1 December 2023 5:05 PM
Pictured: Bodyguard Steve Wilkos and television personality Jerry Springer attend the Ninth Annual Billboard Music Awards on December 7, 1998 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Jerry Springer’s heartbroken former bodyguard Steve Wilkos has revealed the TV host hugged him ‘like he never hugged me before’ and did not reveal his cancer battle when they last met up.

Wilkos, 59, who spent ten seasons on The Jerry Springer Show, from 1994 to 2007, said that when he and Springer hung out around a month ago, he did not mention his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

He told TMZ Live that he might have ‘been saying goodbye to me’ as they looked back on old times, something that they rarely did.

Springer died on Thursday at his home in Chicago aged 79.

Appearing to hint at his illness, Springer said during an interview last year that he wanted to retire while he was ‘still healthy’, following NBCUniversal canceling his latest show Judge Jerry. 

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Pictured: Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer. Springer died on Thursday his home in Chicago aged 79

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Pictured: Springer and Wilkos hugging. The Jerry Springer Show went off the air in 2018

He added: ‘I don’t have to make a living. I want to enjoy life.’

Wilkos went on to start The Steve Wilkos Show, which was first broadcast in 2007 and is now in its 16th season.

The show tackles family and criminal justice, true crime and relationship conflicts. 

Wilkos said Jerry was the person who had the most impact on his life and credits him for launching his career.

Wilkos was a cop patrolling the streets of Chicago in 1994 when a friend from the force, Mike McDermott, asked if he was interested in a gig in security on Springer’s show, where he became a popular figure. 

Wilkos said Springer always had his back and he had always thought that his good friend would outlive him.

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Pictured: Wilkos in action on the Jerry Springer Show. Wilkos was a cop patrolling the streets of Chicago in 1994 when a friend from the force asked if he was interested in a gig in security on the show 

The Jerry Springer Show was known for its wild and raucous TV moments.

On his Twitter profile, Springer jokingly declared himself as ‘Talk show host, ringmaster of civilization’s end’. 

His audience would cheer his name, as his outrageous guests would get into crazy fights – with many expletive-filled rants being bleeped out.

Springer called it ‘escapist entertainment,’ while others saw the show as contributing to a dumbing-down decline in American social values. 

His show was so popular in the 90’s that he even managed to top Oprah Winfrey’s program in several cities.

The show went off the air in 2018, but Springer then created his courtroom show, Judge Jerry, which ran for three seasons. 

His final TV appearance came on last season’s The Masked Singer, performing as The Beetle to sing a Frank Sinatra classic.

Springer is survived by his daughter Katie, who is deaf and blind, and his sister Evelyn.

David Hasselhoff paid tribute to Springer, whom he described as a ‘great friend’ in a tweet on Thursday.

He said: ‘I never thought I would lose a special friend who actually subbed for me as Captain Hook in the Wimbledon pantomime.

‘He was a terrific, terrific person and I am saddened by his passing. What becomes of a broken heart?’

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Pictured: Jerry Springer hosting his show, which ran  from 1994 to 2007. Wilkos said that when they last met up he might have ‘been saying goodbye to me’

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Pictured: Springer and Wilkos on The Steve Wilkos Show. The series is now in its 16th season

In another tribute, Piers Morgan said he loved working and joking with Springer.

He wrote: ‘Jeez, this sucks. TV icon & such an intelligent, warm, funny man.

‘Loved working with him (on America’s Got Talent), loved hanging out with him (we lived in same hotel for 2yrs), loved arguing with him (he loved his politics), loved everything about him. Gutting.’

In 1994, when Wilkos was asked if he would like to work on the show, he said he had never heard of it, but was interested in making some extra money, so he said yes.

He recalled his first series of episodes centering around the KKK – which meant that security needed to be on hand in case of fights and riots. 

But he soon learned that there would be far more challenging scrabbles to break up over the next decade while he was with the show.

Producers said it was Wilkos’ no-nonsense attitude mixed with paternal compassion that drew viewers to him – a personality meshed well with host Jerry Springer.

In 2006, Springer joined Dancing with the Stars, so Wilkos stepped in to host.

Springer ended up competing for seven rounds which left Wilkos with over 30 episodes to cover. 

He made such an impression that Springer decided to recruit him to fill in every Monday.

Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12024175/Jerry-Springers-former-bodyguard-reveals-did-not-mention-cancer-battle-met-weeks-ago.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270

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