Joseph Wapner, Judge on 'The People's Court,' Dies at 97

Miranda GreerФев 27, 2017

Before joining the world of television, he served as a Los Angeles County judge for 20 years.

Before reality TV was truly reality TV and before Jerry Springer was really Jerry Springer, and before all the judge shows on TV were really judge shows on TV there was The People's Court. He heard thousands of cases during his 12 years on the show, according to the entertainment website TMZ. Millions of Americans welcomed the retired Los Angeles judge, with his grandfatherly appearance, into their living rooms every weekday.

Joseph Wapner was hospitalized a week ago with breathing problems and had been under home hospice care.

"He behaved like a judge who had been on the bench a little too long, and that's what made it work", Robert Thompson, a television and pop culture scholar at Syracuse University, told the Washington Post.

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Wapner leaves behind two other children and a wife, Mickey, whom he married in 1946 at the age of 27.

Wapner's son, David Wapner, said his father passed away on Sunday morning at home in his sleep.

After his run on The People's Court ended, Judge Wapner wrote two books and made a few guest appearances.

"When "The People's Court" came along, I had an opportunity to really teach people about law".

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