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Jerry Springer dead from pancreatic cancer at age 79

By Jimmy Adeel
|
April 28, 2023

Jerry Springer, the iconic TV host of "The Jerry Springer Show," has passed away at 79 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. His family announced his death on Thursday, and requested fans make charitable donations in his name, the Daily Mail reported.

Springer's impact on American television and culture is remembered as his loved ones, and fans mourn his passing.

A family spokesperson and a lifelong friend, Jene Galvin, said, “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. He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

Early Life and Immigration

Born in London, England, in 1944 to Jewish refugees from Germany, Springer and his family immigrated to the United States in 1949. He grew up in Queens, New York, and later earned a BA in political science from Tulane University.

A Life of Entertainment and Politics

Springer's career spanned decades, with his eponymous show running for 27 years and becoming a guilty pleasure for millions of Americans. 

Springer’s media career started with his radio commentaries, known as "The Springer Memorandum," which led to his hiring as a TV political reporter and commentator for WLWT. He became the city's most popular news anchor, earning 10 local Emmy Awards.

His show, "The Jerry Springer Show," debuted in 1991 as a politically oriented talk show but changed format by its third year on air. Guests featured “ordinary people” with extraordinary stories, often leading to heated confrontations and violence on stage. 

The controversial host was also known for his political career, serving as the mayor of Cincinnati in 1977 and considering a run for Ohio state governor.

The Legacy of Jerry Springer Show

Springer's show was notorious for its wild, raucous content and featured outrageous guests engaging in explosive confrontations. Despite being criticized for contributing to declining American social values, the program consistently garnered high ratings and even surpassed Oprah Winfrey's show in some cities during the 1990s.

Throughout its run, "The Jerry Springer Show" maintained its core of salacious entertainment. Some of its later episodes had provocative titles such as "Stripper Sex Turned Me Straight," "Stop Pimpin´ My Twin Sister," and "Hooking Up With My Therapist."

After "The Jerry Springer Show" ended in 2018, Springer created "Judge Jerry," which ran for three seasons.

In an interview last year, he hinted at his illness, saying he wanted to retire while he was "still healthy" after NBCUniversal canceled "Judge Jerry."

Springer's Impact and Defending His Show

In defense of his show, Springer once said, "Television does not and must not create values. It's merely a picture of all that's out there - the good, the bad, the ugly. Believe this: The politicians and companies that seek to control what each of us may watch are a far greater danger to America and our treasured freedom than any of our guests ever were or could be."

Springer often maintained that the people who appeared on his show volunteered for the experience, knowing what they were getting into. Despite the criticism, his show's audience continued to cheer his name and revel in the wild antics of his guests.

Final Appearances and Tributes

His final TV appearance was on last season's "The Masked Singer," where he performed as "The Beetle," singing a Frank Sinatra classic. Springer is survived by his daughter Katie, who is deaf and blind, and his sister Evelyn.

Tributes have poured in for the late TV legend, including one from actor David Hasselhoff, who described Springer as a "great friend" in a tweet on Thursday. In his tribute to Jerry Springer, host Maury Povich proclaimed that Springer didn't just change Television but "radicalized it."

As fans and friends remember Jerry Springer, his legacy as a talk show host, entertainer, and political figure remains imprinted on American culture.