Joseph Wapner, the retired judge who literally changed television as the judge on "The People's Court," has died.
Wapner became an instant sensation when the show debuted in September, 1981. "The People's Court" was the first TV reality show, and it opened the door to many more, including a slew of TV court shows.
He was opinionated, passionate and irascible as he heard thousands of cases during his 12-year run.
He was hospitalized last week with breathing problems and his condition worsened, to the point he was taken to his West L.A. home Friday under hospice care. He died Sunday morning.
Judge Wapner was married to wife Mickey for 70 years. He had 3 kids.
Joseph Wapner was 97.