If you were a fan of the daytime TV talk show that introduced many real-life problems on the small screen, you might be wondering how did Jerry Springer die?
Longtime talk show host Jerry Springer died in his home in Chicago, Illinois on April 27, 2023. He was 79. “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,” said Jene Galvin, a lifelong friend and spokesman for the family in a statement. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.” In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the TV host revealed what he would put on his tombstone, “I know what I’m going to put on my tombstone,” Springer told ET at the time. “‘I won’t be right back.'”
Springer’s daytime talk show The Jerry Springer Show ran for 27 years. The controversial TV show often showed huge brawls on stage while the audience chanted “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry” during the intro. After the show ended, he started another show Judge Jerry that ran from 2019 to 2022, and his final TV appearance was on The Masked Singer in 2022. Springer is survived by his daughter, Katie Springer, and his sister, Evelyn.
So how did Jerry Springer die? Read more below to find out.
How did Jerry Springer die? According to Jene Galvin and TMZ, Jerry Springer died from his brief illness of pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease months before his death.
Before his famed talk show that mostly entailed fights and controversy, Springer was a lawyer and politician in Cincinnati, Ohio where he joined the city council in 1971 and became the city’s mayor in 1977. He served one term after admitting he solicited a sex worker. He gave a statement, “It is with deep personal regret that I am announcing today my resignation from City Council. I understand what I am giving up, an enormous opportunity to share in the leadership of this great city. However, very personal family considerations necessitate this action. My family must and does come before my own personal career. Thank you all for all you have given me. I hope I have offered something positive in return.” He later attempted to run for Ohio’s gubernatorial race in 1982 but lost to Richard Celeste.
He switched his gears to TV where he became a host of NBC affiliate WLWT. He started his highly controversial show The Jerry Springer Show in 1991 as a political commentary show. Throughout the years, the format was known to showcase infidelity cases with normal people, which usually ended up with the people beating up each other and security trying to hold them back.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1998, he was astounded by the success of his show. “I have no training in this. No particular talent. Someone signed me. I didn’t even try out. So I got lucky and I’m a schlub with a show,” he said at the time. “There are millions of people that can do it better. But, well, I happen to have the job I have, and now the show has taken off and I’m going along for the ride. I’m loving it. But I can’t, with a straight face, tell you, ‘Boy, I’ve figured this all out, and I’m just a genius!’ I have no idea. I don’t get it. I really just don’t. And I’d love to know.”
The show’s format was pointed out as something never really seen before. “It’s chewing gum, it’s silly, it’s outrageous, it’s stupid, it’s a spoof, it’s a fraternity party on the air, it’s crazy… These people aren’t committing crimes. They’re yelling at each other,” he said. “If anything, they’re coming out and being honest. If someone’s cheating and saying, ‘Hey, I’m cheating,’ what’s the crime in that?” He continued. “I mean, American television is so upper white middle class,” he said. “On mainstream television, that’s the only perspective we see. And so here you have a show that just defies all these traditions, where the people on it don’t speak the king’s English, they’re not rich or powerful, and most of them don’t have an education. But the critics don’t want to see that. And that’s very, very elitist.”
On the legacy of his show, he said that it might have ruined modern culture and could have set up how we see social media today. “It’s just the democratization of the whole culture,” and in his show “the audience becomes entertainment.” He told David Yontef’s Behind The Velvet Rope podcast, “I don’t think you can be a grown-up in today’s world and be shocked by anything anymore.”
On if he’s on board with the title “The Granddaddy of Reality TV” he responded, “No, I just apologize. I’m so sorry. What have I done? I’ve ruined the culture. I just hope hell isn’t that hot because I burn real easy. I’m very light-complected, and that kind of worries me.”
After his show got canceled in 2018, he restarted his TV career with Judge Jerry mimicking other reality court shows, but with the same personality in the judge’s seat. He competed on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, served as host on two seasons of NBC’s America’s Got Talent and sang on The Masked Singer. Right before his death, he talked about what could take him out of retirement. “If I get invited to be on a show or be in a movie that’s within a certain period of time, I do it, but it’s not an everyday job. I’m 78. To go into work every day is not how I want to spend my remaining years of good health,” he said at the time to Fox News. “As long as I’m mentally alert, no. I’ll always want to do something, whether it’s podcasts or political shows.”
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