Lesser Known Facts About Jerry Springer

On April 27, 2023, America lost one of its most iconic talk show hosts when Jerry Springer died at the age of 79. "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," a spokesman for the family said in a statement, per the BBC. "He's irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart, and humor will live on."

Springer, known for his decades-long career, came into the limelight in the early '90s when his eponymous show debuted. Over time, "The Jerry Springer Show," racked up incredible success, a feat attributed to its controversial topics and its many bizarre guests. At its peak in the late '90s, "The Jerry Springer Show" recorded over 8 million views on daytime television, landing it a top spot as one of the most watched shows at the time, as reported by The Guardian.

Despite constant criticisms, Springer always rose up to defend the integrity of his show. "If some wealthy, famous person goes on television and talks about who he or she has been sleeping with, we can't get enough of it. We cheer them. But if it's some person of low income, all of a sudden we say trash," he once defended, per BBC. There was however a lot more to Jerry Springer than his famous eponymous show.

He was born at an underground railway

When Jerry Springer was born in February 1944, there was very little indicating he was meant for greatness. In 2012, the talk show host opened up about his birth, revealing that even though he was raised in America, he was actually born in a subway in London. "My birth was a little bit out of the ordinary because I was born at the Highgate – you call them tube stations, I say subway," he explained to the BBC. Speaking further, the veteran television host explained the reason behind his strange place of birth — he was born during World War II. "And during the war women who were in the ninth month would often spend the night in the subway stations because those were the bomb shelters," he added.

But even though the war ended a year after his birth, Jerry had a constant reminder of the horrible times in his parents Margot and Richard Springer who were forced to flee Poland just before the war broke out. Like many who survived the war, Margot and Richard were never the same as confirmed by Jerry. "They'd talk about the War in general terms, and then stop in mid-sentence. It was too painful for them," he recounted to the Independent in 2008. According to Jerry, though his parents led normal lives in America, it was only possible because they repressed the pain and horror they battled with.

Before TV, Jerry Springer had a political career

Television brought him fame but before he became the poster child for trash tv, Jerry Springer had his feet grounded in the political scene. In the '60s, Springer bagged a bachelor's degree in political science from Tulane University before going on to work as a campaign adviser on Robert F. Kennedy's team. However following Kennedy's assassination in 1968, Springer forged on with his political interest, eventually running for Congress in 1970, per People.

It wasn't until 1971, however, when Springer was elected a member of the Cincinnati City Council that Springer eventually kicked off his political career. Following a scandal revealing he solicited the services of a sex worker, Springer resigned from his role in 1974, only to re-run the following year. Not only did Springer go on to be re-elected in 1977 and 1979. The highlight of Springer's political career however came in 1977 when he was picked by the council to serve a one-year term as mayor of Cincinnati.

After about a decade serving as a councilman, Springer had his eyes set on a higher seat. In 1982, the Tulane alum attempted to run for governor of Ohio. Sadly Springer's bid was cut short after failing to grab the Democratic ticket, as reported by The New York Times.

Jerry Springer once appeared on The Masked Singer

In what would mark one of his last television appearances, in 2022, Jerry Springer contested on season eight of "The Masked Singer" where he performed under the name 'Beetle." After performing anonymously for five weeks, the television host was eliminated and his identity, subsequently revealed. And while he might be no professional singer, Springer's performances on the show left judges singing his praises. "When I sing, people get involved because they have to guess where the notes were supposed to have been. It's like interactive." Springer quipped in response to the judges' comments. 

When asked by host Nick Cannon why he decided to go on the show, Springer shared that he liked the idea of doing something fun. "There's so many serious things going on in the world so to be able to do something that's just fun and silly, I really appreciate," he explained. In a later interview however, the former Cincinnati mayor added that he was also  inspired to go on the show by his grandson. "And my grandson would really get a kick out of it. I couldn't tell him until last night," he told TV Insider. "That's really the reason I had time to do it, and it's just a fun thing to do." Springer might not have won the show but going by his words, this was one experience he held close to his heart.

