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Judge Wapner

Judge WapnerAKA Joseph Albert Wapner, Jr.

Born: 15-Nov-1919
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Died: 26-Feb-2017
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: TV Personality

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The People's Court

Military service: US Army (1942-44)

Judge Wapner was appointed to the bench by California Governor Pat Brown in 1959. After a lengthy but not particularly noteworthy career on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench, Wapner retired in 1979, and was soon offered a televised gavel. The People's Court premiered in September of 1981, and Judge Wapner presided over about 7,000 cases. The show was cancelled (or as Wapner puts it, he "retired from television") in 1993.

Judge Judy premiered in 1996 and was soon the most popular courtroom show on television, so The People's Court was revived in 1997 -- but Wapner wasn't invited back. He grumbled about Judge Judy Sheindlin: "She is not portraying a judge as I view a judge should act. She’s discourteous, and she's abrasive. She's not slightly insulting -- she's insulting in capital letters!"

From 1998-2000, Wapner presided over Animal Court, where he resolved claims between pet owners. "Rusty" Burrell, Wapner's TV bailiff on The People's Court, was also his bailiff on Animal Court.

Father: Joseph M. Wapner
Girlfriend: Lana Turner (actress, dated in high school)
Wife: Mickey (m. 1946, until his death, two sons, one daughter)
Son: David
Son: Frederick Wapner (judge)
Daughter: Sarah

    High School: Hollywood High School, Hollywood, CA (1937)
    University: BA Philosophy, University of Southern California (1941)
    Law School: University of Southern California (1948)

    Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity
    Bronze Star
    Purple Heart

    The People's Court Judge (1981-93)

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