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Jerry Springer And Steve Wilkos: Were They Friends In Real Life?

On April 27, 2023, the general public learned that Jerry Springer died at 79 years old. Of course, Springer's primary legacy is his gig as the host of thousands of episodes of "The Jerry Springer Show." On the strength of his notoriety as a talk show host, he ended up becoming something of a cultural icon, appearing, among other such work, in one of the weirdest horror movie cameos of all time.

Steve Wilkos, meanwhile, got his start as a security guard on "The Jerry Springer Show," eventually becoming a pillar of the series himself, interacting with guests and even hosting episodes from time to time. While this dynamic suggests that Springer held Wilkos in high regard, some viewers may not realize that they were not just close showbusiness partners but friends in real life.

Springer's friendship with Wilkos is apparent in a joint interview Chicago's CW26 filmed remotely in 2021. "Steve will be one of my great friends that I've ever had, period," Springer says. Wilkos, as it turns out, has likewise referred to Springer in similarly friendly terms over the years.

Steve Wilkos considers Jerry Springer a close personal friend

In May of 2016, the official Facebook account for "The Steve Wilkos Show" shared a photo of Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer together with a caption describing Springer as Wilkos' close friend. Meanwhile, in October of 2021, the "Steve Wilkos Show" YouTube channel posted a short clip of Springer visiting its set, which includes a prelude — featuring , at one point, that same Facebook photo — in which Wilkos recounts how the two of them became good friends while working on "Jerry Springer."

Understandably, then, Wilkos was hit hard by his close friend and colleague's death. "Other than my father, Jerry was the most influential man in my life. Everything I have today, I owe to Jerry," he told Us Weekly. "He was the smartest, most generous, kindest person I've ever known."

Springer and Wilkos' dynamic clearly extended beyond the confines of TV talk show studios and into their personal lives, given that both men have described their counterpart as a legitimate friend. Now, "The Steve Wilkos Show," which is still actively airing on TV, may well stand as the most direct continuation of Springer's legacy, based on the friendship they maintained and how it manifested in their professional lives.