Judge Mills Lane Dies: Syndicated TV Judge & Boxing Referee Was 85

Judge Mills Lane
Everett Collection

Mills Lane, the judge and former boxer who presided over three seasons of the show Judge Mills Lane, has died at the age of 85, according to his son, Tommy Lane.

Lane was known as a boxer and boxing referee before his time in court. His diminutive stature, fighting at just 147 pounds, didn’t stop him from gaining respect in the boxing world. His famous phrase “Let’s get it on!” became a catchphrase during his court show — carried over from his time in the ring.

After serving in the Marines in the 1950s, he had a successful career as a welterweight boxing champion, holding a professional record of 10 wins, one loss, and six knockouts. He went on to acquire a law degree and eventually became a District Judge in 1990.

As a referee, he presided over one of the most infamous boxing matches in the history of the sport — the 1997 heavyweight match when Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield‘s ear. Lane pulled the fighters apart, splattered with Hollyfield’s blood, and quickly disqualified Tyson from the match.

His popularity grew after that match, and he retired from ring duty in 1998 after his show, Judge Mills Lane, was greenlit. The series ran for three seasons until 2001, rolling out 700 episodes in that time. The series is currently available to view on PlutoTV.

He suffered a serious stroke in 2002 that left him partially paralyzed and affected his speech.

“It was a quick departure. He was comfortable and he was surrounded by his family. We had a great last couple of days with him,” Tommy Lane told the Reno Gazette. “He hated funerals. We might do some sort of send-off, celebration at a bar, or something like that, but not a traditional funeral.”

Beyond his own show, he also appeared in Celebrity Deathmatch, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Norm, Inside Schwartz, The Challenge, and WWE Raw.