A regular guest on the talk circuit, Springer has appeared many shows, including The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, The View, and Crossfire. Today, because of the continued popularity of his show, Springer is a sought after guest speaker on college campuses in the US and abroad.
Ringmaster, a book written by Springer, hit store shelves in November 1998 and shared Springer’s personal look into his show, as well as remembrances from his childhood and professional career. In 1999, Springer played himself in the hit movie Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He became a featured character in The Simpsons 1998 Halloween Special and played himself on The X-Files. Having graced the covers of Rolling Stone, Esquire, and New York Magazine, Springer was asked by Barbara Walters to be part of her year-end 10 Most Fascinating People of 1998 special for ABC.
Born in London in 1944 just after his family fled from the Holocaust, Springer immigrated at age five to New York City with his family. He can still recall the sense of awe and anticipation he felt when he first saw the Statue of Liberty, and remains dedicated to upholding the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tulane University, Springer received his law degree from Northwestern University in 1968. His first job after law school was working as one of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign aides. After Kennedy’s assassination, Springer joined a law firm and moved into the political arena himself. He spearheaded the effort to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, which culminated with his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony supporting ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution. He was elected to Cincinnati’s Council-at-Large in 1971, serving five successive terms.
In 1977, Springer was elected mayor of Cincinnati by the largest plurality in the city’s history. At age 33, he was one of the country’s youngest mayors. Five years later, Springer launched his broadcasting career as a political reporter and commentator on Cincinnati’s WLWT-TV. He became anchor and managing editor in 1984, and was Cincinnati’s top-rated news anchor until he relinquished the post in January 1993. During his tenure, Springer received seven Emmy Awards for his nightly commentaries, the forerunner to his “Final Thought,” and was voted television’s best anchor for five consecutive years by readers of Cincinnati Magazine.
Springer is perhaps most proud of his involvement with Cincinnati Reaches Out, contributing on-site reporting from Ethiopia and Sudan, where he documented the effort to provide assistance to famine-stricken Africans. The company that owned WLWT-TV also owned The Phil Donahue Show. One day, Springer’s employers took him to lunch and gave him a new assignment: hosting his own talk show, which evolved through the years, achieving its status as a cultural phenomenon.
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