Legendary Talk-Show Host Jerry Springer Dead at 79

Legendary talk-show host Jerry Springer has died at age 79. Springer's eponymous "Jerry Springer" show became a sensation in the 1990s, often criticized and praised in equal measure for bringing taboo topics to daytime TV. In a statement to POPSUGAR, Springer's family confirmed that the host died "peacefully" at home in suburban Chicago.

"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," the family's spokesperson said. "He's irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart, and humor will live on."

Before his time as talk-show royalty, Springer was a lawyer and politician. He had an unsuccessful congressional bid in 1970 but was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 1971. In 1977, he was chosen by the council to serve as mayor for one year. Then Springer became a political reporter and commentator for Cincinnati's WLWT, where he came up with his signature line: "Take care of yourself, and each other." He eventually became the primary news anchor and managing editor.

In 1991, WLWT launched "Jerry Springer," which was modeled after "The Phil Donahue Show." In 1994, the show retooled toward tabloid content. Often, people confronted friends and family about topics like sex, adultery, or other taboos, and things often exploded into violence. "Jerry Springer" ended in 2018, and a year later he debuted "Judge Jerry," which was canceled in 2022. Spring also appeared on "The Masked Singer" in 2022.

Springer said in a November 2022 interview that he felt his show "ruined the culture." On an episode of the "Behind the Velvet Rope" podcast, host David Yontef asked him if he considers himself the "grandad of reality TV." Springer didn't want to accept the title, and said instead, "No, I just apologize. I'm so sorry. What have I done? I've ruined the culture," per Insider. He joked, "I just hope hell isn't that hot because I burn real easy. I'm very light-complected, and that kind of worries me."

As for his showbiz success, Springer told the podcast he was "just a schlub who got lucky."