm, said he had to tone down Rahm’s extremely blunt nature to be a believable character.
4. The Fishmonger
Rahm is rumored to have sent a dead fish to a pollster in 1988. More than 20 years later, White House staff members would affectionately commemorate his time with the Obama Administration by awarding him a dead Asian Carp in a box.
3. The Sibling Rivalry
Rahm’s not the only famous Emanuel. His brother, Ari Emanuel, a talent agent in Beverly Hills, was the inspiration for Entourage’s Ari Gold, portrayed by Jeremy Piven.
2. The Gangrene
Rahm is missing part of his right hand middle finger. After accidentally severing his finger in a meat slicer on the job at Arby’s, he wrapped it up in a bandage in lieu of medical treatment so he could attend prom that night. But following the night’s festivities, he would spend seven weeks in the hospital with some gnarly infections and a 105-degree fever.
1. The Leotard
Rahm’s swiftness and grace extends beyond political decision-making. A trained ballet dancer and a graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet, he once received a scholarship from Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. He turned it down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.