‘People’s Court’ Judge Joseph Wapner dies at 97

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Judge Joseph Albert Wapner (Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Joseph Wapner, a former judge and the first star of the ongoing reality courtroom series “The People’s Court”, has died. He was 97, according to TMZ.

Wapner was hospitalized last week with breathing problems and he was taken to his West L.A. home Friday under hospice care. He died Sunday morning.

Wapner presided over The People’s Court for 12 seasons, from 1981 to 1993. 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.

He was appointed by Governor Pat Brown to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1959 and served two years before being elevated to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where he served for 18 years before retiring.