Jerry Springer Show was not the only show he hosted

He might have been best known for his eponymous television show, but Jerry Springer has a few more hosting credits under his belt. Between 2007 and 2008, Springer hosted seasons 2 and 3 of NBC's "America's Got Talent," before leaving to pursue other projects. "I've had a wonderful time serving as host on 'America's Got Talent," he said in a statement at the time, per The Hollywood Reporter. "These last two seasons, working with everyone associated with the show and all the extraordinary and talented performers across America has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me." Interestingly, outside of reality shows, Springer also racked up a bit of pageantry experience in his decades-long hosting career. For two consecutive years — in 2000 and 2001 — Springer hosted the Miss World beauty pageant. In 2007, he also hosted the Miss Universe as reported by Today at the time. 

Following the cancelation of "The Jerry Springer Show" in 2018, Springer took up another role with NBC, this time, serving as a host on "Judge Jerry," a courtroom show that aired for only 3 seasons. But despite its short-lived status, Springer enjoyed being on the show. "I love doing ["Judge Jerry"] because it's the first grownup job I've had in 30 years," he once said in an interview with The New York Post. "I have to do research and I have to remember what I learned in law school and practicing law. I really do my homework."

He did a bit of acting

Hosting duty was apparently not the only thing Jerry Springer was good at, the late television also tried his hands at acting. According to Screenrant, Springer is one of the many stars who at some point made an appearance on Fox's "Married... With Children." In the 1998 movie "Ringmaster," Springer was cast as the fictional version of himself, playing the role of a television host also named Jerry. Given the similarity between the role and his real life, Springer had little to no challenge taking on the project. "It wasn't a great stretch for me but it was fun because it really was my first major part in a movie," he told CNN in an interview at the time. In 2004, the veteran television talk show host landed another major role when he was cast to portray the President of the United States in Dolph Lundgren's "The Defender."

Though Springer failed to land any more major acting roles, he was a top choice for a number of cameo appearances in very many different television shows.  As listed on his IMDb page, back in 1996, Springer was on "Roseanne," appearing as himself in an episode of season 9. Similarly, the legendary talk show host landed a cameo appearance in Netflix's live-action series "Happy!" where he acted as himself.

Jerry Springer shared a close bond with his daughter, Katie

Television might have been his forte but behind the scenes, there was nothing Jerry Springer loved more than his role as a dad. The legendary talk show host became a father in 1976 after welcoming daughter Katie with his the-wife Micki Velton. While Katie has since led a private life, the bond she shared with her father has not gone unnoticeable. In 2006, Springer contested on "Dancing With the Stars," — a request he agreed to because he wanted to learn how to waltz for his daughter's wedding later that year. "I originally told them no, I didn't want to do it," he admitted to Access Hollywood in an interview. "But then I talked with Katie about it and we thought, you know what, this could be a way to combine what I do in life, which is show business, with the wedding."

Following his death, Kym Johnson, Springer's partner recounted her experience with the iconic talk-show host while also shedding more light on the special bond he shared with Katie. "The love they had for each other was so beautiful," Johnson told People. "It was great that I could be a part of that moment for him and Katie."

Katie, who is legally blind and deaf in one ear also previously opened up to Access Hollywood about her relationship with Springer whom she credits for supporting her through many of life's challenges.

He had complicated feelings about his show's legacy

Jerry Springer might have spent a large part of his career defending his eponymous show, but the veteran host also had some reservations. When asked in November 2022 if he considers himself a key figure in modern-day reality shows, Springer explained he felt underserving of the title.  "No, I just apologize. I'm so sorry. What have I done? I've ruined the culture," he said during a November 2022 appearance on David Yontef's podcast. "I just hope hell isn't that hot because I burn real easy. I'm very light-complected, and that kind of worries me."

Springer had also previously shared his honest opinion about "The Jerry Springer Show" and the reason for its decades-long popularity. "It's stupid. And it's got a niche, and no one else kind of goes in that niche, so I think that's one of the reasons it's lasted," he said while appearing on the Today Show back in 2017. And despite his charming personality, Springer believed the show's ridiculous nature was what viewers enjoyed the most. ""No one's watching because of me," he added. "They're watching because the stories are crazy and the people are outrageous."