Throughout an illustrious career, Jerry Springer has become a cultural and civic icon. In addition to talk show host, he has been the mayor of Cincinnati, political pundit, lawyer, award-winning newscaster, country recording artist, and international emcee and TV personality. He has been in movies and on Broadway, he's a progressive talk-radio broadcaster and recently Springer won America's heart with his ballroom dancing.
Today, because of the lasting popularity of his talk show, Springer is a favorite guest speaker at college campuses throughout the United States. In recent years, Springer was welcomed at Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Northwestern, University of Miami, University of Southern California, San Francisco State, Emory, George Washington, American University, and his undergraduate alma mater, Tulane, as well as other academic institutions. In 2000, Springer was personally invited by the Oxford Union of Oxford University to participate in their guest lecture series, during which he broke all attendance records for that long-standing series.
"Ringmaster" hit bookstore shelves in November 1998; penned by Springer, it was a personal account of his experiences along with remembrances from his childhood and professional career. In November 1998, Springer made his first venture into feature films, starring in "Ringmaster," a fictionalized movie chronicling his television talk show. In 1999, Springer teamed up with Mike Myers, where he portrayed himself in the hit movie "Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me."
During the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Springer appeared to promote his starring role in the feature film "Citizen Verdict." Springer played the producer of a courtroom reality TV show, which co-starred Armand Assante and Roy Scheider.
Everyone knew Springer had "arrived" as a true cultural icon when he was the featured character in "The Simpsons'" 1998 Halloween special. He has also graced the cover of Rolling Stone, Esquire, New York Magazine, among others, and he was recently featured in Vanity Fair's "Vanities." Barbara Walters chose Springer as one of the 10 Most Fascinating People in her 1998 special. In 2007, Springer hosted "Nothing But The Truth," the forerunner of Fox's "Moment Of Truth."
In June 2009, Springer brought his comedic skills and theatrical style to London's West End, where he starred as Billy Flynn in the hit musical production of "Chicago." "There's the sheer pleasure of watching a genial TV pundit in a fish-out-of-water situation and having a good time," critic Warwick Thompson of Bloomberg News said of Springer's musical debut.
In August 2009, he debuted in "Chicago" on Broadway and then went on to tour with the show in Atlanta and Philadelphia.
A parody of "The Jerry Springer Show," "Jerry Springer The Opera," played in London to sold out crowds at the prestigious National Theater and garnered accolades akin to the Tony Awards. The opera toured throughout England and received outstanding reviews upon its New York premier at Carnegie Hall in January of 2008.
Additionally, he has hosted a variety show in South Africa for M-Net. The South African program was broadcast in more than 40 African nations, featuring interviews with celebrities, monologues and skits in front of a live studio audience, and ranked among the most popular television shows in South Africa. All proceeds from the show went to AIDS charities.
In addition to recording two CDs in Nashville, one aptly titled "Dr. Talk," Springer has twice served as the master of ceremonies for the Miss World Pageant and in the summer of 2008 hosted the Miss Universe Pageant broadcast around the world from Vietnam. Springer added a Broadway appearance to his distinguished list of achievements, starring for a week in the production of the Rocky Horror Show Live.
Born in London in 1944, just after his family fled the Holocaust, Springer immigrated at age 5 to New York City with his family. For Springer and his family, America represented a place where people could live without persecution.
His college years took him south to Louisiana, where he earned a degree in political science at Tulane University. He then received his law degree from Northwestern University in Illinois. In 1968, his life changed during a dinner meeting with then New York Senator Robert Kennedy, who was running for president behind the force of social change. Springer signed on with the Kennedy campaign, but shortly thereafter felt the horror of Kennedy's assassination along with the rest of the world. That moment in history compelled him to the political action he has never abandoned.
After joining a law firm in Cincinnati, he spearheaded the movement in Ohio to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, culminating with his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony supporting ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution. He ran for Congress in Ohio in 1970, nearly beating the entrenched Republican incumbent. In 1971, he won a seat on the Cincinnati City Council and served five terms before becoming mayor at the age of 33, with the largest plurality in the city's history.
After an unsuccessful bid for governor of Ohio in 1982, Springer was courted by the big three networks, ultimately signing with the then last place Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT. As their anchor and managing editor, Springer took WLWT to first place. It was his nightly commentaries, the precursor to his now legendary "Final Thought," that landed him seven Emmys. Springer was voted television's best anchor for five consecutive years by readers of Cincinnati Magazine.
In May of 2008, Springer was invited to be commencement speaker at his alma mater, Northwestern University School of Law. Springer, JD 1968, ended his address with a story about his parents, who escaped the Holocaust and immigrated to the United States with Springer and his sister in 1949. "In one generation here in America, my family went from near-total annihilation to the ridiculously privileged life I live today because of my show," Springer said, his voice wavering slightly. "Indeed in America, all things are possible."
Springer became a morning radio talk show host with the debut of "Springer On The Radio" on January 17, 2005. Broadcast in 85 markets including many Air America affiliates, Springer said, "For too long, the radio airwaves have been dominated by conservative talk." Springer ended the radio show after two years, but enjoyed the opportunity to offer a progressive voice.
America fell in love with Springer's warmth and self-effacing humor during his stint on "Dancing With The Stars" in the fall of 2006. Springer waltzed his way into America's hearts, finishing in the top five.
Springer hosted NBC's hit series "America's Got Talent" for two seasons (2007 and 2008), showcasing America's hottest performers. He is hosting a live revue of "America's Got Talent" in Las Vegas and touring throughout the country, and he is also host of the hit Game Show Network program, "Baggage."