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Jerry Springer: Era-defining TV host dies aged 79

Jerry Springer, best known for his rowdy talk programs, has died at the age of 79.

The Jerry Springer Show, which ran for nearly three decades beginning in 1991, introduced the world to fights, flying chairs, and the margins of American society.

Springer passed away peacefully at his Chicago residence on Thursday.

Jene Galvin, Springer’s friend, and the family’s spokesman, characterised him as irreplaceable.

“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was the driving force behind his success in everything he attempted, whether it was politics, broadcasting, or simply joking with strangers on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” he said.

Jerry springer: era-defining tv host dies aged 79
Jerry Springer: Era-defining TV host dies aged 79

“He is irreplaceable, and his loss is extremely painful, but memories of his intelligence, heart, and wit will endure.”

In almost 5,000 episodes, Springer’s talk show became a symbol of lowbrow television due to its tumultuous confrontation, profanity, and infidelity revelations.

Ricki Lake leads the tributes on social media, writing, “Just waking up to the very sad news of my longtime talk show competitor and friend Jerry Springer’s passing. A lovely individual. He may rest in tranquility.

Piers Morgan referred to Springer as a “TV icon and such an intelligent, warm, and humorous 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), and loved everything about him,” he continued.

In 1944, during World War II, Springer was born in the London Underground station of Highgate.

His parents, Jewish refugees from a region of Germany that is now a part of Poland, were taking refuge in the station during a German bombing attack.

At the age of four, Springer moved to Queens, New York with his parents and elder sister.

After studying both political science and law at university, he began his career in politics.

He advised Robert F. Kennedy and served as mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978, but after an unsuccessful run for governor of Ohio, he shifted to a career in television journalism.

He began as a correspondent at a local television station and rose to become an anchor.

The Jerry Springer program debuted in 1991 as an ordinary talk program focusing on social issues and American politics, hosted by a mild-mannered Springer.

After a few years, however, to increase ratings, Springer shifted his focus to salacious and outlandish material.

Springer repeatedly refuted claims that his program was too lowbrow.

In 2014, he told, “You could decide to only put well-groomed, wealthy people who speak the Queen’s English on television, but that wouldn’t reflect society as a whole.”

“If all programs were similar to mine, that would be incorrect. “But you can’t just have television like Friends and Seinfeld, with all these wealthy, attractive people, and love it,” he continued.

If a wealthy, renowned person goes on television and discusses who he or she has been sleeping with, we cannot get enough. We applaud them. But if it’s a low-income citizen, all of a sudden it’s trash.”

In the majority of episodes, visitors discussed family issues and exposed adultery and other transgressions.

Springer would ostensibly attempt to mediate, but the confrontations frequently degenerated into fistfights, with guests being restrained by security officers.

The audience would frequently exclaim “Jerry! Jerry!” whenever tensions increased during episodes.

On his Twitter profile, Springer sarcastically described himself as a “talk show host and ringmaster for the end of civilization.”

Others viewed Springer’s show as contributing to the dumbing down of television and the decline of social values. Springer referred to his program as “escapist entertainment.”

He frequently joked with people he encountered, “May you never be on my show.”

In the late 1990s, the program dominated daytime ratings in the United States, surpassing even Oprah. After declining viewership, the show was canceled in 2018.

A musical based on the tumultuous television series debuted in 2003. From April 2003 to February 2005, Jerry Springer: The Opera ran for 609 performances in London before touring the United Kingdom in 2006.

Jerry Springer: The Opera sparked blasphemy accusations and protests from religious activists. However, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom stated that it did not violate its rules.

Springer hosted America’s Got Talent from 2007 to 2008 and Judge Jerry in recent years.

In June 2009, Springer made his theatrical debut at the Cambridge Theatre in London as Billy Flynn in Chicago.

In October, Springer made one of his final television appearances in the American adaptation of The Masked Singer.

After eight years, he resigned from The Jerry Springer Podcast in December.

David Axelrod, a political commentator, tweeted, “Jerry Springer will be remembered as the host of an embarrassing, tabloid-style talk program.

“However, I first encountered him when he was a mayor and an insurgent progressive candidate for Ohio governor in a race I covered. He was humorous, modest, and perceptive.”

YouTuber KSI stated, “Rest in peace, Jerry Springer.” You made my school breaks so much more enjoyable.”

TV host Matthew Wright recalled how he “went to see Jerry Springer the opera with Jerry Springer, who loved every minute of it,” adding, “Top bloke, a great constable on [Channel 5 show] The Wright Stuff, hope he rests in peace.”

Instead of flowers, Springer’s family requested that donations or acts of compassion be made to those in need or to a worthy advocacy organization, as a tribute to the way he would sign off from his talk shows: “Take care of yourself, and each other.”


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