Jerry Springer, the talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati, death was confirmed today by his longtime publicist, Linda Shafran. Springer was 79 years old when he sadly passed away at his home in Chicago after a brief illness.
Springer was born Gerald Norman Springer on Feb 13, 1994, in a London Underground railway station being used as a bomb shelter. His parents, Richard and Margot, were German of Jewish descent who fled to England during the Holocaust. His family emigrated to the United States when he was 5 and lived in Queens. Springer married Micki Velton in 1973, later having a daughter, Katie.
Springer was best known for The Jerry Springer Show, which featured guests, real people from around the country- revealing shocking, often sordid details of their lives. It was not uncommon to see fights break out where the audience would ironically shout “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!”
“With all the joking I do with the show, I’m fully aware and thank God every day that my life has taken this incredible turn because of this silly show,” Springer told the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2011.
A force of popular culture, the show made Springer an international celebrity, to which he later began to host a liberal radio talk show and (for two seasons) NBC’s America’s Got Talent, starred in a movie called Ringmaster and competed on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. In addition to hosting the tabloid show for 27 seasons, from 1991-2018, Springer was the 56th mayor of Cincinnati from 1977-78.
In spite of his show’s reputation as “trash TV,” Springer often expressed empathy and compassion for the people who filled his set with the kind of drama that led to high ratings.
“Know this…There’s never been a moment in the 25 years of doing this show that I ever thought I was better than the people who appear on our stage. I’m not better. Only luckier.”