How Well Do You Know Judge Judy? 10 Fun Facts About the Court Show TV Star
The TV career of the honorable Judith Sheindlin won’t end when her daytime court show, Judge Judy, caps off its 25-season run next year. Sheindlin is staying on the small screen with a new court program for IMDb TV. (Can we get an “all rise”?!)
The as-yet-untitled Amazon Studios show “will feature no-nonsense, expeditious Judge Sheindlin’s signature adjudication style with a new array of cases, litigants and judgments,” according to Deadline.
In honor of Her Honor, we’ve rounded up 10 fun facts about Sheindlin. The 78-year-old once said, “I can’t stand stupid, and I can’t stand slow,” so let’s get right to the trivia.
1. Growing up, Sheindlin liked to argue so much that her father believed she would become a politician. “It was a good kind of upbringing,” she told WDRB News in 2012. “It gave me a confidence, and when you have confidence that’s the best gift you can give a child.”
2. Sheindlin graduated from college at age 16 and earned her law degree from New York University at 21.
3. Before her TV career, Sheindlin was a prosecutor and a family court judge. “I enjoy going to work every day and each of those jobs were fun the day I said goodbye,” she told WDRB News.
4. Sheindlin’s second husband, Jerry, was a New York Supreme Court judge who also served as a TV judge, like his wife. He presided over The People’s Court from 1999 to 2001, taking over for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who—coincidentally—appointed Judy to the bench in 1982.
5. A 1993 Los Angeles Times profile detailed Sheindlin’s “tart, tough-talking and hopelessly blunt” demeanor—as well as the “scathing criticism from lawyers, defendants and child welfare advocates, who complain that she is needlessly cruel and sarcastic, a loose cannon in the halls of justice [and] someone who should be muzzled, if not retired from the bench.”
6. Sheindlin told the Times that one woman said appearing before her was worse than being at Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp. “But she didn’t give me some records I wanted, and I threatened to put her in jail,” Sheindlin added. “I said, ‘Give me the records, or come to court with a toothbrush.’ So she got the message.”
7. In 2010, Judge Judy became the first daytime program to surpass The Oprah Winfrey Show in viewers in a decade, with an average audience of 10 million viewers for its 15th season, according to Entertainment Weekly.
8. A 2013 Reader’s Digest poll found that Americans found Sheindlin more trustworthy than all nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices at the time—but not as trustworthy as Denzel Washington or Meryl Streep.
9. In 2015, Sheindlin earned the Guinness World Records title for longest career as a TV judge.
10. Sheindlin ranked as the highest-paid TV host of 2018, having earned $147 million over a one-year span, according to USA Today. If she still works 52 days per year, as the newspaper reported in 2010, then she earned $2.8 million per day that year.