“The cases are real. The rulings are final. This is Judge Judy.”
For 25 years, Judy Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, has graced US televisions presiding over some of the most clear-cut court cases and others that have left her saying, “I eat morons like you for breakfast.”
Judge Judy has received three Emmys and has some of the highest ratings among syndicated television shows. It has also elevated her to the ranks of the highest-paid TV program hosts.
But now that Judge Judy’s reign is ending, what does the 79-year-old have planned for the future?
Fans will be relieved to learn that she does not intend to retire, at least not for now.
“I’m not tired. I don’t play golf or tennis. I do not want to learn how to play mahjong, chess, or checkers. I know what I like to do,” she said to The Hollywood Reporter.
The path to the summit
Judy Sheindlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 21, 1942, to a dentist father and a mother she characterized as a “meat-and-potatoes kind of gal.”
She graduated from New York’s James Madison High School and moved on to American University in Washington, DC, where she majored in government. She moved on to study law at New York Law School after graduating from America.
She graduated in 1965 and cleared the state bar examination the following year. She was hired as a corporate lawyer for a cosmetic company soon after graduation. But after two years, she recognized that the life of a corporate lawyer was not for her and quit.
Spouse and family
After leaving her first employment, she raised her two children with her first husband, Ronald Levy.
Judy married Levy, a juvenile court lawyer, in 1964. The pair married and had two children, Jamie and Adam, in New York.
” I was 20, almost 21. So I became a mom. All my friends were getting married; there were still those pressures even in those years,” Judge Judy told Fox News in 2017.
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images
She also spoke favorably of her first husband, but the couple disagreed. She had a new position as a prosecutor in New York’s family court system by 1972.
After 12 years of marriage, she divorced her first spouse in 1976.
” My first husband is a lovely, lovely man, but he always viewed my job as a hobby, and there came a time when I resented that,” she explained.
Judy had difficulty being there for her children while also dealing with the sometimes emotional family court proceedings by 1976. However, she encountered Jerry Sheindlin, an attorney, less than six months later.
Judy was blessed with a new, loving husband when the pair married in 1976; she also became a stepmother to Jerry’s three children from a previous relationship, Nicole, Gregory, and Jonathan Sheindlin.
The relationship encountered some bumps over the years. In 1990, Judy and Jerry separated. They divorced for a short time before remarrying in 1991.
Judy and Jerry have been married for 45 years and have raised five children together. Three of them have also followed in their parents’ paths and pursued careers in law. Judy’s first husband’s son, Adam, is a Putnam County, New York, district attorney.
Judy Sheindlin (C), her husband Jerry Sheindlin (R), and their daughter Nicole Sheindlin (Getty Images)
Judy’s stepchildren, Gregory and Nicole, became attorneys after their parents’ inspiration.
In addition, Judy, who adores children, has 13 grandkids whom she lavishes affectionately.
” I spoil them,” Judge Judy said in 2015. “I’m trying to think of how we don’t, but the answer is we do. We don’t think we’re doing it, but their parents are smart. They try to put the skids on it.”
But let’s get back to her professional life. Sheindlin rapidly rose to prominence, and New York Mayor Ed Koch appointed her as a criminal court judge in 1982.
Within four years, she was promoted to supervising judge in the Manhattan section of the family court.
From the courthouse to the screen
Her no-nonsense attitude in New York drew national notice by the early 1990s.
She was profiled in The Los Angeles Times and on 60 Minutes. She then met with an agent and started her journey to becoming one of television’s most recognizable judges.
Following her appearance on 60 Minutes, she took a book contract, and the no-nonsense judge wrote about her courtroom experience.
She was then given a chance to preside over her courtroom series. The People’s Court was on the air, a show she had previously tried and failed to host.
But it all worked out because she was granted her own show on CBS. Her Honor was Sheindlin’s preferred title, but the producing company preferred Hot Bench.
Finally, they decided on the name we’ve all come to know and love over the last two decades: Judge Judy.
Judy, the Magistrate
Sheindlin’s courtroom series has consistently ranked among the best courtroom shows. There was a period when her show started to outperform The Oprah Winfrey Show, and then it consistently outperformed Oprah Winfrey’s show in the ratings for over a decade.
Her program, syndicated to local TV stations, currently has an average of 8 million viewers per day.
Something about her no-nonsense demeanor draws folks in day after day.
That has resulted in her receiving a sizable sum of money, which she claims “has not been a secret.”
According to Forbes, Sheindlin is worth $445 million, owing primarily to the $47 million salary she’s been earning since 2012. And that’s with only 52 days of shooting per year!
While she hasn’t revealed how much Amazon is paying for her upcoming show, she has stated that “the folks at Amazon understood what the parameters were.”
She is one of the wealthiest self-made ladies in the United States. In contrast, Ellen DeGeneres was worth $370 million in 2020. Oprah Winfrey, who used to compete with Sheindlin on daytime television but now runs a media and business empire, was worth $2.7 billion in May 2021.
The Following Part
Sheindlin declared the end of her iconic show in March 2020.
She shared that CBS “wanted to utilize the repeats of my show best because now they have 25 years of reruns” during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
While some fans may want more, it will not be in the same format; Sheindlin thinks it is time to say farewell to the show that has been on the air for 25 years.
“I like it when things are wrapped up in a bow. “Perhaps that’s why the program ends after 25 years,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “No one ever says, ‘Oh, they did that program for 27 years.'” That is not a numerical value! It’s also a good idea to leave everyone desiring more.”
She also stated that, while her time on Judge Judy was ending, she was not ready to retire.
“Why, at my stage in life, would I try to find something else when I already know what I like?” she asked. “And this isn’t a 9-to-5 job. I’ve still got time to see the children I love, the grandchildren growing up very fast, and the cute mate I still get a kick out of.”
Judy Justice, a new program from Sheindlin, will begin production in late summer. It will follow a similar format to Judge Judy, an arbitration-style reality program, but will debut on Amazon’s IMDb TV.
She’s anticipated delivering a certain number of episodes to Amazon by the end of the year, after which the show’s air date will be determined.
“Give me a robe and a case, and I’ll do my job. I had wonderful people producing and directing the Judge Judy program, and a couple of them will be following me to Amazon. That will keep my life on a steady keel.”
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