Judy Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, has presided over the highest-rated courtroom show for more than 20 years. Born Judith Susan Blum, Sheindlin graduated from American University before earning her JD from New York Law School in 1965. She began working as a prosecutor in the family court system, handling domestic violence and child abuse cases, until Mayor Ed Koch appointed her as a criminal court judge in 1982. She was then promoted to supervisory judge in the family court system in 1986. In 1993 she was featured on 60 Minutes, and the resulting attention led to the 1996 publication of her first book, Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining. In 1996, when she was approached to become a judge on a reality courtroom series, she agreed, seeing the show as a way to teach people to take responsibility for their actions. Judge Judy, which handles small claims cases, quickly became a fan favorite due to Sheindlin’s wit and no-nonsense manner, making her a pop culture icon. The show earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, a Daytime Emmy in 2013, and a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest running court show in 2016.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Judy Sheindlin." (Viewed on July 16, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/shiendlin-judy>.