QUEENS - Jerry Springer, the former television host who made a name for himself by providing outrageous and sometimes shocking content to his viewers, has died at the age of 79.
While Springer was born in London, England during World War II, he spent much of his childhood in Forest Hills, Queens.
Springer's rise to fame began in the 1990s, when he launched his eponymous talk show, "The Jerry Springer Show." The program quickly became a cultural phenomenon, with Springer serving as the ringmaster of a circus-like atmosphere that featured guests fighting, arguing, and even brawling on stage.
Springer was unapologetic about the show's content, arguing that he was giving the audience what it wanted and that it was simply "escapist entertainment."
The Jerry Springer Show was on the air for 27 years, and at one point, his TV ratings were higher than Oprah Winfrey's.
"Jerry would be the first to laugh about what he had done here, make fun of himself. He was always in on the joke," said a friend, gossip colonist Rob Shuter. "I would argue that we wouldn't have never had the Kardashians, The Real Housewives or even the Jersey Shore had it not been for Jerry. He changed the landscape for better or maybe worse."
In addition to his work in television, Springer had a varied career that included stints as a lawyer, politician, and news anchor. He served on the city council in Cincinnati, Ohio, and later served as the city's mayor. After leaving politics, Springer worked as a news anchor in Cincinnati and later in Chicago.