In this Friday, Oct. 13, 1989, file photo, retired Judge Joseph A. Wapner of TV's 'The People's Court' congratulates his son, Judge Frederick N. Wapner, right, as he was enrobed as a Municipal Court judge in Los Angeles. Wapner, who presided over "The People's Court" with steady force during the heyday of the reality courtroom show, has died. Wapner died at home in his sleep Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, according to his son, David Wapner. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
Joseph Wapner, a former Los Angeles judge who became famous as the host of "People's Court," died at his home Sunday morning, according to numerous reports.
Wapner, who had served on the bench in Los Angeles County for 20 years before the show debuted, decided small-claims cases for television audiences from 1981 to 1993, the Associated Press reported.
The cases Wapner tried on the show were picked by producers from Southern California courts and tried under rules that limited damages to $1,500, the report said.
TMZ reported Wapner had been hospitalized last week with breathing problems and was under hospice care at his LA home at the time of his death.
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