Jerry Springer, known for hosting his eponymous TV show in the 1990s and 2000s, has died. He was 79.
Springer’s representative told Us Weekly that the former Cincinnati mayor died on Thursday, April 27, at his home in the Chicago area following a brief illness.
“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,” family spokesperson Jene Galvin told Us on Thursday. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”
Galvin continued: “To remember Jerry, the family asks that in lieu of flowers you consider following his spirit and make a donation or commit to an act of kindness to someone in need or a worthy advocacy organization. As he always said, ‘Take care of yourself, and each other.'”
From 1991 to 2018, the Masked Singer alum hosted Jerry Springer, which became known for showcasing rowdy guests who were willing to physically fight over their personal issues, which ran the gamut from incest to adultery and general family drama.
After the show’s cancellation, Springer hosted Judge Jerry, which ran from 2019 to 2022. In 2015, the local Emmy Award winner debuted a podcast, and last year, he competed on season 8 of The Masked Singer as the Beetle.
Before he began his TV career, Springer was a lawyer, earning his law degree at Northwestern University in 1968. He worked as a campaign adviser to Robert F. Kennedy before launching his own congressional campaign in 1970. Springer lost, but he was later elected to the Cincinnati City Council.
In 1977, the council chose him to serve as the mayor of Cincinnati for one year. (An arrangement at the time required Democrats to split the mayoral term with a local third-party group, which is why Springer only held the office for 12 months.)
Springer began his broadcast career as a radio commentator while he was still an undergraduate at Tulane University. He later got a full-time job in as a political reporter and commentator at NBC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WLWT, eventually earning 10 local Emmy Awards for his work.
In 1991, WLWT debuted Jerry Springer, which began as a politically oriented talk show featuring guests like Jesse Jackson and Oliver North. Three years later, however, Springer and new producer Richard Dominick took the series in a new direction in order to juice the ratings. At that point, Jerry Springer started to become the controversial show it’s now remembered as, with chair-throwing, profanity and violence.
Springer is survived by his daughter, Katie, 47, and wife Micki Velton, whom he wed in 1973.