The People's Court judge Joseph Wapner dies aged 97

Joseph Wapner, 97, passed away Sunday morning after being hospitalized for breathing problems, the website said. He was admitted to a publicly unnamed medical establishment, before being transferred to the care of a hospice worker at his West Los Angeles residence.

Before joining the world of television, he served as a Los Angeles County judge for 20 years.

The entertainment publication additionally notes that Wapner's condition worsened sometime after his hospital visit, but did not state the main reason for his illness or his sudden passing. He was on the show for 12 seasons, ending his run in 1993.

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Naturally, Wapner became part of the pop culture framework.

Gabriel Wapner, the judge's grandson, confirmed the death to The Washington Post Sunday. Two years after he retired, he got the job as the presiding judge for The People's Court.

A 1989 poll conducted by the Washington Post showed that while only 9 percent of people could name the chief justice of the US 54 percent knew that Wapner was the judge on The People's Court.

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The judge was also parodied on Saturday Night Live and in 1986, Wapner appeared on The Tonight Show to settle a dispute between David Letterman and Johnny Carson over damage inflicted to the headlight of Letterman's vehicle.

"When "The People's Court" came along, I had an opportunity to really teach people about law".

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