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Judge Joseph Wapner

  • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
  • Birthday: November 15
Date of passing: 
February 26, 2017

Joseph Wapner was an American judge and television personality. He was the first star of the ongoing reality courtroom series The People's Court. The court show's first run in syndication, with Wapner presiding as judge, lasted from 1981 to 1993, for 12 seasons and 2,484 episodes. While the show's second run has been presided over by multiple judges, Wapner was the sole judge to preside during the court show's first run.

Joseph Wapner was an American judge and television personality. He was the first star of the ongoing reality courtroom series The People's Court. The court show's first run in syndication, with Wapner presiding as judge, lasted from 1981 to 1993, for 12 seasons and 2,484 episodes. While the show's second run has been presided over by multiple judges, Wapner was the sole judge to preside during the court show's first run.

Wapner's 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. Until the summer of 2013, Wapner also held the title of longest reigning arbiter over The People's Court. Five years after 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).

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Judge Joseph Wapner

Judge Joseph Wapner

Photo credit: 
AP