Famed daytime TV talk show host Jerry Springer dead from cancer at age 79

April 28, 2023
Ben Marquis

The landscape and format of daytime TV talk shows -- and relatedly, American culture and society more broadly -- were forever changed in the 1990s with the rise of the immensely popular and often controversial "The Jerry Springer Show" and that program's eponymous host.

Jerry Springer, who was actually a local journalist and politician in Ohio before gaining immeasurable fame with his talk show, passed away on Thursday at the age of 79, the Daily Caller reported.

He will forever be known, however, as providing a platform for guests to share crazy stories or reveal deeply personal secrets, often to the detriment of other guests, upon which a physical brawl would typically ensue on stage while the live audience would enthusiastically chant, "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"

Recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

TMZ reported that Springer died peacefully at his home in the Chicago area on Thursday morning following a "brief illness," according to a family spokesperson.

According to an unnamed source for the outlet, that illness was actually pancreatic cancer, which had first been diagnosed just a few months ago and suddenly "took a turn for the worse" in the past week or so.

Springer's highly-rated daytime TV talk show, which actually focused on politics initially, first debuted in 1991 and ran in syndication until 2018 -- spawning spin-offs and copycats along the way -- and even competed at times with the daytime TV talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey, for the top ratings spot in certain regional TV markets.

Following the conclusion of his talk show, Springer hosted a courtroom show for three seasons called "Judge Jerry," competed on "The Masked Singer" last year as a "Beetle" singing a Frank Sinatra song, and also hosted a local radio show in Cincinnati that played 1960s folk music.

A journalist, lawyer, and politician before becoming a TV star

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Springer was born as Gerald Norman Springer in London, England in 1944 but moved to New York with his family at age four.

He would go on to graduate from Tulane University and Northwestern University Law School and served a stint in the U.S. Air Force Reserves before launching multiple careers as a journalist for a local news station in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a practicing lawyer, and as an elected politician prior to his successful foray into television -- which also included a surprisingly long 2006 run on the hit "Dancing With The Stars" competition show.

Springer served throughout much of the 1970s and 80s as a member of the Cincinnati City Council, with a brief break in the late 70s while he served as mayor of the city, and made unsuccessful runs over the years to be elected as governor of Ohio and as a member of Congress.

The outlet noted that numerous current and former politicians in Ohio from both parties have expressed their condolences over the death of a friend and colleague and supporter.

"His intellect, heart, and humor will live on"

Jene Galvin, a longtime friend of Springer and family spokesperson, told the Enquirer in a statement, "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," Galvin added.

The outlet noted that Springer's family -- he is survived by his older sister Evelyn and his daughter Katie, per TMZ -- are still planning the details for a funeral service and memorial gathering, and requested fans and friends who wish to show their support to engage in a random act of kindness for somebody else or make a donation to a worthy cause or individual in need instead of sending flowers.

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