Judith Sheindlin is an American court show arbitrator, television producer, author, women’s advancement philanthropist, former prosecutor, and Manhattan family court judge. She is popularly known as Judge Judy and hosts a TV show of the same name.
Judith Sheindlin, born as Judith Susan Blum, known better as Judge Judy, was born on Wednesday, 21 October 1942 (age 81 years; as of 2023) in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. Her zodiac sign is Libra.
Sheindlin completed her high school education at James Madison High School in Brooklyn and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and International Politics from American University in Washington, D.C. After that, she attended New York Law School and obtained her Juris Doctor degree in 1965. She also passed the New York State Bar Examination in 1965.
Height (approx.): 5′ 1″
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Murray Blum, was a dentist. He passed away on 2 April 1989. Her mother, Ethel Blum, was a corporate employee. She passed away on 3 February 1980. Her younger brother, David Blum, is also a dentist.
Husband & Children
In 1964, Judith got married to Ronald Levy, who was a juvenile prosecutor in a court. They moved to New York and had two children, Jamie Hartwright, and Adam Levy, who is an attorney. However, after 12 years of marriage, Judy and Ronald divorced in 1976.
In 1978, she married Judge Jerry Sheindlin, who was an arbitrator on The People’s Court from 1999 to 2001, author, television personality, and jurist. They divorced in 1990, partly because Judy faced challenges and stress after her father’s death that same year. However, they got remarried in 1991. She has three stepchildren with Judge Jerry Sheindlin: Gregory, Jonathan, and Nicole Sheindlin, as well as 13 grandchildren. Jonathan is a retinal surgeon, while Greg and Nicole are lawyers. Nicole and Judy together created the Her Honor Mentoring program.
Her granddaughter, Sarah Rose Levy, was a law clerk to Judy Sheindlin in the show Judy Justice.
Judith Sheindlin follows Judaism.
After passing the New York State Bar examination in 1965, Sheindlin got a job as a corporate lawyer in a cosmetics company. However, within two years, she decided to leave her job as she did not enjoy her work and also to take care of her children, Jamie and Adam. In 1972, she became a prosecutor in the New York family court system after a friend told her about the job. As a lawyer, she handled cases involving child abuse, domestic violence, and young offenders. Her determination and approach impressed New York Mayor Ed Koch, who appointed her as a criminal court judge in 1982. In 1986, she got a promotion and became the supervising judge in the family court’s Manhattan division. Throughout her legal career, Judge Judy became famous for being a strong and fair judge who cared about justice. Many people in the legal community admired and recognized her for her skills and dedication.
Judith Sheindlin is not just a successful judge but also an accomplished author. She wrote her first book, “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining: America’s Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out,” in 1996, sharing stories and lessons from her time as a family court judge.
Her other best-selling books include Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever (1999), Keep It Simple, Stupid: You’re Smarter Than You Look (2000), Win or Lose by How You Choose (2000), You’re Smarter Than You Look: Uncomplicating Relationships in Complicated Times (2001), What Would Judy Say? A Grown-Up Guide to Living Together with Benefits (2013), and What Would Judy Say: Be the Hero of Your Own Story (2014).
In 1996, Judith Sheindlin’s television career started when a producer named Larry Lyttle saw her on a 60 Minutes segment. He liked her no-nonsense style and asked her to have her show, “Judge Judy,” where she presided over real small claims cases. The show became very popular because people loved her straightforward and fair judgments. She became famous and the show’s success kept growing, making her one of the most well-known TV personalities.
In 1995, Judge Judy Sheindlin accepted an offer to preside over a new reality courtroom series called Judge Judy, which premiered on 16 September 1996. The show featured real cases and real rulings, becoming a huge success and running for 25 seasons until 23 July 2021. Throughout its run, Judge Judy remained the top-rated court show, regularly attracting millions of viewers daily. Sheindlin’s courtroom partner, Petri Byrd, known as “Byrd” or “Officer Byrd,” served as her bailiff. They had previously worked together in the Manhattan family court system. The show’s popularity made Sheindlin a well-known figure, and she received numerous awards and honours for her work. She also earned a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Guinness World Records recognition for the longest-running courtroom show. Regarding her salary, Sheindlin drew considerable attention, with reports of her earning millions of dollars each year. She briefly considered retirement in 2010 but continued with her show until the 25th-season anniversary in 2021. After an illustrious career, Judge Judy’s final episode aired on 23 July 2021, marking the end of her courtroom series after 25 successful years.
