TV Legend Jerry Springer Is Dead at 79

His controversial 'Jerry Springer Show' ran for almost 3 decades
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2023 9:56 AM CDT
TV Legend Jerry Springer Is Dead at 79
Jerry Springer, in a 2010 photo.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, file)

Jerry Springer, considered both a legend and villain of daytime TV, has died at age 79, reports TMZ. He'd been diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and died in his home in suburban Chicago, according to the outlet and WLWT of Cincinnati. Springer rose to national fame with his Jerry Springer Show, which ran for nearly three decades starting in 1991 and became what Variety calls "TV's most controversial show." Prior to that, he served as mayor of Cincinnati in 1977 before becoming a news anchor and commentator at WLWT. Springer also hosted a short-lived Judge Jerry show after Springer went off the air in 2018.

"Jerry's ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried, whether that was politics, broadcasting, or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word," Jene Galvin, a spokesman for the family, tells WLWT. "He's irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart, and humor will live on." Variety has a more critical take: "There is nothing about The Jerry Springer Show to be applauded—after all, his guests, representing an enormous variety of lifestyles deviating from what is perceived as the norm, were packaged as freaks and brought onstage to be mocked by the audience, and to be (at least seemingly) sternly judged by Springer."

But the same Variety story includes a 2014 assessment of TV critic Todd VanDerWerff, who saw some benefit to the show: "By simply allowing all of these people onto television—even if they were there to slot into certain preformed narratives—the series casually opened the door to a nation that was not as white bread as it desperately insisted it was." As TMZ notes, the "raucous and wild" show was famous for Springer's fans chanting, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" during the broadcast. (More Jerry Springer stories.)

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