Feinstein, a Jew, was born Dianne Emiel Goldman in San Francisco, California. Her father, Leon Goldman, was a nationally renowned surgeon who traveled frequently and spoke at academic conferences. She received her B.S degree in history in 1955 from Stanford University. In 1957, she married Jack Berman, a colleague in the San Francisco District Attorney's office. They were divorced 3 years later.
In 1962, shortly after starting her career in politics, she married Bertram Feinstein, a neurosurgeon. In 1969, Feinstein won a position on the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, which is also part of the City Council of San Francisco. She held this position for nine years, becoming the first woman President of the Board. During her tenure, she ran for mayor of San Francisco twice (1971 and 1975), losing both times.
In November 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by a rival politician after they enacted the city's first gay rights bill. As President of the Board of Supervisors, Feinstein automatically succeeded to the mayoral position on that December 4. She served out the remainder of the term and was re-elected in 1979 for a second term and finally left office on January 8, 1988.
In 1978, Feinstein's husband Bertram died of colon cancer. In 1980, she married Richard C. Blum, an investment banker who later helped fund her unsuccessful bid for the California Governor's seat in 1990. She lost to Republican Senator Pete Wilson, who vacated his seat on the Senate to assume the position. In 1992, Feinstein won a special election to fill the remaining two years in Wilson's vacated seat. She was re-elected in 1994 and again in 2000.
Feinstein is a strong proponent of gun control, yet is known to have carried concealed handguns herself with a normally hard-to-obtain California carry permit - few people, other than politicians and celebrities, are able to obtain California CCW permits. At one time, she was the only person in San Francisco to possess a conceal-carry permit.
She is listed as a member of the Trilateral Commissionat the Political Graveyard website alongside such company as Dick Cheney. Her current husband, Richard C. Blum has extensive business ties with China and the Feinstein's net worth is estimated to be well in excess of $50 million.
See also: California government and politics