Jerry Springer, the former mayor and news anchor, passed away at 79. He hosted the popular daytime talk show, “The Jerry Springer Show,” which ran for 27 years and featured brawls, obscenities, and nudity. Despite being a ratings powerhouse, the show was controversial and seen by many as contributing to the decline of American social values.
Springer’s ability to connect with people was central to his success in broadcasting, politics, and personal interactions. He was known for his humour, intellect, and heart. He died peacefully at home in suburban Chicago after a brief illness.
Springer believed that television should not create values but instead reflect society’s good, bad, and ugly aspects. He also believed that people on his show volunteered to subject themselves to ridicule and humiliation.
Springer was born in London to German Jewish parents who fled to England during the Holocaust. They arrived in the US when he was five years old, and he grew up in Queens, NY, where he became a lifelong fan of the Yankees. He studied political science at Tulane University and obtained a law degree from Northwestern University.
Springer was active in politics for much of his adult life, having worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968 and serving on Cincinnati’s city council in 1971. In 1974, he resigned after a vice probe involving prostitution, which he later admitted to. He married Micki Velton in 1973, and they had a daughter named Katie before divorcing in 1994.
After more than 4,000 episodes, “The Jerry Springer Show” ended in 2018, never straying from its core salaciousness. Some of its last episodes had titles such as “Stripper Sex Turned Me Straight,” “Stop Pimpin’ My Twin Sister,” and “Hooking Up With My Therapist.” Springer had a good sense of humor and often joked about himself, calling himself the “ringmaster of civilization’s end.”