Steve Wilkos, who worked on “The Jerry Springer Show” for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2007, has revealed his emotional last meeting with Jerry Springer before his death.
Wilkos spoke to “TMZ Live” on Thursday after the news of Springer’s passing and recalled their final hangout about a month ago.
Although Jerry didn’t mention his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Wilkos felt like Jerry might have been saying goodbye to him, especially with the way he hugged him.
“He hugged me like he never hugged me before,” Wilkos said. “We reminisced about the old days, which we never did.” Jerry, who passed away at the age of 79 on Thursday at his home in the Chicago area, was known for his bombastic talk show that ran for 27 years and helped Wilkos start his own show.
Wilkos revealed that other than his father, Jerry had the biggest impact on his life.
He credits Jerry for giving him his career and even his wife. When he was hired in 1994, Wilkos was a retired cop working as a security guard for the “Springer Show.” His immense popularity there led to him launching “The Steve Wilkos Show” in 2007, which is now in its 16th season.
Despite the ups and downs, Wilkos says Jerry was always in his corner, and even at their last get-together last month, he believed that his good friend would outlive him.
“He was one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met in my life,” Wilkos said. “Even though he’s gone, his legacy will continue. He was the pioneer of trash TV, but there was nobody better at it than him.”
Wilkos’ sentiments were echoed by many in the entertainment industry, who shared their condolences on social media after learning of Jerry’s passing. The talk show host was remembered for his impact on pop culture, as well as his ability to bring people from all walks of life onto his show.
“He was a pioneer of television who ushered in an era of tabloid news,” tweeted “The View” co-host Joy Behar. “It is amazing to think how tame his show looks compared to the current political climate.”
Comedian Tom Arnold tweeted that Jerry was “the kindest man in show business,” while actor David Arquette called him “a true original and pioneer.”
Jerry’s passing marks the end of an era in daytime television, but his legacy and impact on the industry will live on.