Source: NA / Getty

Judge Joseph Wapner has passed away. He was 97.

As the first presiding judge on the landmark reality courtroom series The People’s Court, Wapner became the face of syndicated justice for a 12 season stretch. Not lacking in credentials, Wapner had put in roughly twenty years of service as a L.A. County Superior Court judge before making the leap to television in 1981. On the program, Wapner became a valuable source of education on the legal process through a non-traditional medium. A frequently trotted out 1989 Washington Post poll revealed that 54% of Americans could name the judge on The People’s Court, but it was only a flimsy 9% that could identify the U.S.

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TMZ reports that Wapner was hospitalized this week due to breathing issues and his status worsened. Wapner was taken to home for hospice care on Friday. He passed away on Sunday morning.


Article Courtesy of Uproxx

Picture Courtesy of NA and Getty Images

Video Courtesy of The People’s Court and YouTube

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