West News Wire: Former mayor and news anchor Jerry Springer passed away on Thursday at the age of 79. His namesake TV programme featured a three-ring circus of dysfunctional families eager to expose all on weekday afternoons, including fights, profanities, and blurred images of nudity.
At its height, “The Jerry Springer Show” was a ratings juggernaut, a cultural outcast in the US, and a byword for gory drama. Over the course of its 27-year run, the daytime talk show famous for its chair-throwing and bleep-filled arguments became a popular American guilty pleasure, even surpassing Oprah Winfrey’s programme at one point.
Springer referred to it as “escapist entertainment,” but some believed that the programme was causing a loss in American social standards by dumbing them down.
“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,” said Jene Galvin, a family spokesperson and friend of Springer’s since 1970, in a statement. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humour will live on.”
Springer died peacefully at home in suburban Chicago after a brief illness, the statement said
On his Twitter profile, Springer jokingly declared himself as “Talk show host, ringmaster of civilization’s end.” He also often had told people, tongue in cheek, that his wish for them was “may you never be on my show.”
The show terminated in 2018 after more than 4,000 episodes, without wavering from its fundamental salaciousness: some of its final episodes had names like “Stripper Sex Turned Me Straight,” “Stop Pimpin’ My Twin Sister,” and “Hooking Up With My Therapist.”
In the late 1990s, as his daily programme drew close to 7 million viewers, Springer provided an argument against disgust in a “Too Hot For TV” video.
“Look, television does not and must not create values; it is merely a picture of all that is out there — the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Springer said. “Believe this: The politicians and companies that seek to control what each of us may watch are a far greater danger to America and our treasured freedom than any of our treasured freedoms,” he continued.
He also contended that the people on his show volunteered to be subjected to whatever ridicule or humiliation awaited them.
Gerald Norman Springer was born February 13, 1944, in a London underground railway station being used as a bomb shelter. His parents, Richard and Margot, were German Jews who fled to England during the Holocaust, in which other relatives were killed in Nazi gas chambers. They arrived in the United States when their son was 5 and settled in the Queens borough of New York City, where Springer got his first Yankees baseball gear on his way to becoming a lifelong fan.
He studied political science at Tulane University and got a law degree from Northwestern University. He was active in politics much of his adult life, mulling a run for governor of Ohio as recently as 2017.
He entered the arena as an aide in Robert F Kennedy’s ill-fated 1968 presidential campaign. Springer, working for a Cincinnati law firm, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1970 before being elected to city council in 1971.