Joseph Wapner – who became famous as the first judge on TV’s The People’s Court – has died at the age of 97.
Wapner reportedly passed away on Sunday after being hospitalized last week upon suffering breathing problems. His condition worsened and he was transferred to hospice care at his home on Friday.
Judge Wapner presided over the ground-breaking court series from its premiere in 1981 until its initial cancellation in 1993. The series was later relaunched in 1997.
In total, Wapner appeared on 2,484 episodes over 12 seasons.
In 1998, he starred on Judge Wapner’s Animal Court, which aired for two seasons.
Prior to his Hollywood career, the former Los Angeles Superior Court judge served in the army during WWII and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
He is survived by his wife Mickey and their two sons. His daughter, Sarah, passed away in 2015.
Our thoughts and prayers goes out to the Wapners.
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