Celebrity News April 27, 2023
Jerry Springer, Whose Talk Show Provoked Rage & Laughter, Dies at 79
Jerry Springer, whose long-running series set the outrageous, combative tone for daytime talk shows, has died at 79, TMZ reports.
"Extra" has confirmed that Springer died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
He died at his Chicago home.
Jene Galvin, a family friend who served as an executive producer of "Jerry Springer," said in a statement to The New York Times that the show “ran for nearly three decades, reaching its peak viewership in the 1990s. No matter what sort of drama had taken place in front of a studio audience and viewers tuning in from home, Mr. Springer ended each segment with a signature sign-off: 'Take care of yourself, and each other.'”
"Jerry Springer" (1991-2018) featured placid, guy-next-door Springer as referee in situations that included sensationalized topics like people discovering the person they were dating was cheating or secretly transgender. Family secrets, Nazis, drug use, prostitution — they were all fair game on the show, which was designed to be like "The Phil Donahue Show" on steroids.
Much of the chaos was scripted, but audiences ate it up, chanting, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" as each episode's shocking events unfolded.
Springer was born February 13, 1944, in London to parents of Jewish heritage who had fled Germany during WWII. That history informed the future host's take on his careers, who said, “Twenty-seven members of my family were wiped out. You learn that you never judge people on what they are, but what they do.”
The family relocated to Queens, New York, in 1948, where Jerry grew up fascinated by American culture and politics, which he studied in college.
An advisor to Robert F. Kennedy at the time of his assassination, he went on to work as a lawyer in Cincinnati.
Springer's first run for political office was in 1970, a bid for a House seat from Ohio. He lost. He did serve on the Cincinnati City Council from 1971-1974, but resigned when caught patronizing a prostitute. Springer's complete candor on the matter seemed to win him votes, and he was easily re-elected to his old seat the following year.
By 1982, Springer had set his sights on the Ohio governorship, but failed to earn his party's nomination. The highest elected office he achieved was when he became the 56th mayor of Cincinnati, a position he held from 1977-1978.
Springer's wild talk show curtailed his political ambitions — he reportedly considered running for the Senate in Ohio, but realized the show had tainted him among some voters. (By 2022, such considerations were quaint — Dr. Oz ran for the Senate by embracing, not running from, his daytime persona. He ultimately lost.)
In the meantime, Springer had become an unlikely pop cultural icon so ubiquitous he even inspired "Jerry Springer: The Opera," a musical that ran for over 600 performances in London (2003-2005) and enjoyed special performances in Las Vegas (2007) and at NYC's Carnegie Hall (2008).
He was a host of "America's Got Talent" (2007-2008), and occasionally played himself on TV ("Married... with Children" in 1993, "Roseanne" in 1996) and in films ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" in 1999), even stepping into the London production of the musical "Chicago" in 2012 as a song-and-dance man.
Most recently, Springer had presided over the show "Judge Jerry" for three seasons (2019-2022).
Springer was wed from 1973-1994 to Micki Velton. He is survived by his son.