Jerry Springer Dead at 79

Jerry Springer

Getty Jerry Springer appears at an event.

Former talk show host and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Jerry Springer has died at the age of 79. According to TMZ, Springer had been diagnosed with cancer and his condition worsened in the past few days. The initial diagnosis came a few months ago, and Springer died at his Chicago home.

The news of Springer’s death comes just days after the “Dancing with the Stars” family lost another iconic show veteran. Judge Len Goodman died on April 22 at the age of 78 after a short cancer battle.

Jerry Springer Competed on Season 3 of ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Springer hit the dance floor with partner Kym Johnson in season 3, which aired during the fall of 2006. As noted, he was 62 years old when he took on the challenge, and he did not expect to last for long. The cast for his season included contenders such as Mario Lopez, Joey Lawrence, Emmitt Smith, and big personalities Tucker Carlson, Vivica A. Fox, Shanna Moakler, and Harry Hamlin. When he first met with his partner, Springer jokingly told Johnson, “The only thing you gotta know is CPR.” He insisted he had no chance of winning, and admitted, “This is not a combo you would have put together” by recruiting him to join the cast.

When he talked with the media outlet, he was far enough into rehearsals to be feeling it. He joked that the show always recruited “one old guy,” and he touted, “I’m the guy. I’m so honored! It’s gonna be — everything hurts. My hair hurts.” He also joked that for him, simply standing up was rigorous, so the training he navigated for “Dancing with the Stars” was a major challenge. He quipped, “You got all these young people and they’ve had good training, they’re talented, they’re good-looking, their bodies are really cut. My body’s in shape, but the shape is a circle.” Despite assuming he would not win the mirror-ball trophy, he did have a big reason to do his best: his daughter, Katie.

At the time that Springer joined “Dancing with the Stars,” his daughter was slated to get married a few months later. He recalled having discussions and suggesting, “Wouldn’t it be great if I knew how to dance at my daughter’s wedding?” His goal in doing the show was to be able to do his daughter proud at her wedding. He wanted to last long enough to learn the waltz, which came a few weeks into the season. As he told Bethenny Frankel on her talk show several years later, Katie was in the “Dancing with the Stars” audience the night he performed the dance, and he did get to waltz with her at her wedding.

Springer Was Much More Than a Talk Show Host

As WLWT detailed, Springer started his role as a talk show host in the 90s. Prior to that, however, he had been a news anchor and commentator, and he had been the mayor of Cincinnati in 1977. Springer’s syndicated talk show “The Jerry Springer Show” was known for being dramatic and chaotic, and it aired for nearly three decades. TMZ noted it debuted in 1991, and it began as a politically-themed show. Prior to being the mayor of Cincinatti, Springer had a failed run for Congress and briefly served on the City Council for Cincinatti. After ending his iconic daytime show, Springer did a few seasons of a show he titled “Judge Jerry,” appeared on “The Masked Singer,” and did a podcast for some time.

A lifelong friend of Springer’s, Jene Galvin, told Cincinatti’s WLWT, “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.”