Jerry Bishop, iconic announcer of 'Judge Judy,' dies at 84

As the announcer of the long-running syndicated program, Bishop worked up until his final days.
/ Source: TODAY

Jerry Bishop, best known for his work as the announcer on the long-running syndicated program "Judge Judy," died from heart disease on Tuesday.

"Jerry Bishop has been the voice of our program for 24 years," Judge Judy Sheindlin said in a statement to TODAY. "Everybody loved him. He had a golden heart and generous spirit. I adored him and will miss him."

Jerry Bishop.Blume/Bishop family

As the announcer of "Judge Judy," Bishop worked up until his final days. "His voice was powerful, soothing, and caring, which are three qualities he embodied so well," the statement continued.

Bishop earned his degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College in the 1950s. His first job in radio was in Hartford, Connecticut at WDRC. Later, Bishop worked at KFI, KIIS and KLAC, among other stations in Los Angeles.

He established himself as a prominent morning radio host during the glory days of L.A. radio in the 1960s through the 1980s, interviewing stars like Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Natalie Wood. Later, Bishop entered the voice-over world and worked on campaigns for companies like Miller Coors, Budweiser and Burger King. He voiced promos for NBC, ABC and more notably had a 15-year run as the voice of the Disney Channel.

In the last 30 years of his life, he passionately devoted himself to Judaism. He attended synagogue every day, observed shabbos weekly and immersed himself in Talmudic studies.

“Jerry was far more than a client, he was a friend and the best friend that anybody could ever have. He was a prince and a mensch but he was truly family," Arlene Thornton, Bishop's agent of 35 years, told TODAY.

Bishop married his college sweetheart and the love of his life, Velma Leventhal, in 1956. She passed away in 2007. The couple raised three daughters — Karen, Michelle and Stephanie — who Bishop leaves behind.

He was 84 years old.