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Judge Wapner Passes Away at 97

Joseph Wapner, the retired judge who literally changed television as the judge on “The People’s Court,” has died … Nope! News has learned.

Wapner became an instant sensation when the show debuted in September, 1981.  “The People’s Court” was the first TV reality show, and it opened the door to many more, including a slew of TV court shows.

He was opinionated, passionate and irascible as he heard thousands of cases during his 12-year run.




The show became a touchpoint for pop culture.  It was parodied on “Saturday Night Live” and many other shows.  Dustin Hoffman’s “3 minutes to Wapner” in “Rain Man” became an iconic expression.

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