Joseph Wapner, American judge, Died at 97


Joseph Albert Wapner was born on November 15, 1919, and died on February 26, 2017.

He was an American judge and television personality.

Wapner was the first star of the ongoing reality courtroom series The People’s Court.

Initially, he court show’s run in syndication, with Wapner presiding as the judge, lasted from 1981 to 1993, for 12 seasons and 2,484 episodes.

As the show took a second broadcast it was presided over by multiple judges, he was the sole judge to preside during the court show’s first run.

His tenure on the program made him the first jurist of arbitration-based reality court shows, what is now a most popular trend in the judicial genre.

Reaching the summer of 2013, Wapner also held the title of longest reigning arbiter over The People’s Court.

But, by the end of the court show’s 2012–2013 season, Marilyn Milian captured this title from him and became the longest-reigning judge over the series.

But after five years presiding over The People’s Court, Wapner returned to television as a judge on the nontraditional courtroom series, Judge Wapner’s Animal Court, lasting for two seasons (1998–1999 and 1999–2000).

He was active in Jewish causes, including sitting on the board of a Jewish school.

He married his wife, Mildred “Mickey” Nebenzahl, in 1946.

They had a daughter Sarah, who died from heart disease in May 2015.

The couple also had two sons who became attorneys, David Miron-Wapner and Fred Wapner, who also became a judge (current with the Los Angeles County Superior Court).

Joseph died from respiratory failure at his home in Los Angeles.

Joseph Wapner passed away at 95 years old.