Joseph Wapner, the retired judge who changed television as the judge on "The People's Court," has died. Wapner became an instant hit when the show debuted in September 1981. "The People's Court" was the first TV reality show, and it has since opened the door for many more, including several TV court shows.
Wapner was opinionated, passionate and irascible as he heard thousands of cases during his 12-year run. The show became a touchpoint for pop culture. It was parodied on "Saturday Night Live" and many other shows. Dustin Hoffman's "3 minutes to Wapner" in "Rain Man" became an iconic expression.