Jerry Springer, famously known for hosting his rowdy talk show, The Jerry Springer Show, died at the age of 79 peacefully at his home in Chicago on Thursday.
The Jerry Springer Show ran for almost 30 years since 1991, and with over 5000 episodes, Springer’s chat show became a symbol of unpretentious television exposing fringes and conflicts within US society to the world audience.
Jerry Springer “irreplaceable”, “tv icon”
A friend of Springer’s and spokesman for the family, Jene Galvin, said that he is “irreplaceable”.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan said that Springer was a “TV icon and such an intelligent, warm, funny man. Loved working with him on AGT [America’s Got Talent], loved hanging out with him (we lived in the same hotel for two years), loved arguing with him (he loved his politics), loved everything about him.”
In 1944, Springer was born in the London Underground station of Highgate during the Second World War. His parents were Jewish refugees from a region of Germany, which is now a part of Poland, and were staying in shelter, from a German bombing raid, in the station at the time.
He studied political science and law at university after which he started his career engaging in politics. He served as an advisor to Robert F Kennedy, and from 1977 to 1978, he served as mayor of Cincinnati, though he failed to become the governor of Ohio which was when he switched his career to TV journalism.
Initially, The Jerry Springer Show was a simple talk show giving the spotlight to social issues and US politics, but Springer switched the show’s focus to lewd and brazen content to spur ratings.
He told the BBC in 2014: “You could decide only to put well-scrubbed, wealthy people who speak the Queen’s English on television and just do that but that wouldn’t reflect the whole society.”
Springer jokingly tweeted describing himself as a “talk show host, ringmaster of civilization’s end” and called his show “escapist entertainment”.
Springer’s television appearances
The Jerry Springer Show was at its peak in daytime television in the US in the late 1990’s overtaking Opera. The show ended in 2018 due to falling viewership.
Springer also hosted America’s Got Talent from 2007 to 2008 and was also on the courtroom show ‘Judge Jerry’.
In addition, Springer was also seen on BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, in which he talked about his family and their journey through the Holocaust.
After eight years of running the Jerry Springer Podcast, he finally signed off in December.