Joseph Wapner, judge on "The People's Court" passes away at 97

He returned to his Los Angeles home on Friday and was under hospice care until he passed away on Sunday. Millions of Americans welcomed the retired Los Angeles judge, with his grandfatherly appearance, into their living rooms every weekday.

TMZ reports that Wapner was hospitalized this week due to breathing issues and his status worsened. The series was the first reality show of its kind, using an arbitrage-based system to settle small claims disputes.

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According to KNBC, Wapner was a decorated World War II veteran who graduated from law school at USC in 1948, then entered private practice the following year.

Naturally, Wapner became part of the pop culture framework.

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Before he became a TV judge, Judge Wapner spent 18 years with Los Angeles County Superior Court. The show\u0027s star, Judge Joseph Wapner, helped usher in a slew of imitators over the following decades, from Judge Judy \/em to Judge Joe Brown \/em . He passed away on Sunday morning. He came out of retirement to helm "The People's Court" from 1981 to 1993. "Three minutes to Wapner", he told Tom Cruise in a scene. In his time on The People's Court, Wapner received four Emmy nominations and he also earned a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

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