On 1 November 2021, Judge Judy Sheindlin’s new courtroom series, Judy Justice, premiered on Amazon Freevee (originally IMDb TV). It’s a spinoff of Judge Judy and the first standard court show to air exclusively on a streaming platform. The show features a more modern and “hip” approach, with Gen Z input from Sheindlin’s granddaughter and a stenographer to quote testimony for resolving disputes. Judy Justice focuses on a single long case per episode, unlike Judge Judy, which had a faster pace and featured two cases per episode. The absence of bailiff Byrd in the spinoff drew criticism from some Judge Judy fans. Sheindlin praised Byrd but explained that the show needed a new direction. Despite the initial criticism, Judy Justice’s first season became a hit, setting a streaming hours record for IMDb TV and winning the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program. The second season of Judy Justice premiered on 7 November 2022.
“Tribunal Justice” is a courtroom series created and produced by Judith Sheindlin. The show centres around legal cases and features former Hot Bench judges Tanya Acker and Patricia Di Mango, along with Sheindlin’s son, former district attorney Adam Levy. Notably, Sheindlin’s previous bailiff, Petri Byrd, also appeared in the series. The first episode of the show aired on 15 June 2023.
The Cutlery Case
In March 2013, there was a lawsuit filed against Judge Judy by PPatrice Jones, who is the ex-wife of Randy Douthit, the executive producer of her shows. Jones claimed that Sheindlin and Douthit conspired to allow Sheindlin to buy valuable china and cutlery that belonged to Jones. Sheindlin paid Douthit $50,815 for these items without Jones knowing, which she believed was to take away her valuable possessions. Jones sought $514,421 from Sheindlin. However, they settled the matter outside of court. Sheindlin returned the tableware to Douthit, and Jones agreed to pay him $12,500 to get the tableware back. TMZ
Misappropriation of Likeness Case
On 12 March 2014, Judge Judy filed a lawsuit against a personal injury lawyer named John Haymond and his law firm in Hartford, Connecticut. She claimed that they used her TV image in their ads without asking her permission, making it seem like she endorsed them, which wasn’t true. Sheindlin’s team had already told them in March 2013 not to use her image, but they still made the ads. She sued them for over $75,000 in damages. She said any money she won from the lawsuit would go to college scholarships through her charity, Her Honor Mentoring. Haymond disagreed and filed a countersuit, saying Sheindlin defamed him and his firm. He insisted that local TV stations asked him to be in promos to promote Judge Judy, so he did it. The case was settled out of court on 8 August 2014, with a resolution in favour of Judge Judy. Haymond donated money to her charity, Her Honor Mentoring. TMZ
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Judith Sheindlin received an honourary Doctor of Law degree from the University at Albany- State University of New York on 20 May 2012.
- She has received an honourary Doctor of Law degree from Elizabethtown College.
- Judith Sheindlin won a place in the Guinness World Records under the category of Longest Serving TV Judge in 2015. Guinness World Records
- Judge Judith Sheindlin received the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 2019 for the show Judge Judy.
- Judge Judith Sheindlin received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/ Courtroom Programme for the show Judy Justice in 2022.
- Judge Judith Sheindlin got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006.
Judith Sheindlin’s net worth is estimated to be $440 million as of 2023.
- Breakfast: Egg McMuffin
- Cuisine: Italian
- In addition to supporting educational initiatives, Sheindlin is involved in charitable work and has donated to various causes over the years.
- In 2022, Judith Sheindlin started ‘The Judge Judy Sheindlin Honors Scholars Program’ to support 10 female students annually by giving them full-ride scholarships to New York Law School. Reuters
- Judge Judy enjoys gardening.
- Her fan mail address is Judy Sheindlin, Judge Judy, 5842 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028-6607, USA