RSWLiving - - Judge Judy Sheindlin -

MY HOME­TOWN NEIGH­BOR­HOOD was Brook­lyn, New York, a great place to grow up.

MY CA­REER PATH al­ways took me to the law.

COM­ING TO NAPLES was the best de­ci­sion my hus­band and I made. Beau­ti­ful sunsets, in­ter­est­ing peo­ple and good weather.

WHEN I started in the tele­vi­sion busi­ness, I was hop­ing for a three-year run. It’s 20 years later and I still en­joy what I do and the pro­gram is still go­ing strong.

LIFE IS AL­WAYS an ad­ven­ture, if you’re up for it. We have one go-around and if you’re smart, you make the most of it.


• Sheindlin has a deal that runs through 2017. She re­port­edly earns $47 mil­lion an­nu­ally, or some $900,000 per work day.

• In a mag­a­zine pro­file, she said she pur­sued her fu­ture hus­band, Jerry Sheindlin, cor­ner­ing him at a New York bar. “Lady, get your fin­ger out of my face,” he re­port­edly told her. The cou­ple mar­ried in 1978.

• She re­port­edly en­joys a McDon­ald’s Egg McMuf­fin.

• Her fa­vorite game is gin rummy.

• The show’s cases are real, but spec­ta­tors are ex­tras who are paid to talk among them­selves.

• She earned a rep­u­ta­tion in New York Fam­ily Court for be­ing blunt and tough-talk­ing. “I can’t stand stupid, and I can’t stand slow,” was one of her oft-re­peated “Judyisms” at that time.

• Re­port­edly trav­el­ing in Greece, Sheindlin pur­chased a white lace col­lar, one of her trade­marks.

• A week’s worth of shows is filmed in a day. • A re­search staff of 60-plus pores over law­suits filed in lo­cal Small Claims Courts. Po­ten­tial lit­i­gants forgo a civil hear­ing in ex­change for a free trip to Los An­ge­les, an $850 ap­pear­ance fee, and a per diem of $40.

• The best cases in­volve lit­i­gants with a prior re­la­tion­ship, the plot of any mys­tery or daily soap.

• Court Bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd first worked with Sheindlin in Man­hat­tan Fam­ily Court. He re­port­edly (and kid­dingly) of­fered to work with his boss on tele­vi­sion be­cause he looked good in uni­form.

• Sheindlin re­port­edly wanted to call her show Hot Bench, changed that to Judy Jus­tice, set­tling on Judge Judy be­cause it would be im­pos­si­ble to re­place her as had been done on The Peo­ple’s Court, a re­al­ity show fea­tur­ing Judge Joseph Wap­ner that launched the genre in 1981. Wap­ner re­tired af­ter 2,484 episodes.

• The story is that Mur­ray Blum, Sheindlin’s fa­ther, was a den­tist whose of­fice was in the fam­ily home. In those days, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, a den­tist’s best tool to dis­tract ner­vous pa­tients was the gift of gab. Blum was a mas­ter sto­ry­teller. Lis­ten­ing to her fa­ther taught Sheindlin to de­liver a punch­line.

• A me­dia out­let re­lates the story of Sheindlin’s be­ing ap­proached by a woman in Hol­ly­wood. The woman in­tro­duced her­self as Lorna Berle and said her hus­band was a fan and asked if Sheindlin would mind talk­ing to him for a mo­ment. Sheindlin greeted leg­endary per­former Mil­ton Berle by singing the theme song to Tex­aco Star The­ater, her fa­vorite tele­vi­sion show as a child. Berle com­pli­mented her in re­turn, say­ing, “Kid, you’ve got great comic tim­ing.”

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