Gerald Norman Springer was an American broadcaster, journalist, actor, producer, lawyer, and politician who lived from February 13, 1944, until April 27, 2023.
Springer was raised in Queens, New York City, after being born to Holocaust refugees in London during World War II.
He graduated from Northwestern University School of Law, earned his law degree, and started his political career in 1968 by working for Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign.
Springer, a member of the Cincinnati City Council, presided as Cincinnati’s 56th mayor from 1977 to 1978.
In Cincinnati, where he later served as a local news anchor, he earned several Regional Emmy Awards for commentary.
From 1991 to 2018, Springer was best known for serving as the host of the occasionally contentious tabloid talk show Jerry Springer.
In addition, he hosted Judge Jerry from 2019 to 2022 as well as America’s Got Talent from 2007 to 2008.
He presented The Jerry Springer Podcast outside of television from 2015 until 2022.
His self-titled show, which aired in the 1990s, was hailed as a “commercial smash and certifiable cultural phenomenon,” making him a pioneer in the development of “trash TV.”
Jerry Springer Biography
Gerald Norman Springer was born on February 13, 1944, in the Highgate station of the London Underground, while the station was being used as a shelter from German bombardment during World War II.
He was raised on Chandos Road in East Finchley. His parents, German-Jewish refugees from Landsberg a der Warthe, Prussia (now Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland), were Margot (née Kallmann; a bank clerk) and Richard Springer (owner of a shoe shop).
Marie Kallmann, his maternal grandmother, was abandoned and perished in the gas vans of the Chemno extermination camp in German-occupied Poland.
Selma Springer (née Elkeles), his paternal grandmother, passed away in the Theresienstadt concentration camp (in German-occupied Czechoslovakia).
Hermann Elkeles, a well-known Berlin physician who also perished at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, was Selma Springer’s brother.
Springer’s family arrived in the country in January 1949 when he was four years old, residing in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, a borough of New York City. He went to Forest Hills High School, which is nearby.
When he was twelve years old and watching the 1956 Democratic National Convention on television, one of his earliest memories of current events is seeing and admiring then-Senator John F. Kennedy.
Springer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Tulane University in 1965. In 1968, he graduated from Northwestern University with a doctorate in law.
Early law career
In 1968, Springer assisted Democrat Robert F. Kennedy’s political campaign.
He started practicing law at Cincinnati’s Frost & Jacobs, which is now Frost Brown Todd, after Kennedy was killed.
From 1973 through 1985, Springer worked with current Butler County, Ohio magistrate Harry Sudman and former NBA agent Ronnie Grinker as a partner in the law firm Grinker, Sudman & Springer.
Jerry Springer Political career
Springer ran for the US House of Representatives in 1970. He received 45% of the vote in a district that has historically voted Republican, but he was unable to defeat incumbent Republican Donald D. Clancy.
He had previously led the charge to lower the voting age and testified in favor of the 26th Amendment before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Springer who was at the time an Army reserve member, was called to active duty and stationed at Fort Knox three days after declaring his candidacy.
After receiving his discharge, he continued his campaign. In 1971, Springer won a seat on the Cincinnati City Council. Springer resigned from the council on April 29, 1974, after he admitted to seeking out a prostitute.
In 1975, he ran for the position and easily won. In 1977 and 1979, he won reelection. Springer was seen as a “gonzo” type of politician who engaged in antics like spending the night in jail and stealing a bus after the city took over the operation.
The Cincinnati City Council appointed Springer to be mayor for a year in 1977. A political agreement at the time required the Democrats to share the mayoral term with a local third party organization, the Charter Committee, with whom the Democrats governed in an electoral alliance.
This led to the one-year term. (Since then, Cincinnati has switched to a direct election for mayor.) In the city council and as mayor, Springer advocated for changing the local election process so that council members would be chosen by districts rather than the current “9X” at-large system (better representing neighborhood interests).
However, his efforts (as well as those of everyone else who has supported such a change, to date) were unsuccessful.
In order to concentrate on his campaign for Ohio’s governor in 1982, Springer resigned from his position on the city council in 1981. He sought the Democratic nomination.
Television ads promoting Springer’s campaign made reference to his use of a check to pay a prostitute and stated that he was not scared of the truth, “even if it hurts”.
His political career was put on hiatus after he failed to secure the Democratic party’s candidacy, coming in third place behind former lieutenant governor Richard F. Celeste and Ohio attorney general William J. Brown.
He made a significant contribution to the historic Cincinnati Union Terminal’s survival in the late 1980s. In 2000 and 2004, Springer thought about running for the US Senate, but he decided against it because of his connections to the Jerry Springer talk show.
Due to his advanced age, he also thought about contesting the 2018 race for governor of Ohio. From 1993 through 2018, he continued to be the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s top donor even after he left office.
Career in broadcast
While an undergraduate at Tulane University, Springer began his broadcasting career on the progressive format college radio station WTUL New Orleans FM.
It continued with album-focused rock radio station WEBN-FM, known for its unhurried and irreverent radio approach, while he was still the mayor of Cincinnati.
The radio station broadcast Springer’s commentary under the title “The Springer Memorandum.” His career as a broadcaster was launched by the success of these commentary.
Springer was employed by Cincinnati’s NBC affiliate, WLWT, which at the time had the lowest-rated news show, as a political reporter and pundit.
Later, after being appointed managing editor and chief news anchor, he required a broadcast catchphrase to emulate other renowned newsmen.
