Jerry Springer, one of TV and media’s most influential and controversial pillars, had died at age 79, TMZ reports.
According to Jene Galvin, a representative for his family, Springer was diagnosed with cancer a few months, and this week, his condition worsened. The TV host died at his home in the suburban Chicago area.
“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,” Galvin added in a statement via WLWT5 Cincinnati. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”
The media personality was born Gerald Norman Springer on February 13, 1944 in London, but was raised in Queens. After earning his B.A. at Tulane University in political science in 1965, he earned his J.D. from Northwestern in 1968. He was elected to Cincinnati Council in 1971 after an unsuccessful congressional race the year prior.
Springer served one term as Cincinnati’s 56th mayor in 1977. Following his run, he attempted to gain the Democratic bid for Ohio governor in 1982, but lost. It was then that he became a news anchor and commentator at WLWT, just before his eponymous talk show debuted in 1991.
Initially, the show centered around political issues, TMZ noted. However, it became a staple on airwaves as it transformed into a controversial, lewd talk show, known for outlandish guests and hostile confrontations. At one point in the late ’90s, The Jerry Springer Show surpassed The Oprah Winfrey Show ratings-wise in several cities.
The final episode in syndication premiered in July 2018 after 27 years. After the talk show ended, he returned to television with his courtroom show, Judge Jerry, which ran for three seasons. Springer also hosted The Jerry Springer Podcast: Tales, Tunes and Tomfoolery, which he started in April 2015 and ended in December 2022.
He made his last TV appearance on season 8 of The Masked Singer, where he performed as “The Beetle,” singing Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.”
Springer is survived by his daughter, Katie, and his sister, Evelyn. VIBE sends our deepest condolences to the Springer family during this time.