Joseph Wapner

Television Judge + Recipient of the Purple Heart Medal
Born Nov 15, 1919

Joseph Albert Wapner is a former American judge and TV personality of the real-life courtroom-style show The People's Court, which ran in syndication from 1981 to 1993 for 2,484 episodes. On The People's Court, Wapner conducted a binding arbitration which was set up to resemble a small claims court by pitting parties, without lawyers, against each other.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Joseph Wapner.


1919 Birth Joseph Albert Wapner was born November 15, 1919 in Los Angeles to Jewish parents. … Read More


1959 40 Years Old Appointed by Governor Pat Brown to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1959, Wapner served 2 years before being elevated to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, where he served for 18 years before retiring.


1969 50 Years Old While serving on the Superior Court bench, Wapner also served as Presiding Judge in 1969 and 1970.
1975 56 Years Old Wapner was President of the California Judges Association in 1975 and 1976.


1979 60 Years Old He retired from the court November 16, 1979.
1981 62 Years Old Wapner presided over The People's Court from 1981 to 1993, a total of 2,340 half-hour segments. … Read More
1986 67 Years Old On June 27, 1986, Wapner appeared on the Tonight Show to hear a case of David Letterman vs. Johnny Carson over alleged damage to the headlight of Letterman's pickup truck when Carson had the truck towed to the studio. … Read More
1993 74 Years Old 1 More Event
After a 4-year hiatus, beginning in 1993, The People's Court returned to the air in 1997, though without Wapner, and still runs today.
On November 12, 2009, Wapner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2013 94 Years Old Wapner's tenure on the program made him the first jurist of arbitration-based reality court shows, what is now a most popular trend in the judicial genre. Until the summer of 2013, Wapner also held the title of longest reigning arbiter over The People's Court. … Read More
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