Take care of yourself, and each other, he said with the assistance of a few WLWT coworkers. Together with his partner Norma Rashid, he became Cincinnati’s top news anchor in less than two years.
He received 10 local Emmy Awards over his five years as the most well-liked newscaster in the city for his nightly commentary, which Cincinnati radio personality Gary Burbank routinely lampooned.
His “Final Thought” on Jerry Springer would eventually be composed of those remarks. WLWT would use Springer as a pundit until January 1993. He was a resident of Loveland, Ohio, at the time.
NBC-owned station WMAQ-TV in Chicago hired Springer to work as a news analyst in 1997.
The longtime news anchors Ron Magers and Carol Marin resigned as a result of Springer’s chat program, therefore this turned out to be unpopular with viewers. Springer left his position as a pundit after only two performances.
In an episode of Married… with Children, Springer made an appearance as the host of a talk show called The Masculine Feminist, where he argued for women to eventually take over a bowling alley by hosting the men’s bowling night.
To take over Springer’s program with a stripper who leaps around to the delight of the audience, Al Bundy and his friends tie him to a chair.
Although he played the role of “Jerry Farrelly,” Springer played a talk show host who was largely based on himself in the 1998 film Ringmaster.
Ringmaster provides an inside peek at potential guests who apply to a show like to Springer. In the same year, Springer also published Ringmaster, an unconnected autobiography. He jokingly remarked, “I can only think of one title a year.”
Four years later, Springer made an appearance in Brad Paisley’s “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song),” in which the host attempts to break up an altercation between husbands who enjoy fishing and women who do not.
The subtitle of Springer’s paragraph was “My Husband Left Me for a Fish.” In July 2002, the song debuted at the top of the country charts, and three months later it was named CMA Video of the Year.
He portrayed the US president in Dolph Lundgren’s 2004 film The Defender.
He appeared in multiple episodes of George Lopez as Wayne, the ex-boyfriend of Benny Lopez, and had a cameo appearance as “Pete” in July 2007 on Days of Our Lives. Pete was a high roller in Las Vegas who assisted Nick Fallon in winning $50,000.
As a “random” viewer, Springer made a brief cameo appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on October 19, 2007.
Alongside Aoife Mulholland and Leigh Zimmerman, he briefly appeared in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre London in June 2012 as Billy Flynn.
In the second episode of the Netflix series Happy!, he made a cameo as himself.
He had two appearances in 1996: on “The Post-Modern Prometheus” from The X-Files and on an episode of Roseanne from the ninth season.
In the “Starship Poopers” section of The Simpsons Halloween episode, Treehouse of Horror IX, he voiced a cartoon version of himself in 1998.
He made an appearance as himself in a Wayans Brothers episode that same year. He made an appearance with his talk program in the 1999 episode “Mrs. Kraft” of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s third season. He appeared in a Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode that same year.
In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), he made a cameo as himself in a segment starring Dr. Evil and his estranged son Scott Evil.
In an episode of Gary & Mike in 2001 that featured a parody of his talk show, he made an appearance as a claymation version of himself. He had an uncredited appearance as himself on MADtv episode 1301 in 2007.
Jerry Springer Personal Life
Previously, Springer was wed to Micki Velton. After over 20 years of marriage, the pair were divorced in 1994.
Their daughter Katie was born in 1976. She was born without nasal passages and needed surgery right away.
She is also blind and deaf in one ear. She claimed in a 2006 interview that despite her health issues, her parents were always supportive and did not raise her any differently.
A high-tech facility dubbed “Katie’s Corner” for pupils with impairments was built at Park School in Chicago with the assistance of a $230,000 donation from Springer, whose daughter worked there as an assistant teacher.
Jerry Springer Death
At the age of 79, Springer passed away at his home in Evanston, Illinois, on April 27, 2023.
According to a family spokesperson, he received his pancreatic cancer diagnosis a few months before passing away.
Jerry Springer Legacy
Throughout his career, Springer and his program quickly rose to fame, with commentators crediting the program with helping trash TV to come into being.
The Guardian stated that Springer “changed US television for better and worse” after his passing.
Despite his contentious career, he had a sizable following among millennials because his show became increasingly popular throughout their formative years, earning him the nickname “millennials’ babysitter” by the Los Angeles Times.
The new television format that Springer introduced was credited with encouraging conflict among its guests.
According to USA Today, he served as an inspiration for other tabloid talk shows like Maury and The Steve Wilkos Show, which was hosted by a former security guard who also appeared as a guest presenter on Jerry Springer’s show.
According to Forbes, Springer’s influence “will live on forever” on the television industry.
Springer’s program was described as “a US cultural pariah, synonymous with lurid drama” by The Associated Press.
David Yontef praised Springer as the “architect of reality TV” in an interview. The Irish Times described Springer’s “The Jerry Springer Formula” as “straightforward, despicable, and ingenious” in an obituary for him, adding that Springer had altered the “television medium” with it.
The BBC referred to Springer as a “era-defining TV host” and remarked that he had broadcast “the fringes of society to a global audience.”
The majority of the songs on Springer’s 1995 Fiddle Fish Records CD Dr. Talk were covers of other country songs. Springer gave the Northwestern University School of Law’s commencement speech on May 16, 2008.
He earned a standing ovation from roughly half the audience, and evaluations of his address were generally favorable, despite the fact that many students had opposed the university’s choice of speaker.
Later, he clarified that the topic of his speech was “the ethical decisions we all have to make in whatever business we go.
Jerry Springer Cause of death
Jerry Springer cause of death. Read more