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Jerry Springer Dead at 79
Everett Collection

Daytime TV personality Jerry Springer has died at the age of 79, TVLine has confirmed.

A family spokesperson tells us that Springer died at his home in Chicago, Ill., after a “brief illness,” surrounded by his family. UPDATE: His publicist tells People that he died of pancreatic cancer.

“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 spokesman Jene Galvin said in a statement to TVLine. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

Producer NBCUniversal said in a statement, “Jerry Springer was much more than a talk show host who redefined television. He was a savvy politician, pop cultural icon, and devout and loyal friend who was most proud when he spoke up for the marginalized and unrepresented. He connected equally with both the powerful and the man on the street. Strangers would open up to him and he loved nothing more than to give them a voice. We deeply mourn his loss and are fortunate to have been partners in a career that was truly astounding and a life that emulated the very best of us.”

Springer was best known for his long-running, eponymous talk show, which ran for 27 years before ending in 2018. Debuting way back in 1991, Jerry Springer became notorious for its provocatively lowbrow topics and frequent on-screen fistfights. (The show’s bouncer, Steve Wilkos, even landed his own talk show in 2007.)

Springer became synonymous with trash TV and soared in the ratings, even topping daytime titan The Oprah Winfrey Show during one late-’90s stretch. More than 3,800 episodes aired, each ending with Springer’s “Final Thought” on the chaos that preceded it.

A year after Jerry Springer‘s end, Springer returned to daytime TV with the syndicated courtroom show Judge Jerry, which ran for three seasons and ended in 2022. Additional TV credits included a two-season stint as host of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and turns as a contestant on Season 3 of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars (finishing in fifth place) and Season 8 of Fox’s The Masked Singer (competing as the Beetle; see below).

Prior to becoming a TV star, Springer worked as a lawyer for 15 years, having received his law degree in 1968 from Northwestern University. He also had a career in politics, and served as the mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978.

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