Judith Sheindlin has concluded a 25-year daytime run as "Judge Judy," but her fiery opinions aren't going anywhere.
Sheindlin, 78, who has no plans to retire and a new show coming up, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the current cultural climate in which past comments have come back to haunt celebrities and damage their careers.
"If you’re a bad person, if you’ve done something wrong, you’ve got to be prepared to pay the piper," she said. "And there are people who have done just that. They’ve paid the price with their good name, their footprint. That’s a good thing.
"But to have a fear of speaking your opinion, for fear of being put on somebody’s list and canceled? It’s a frightening place for America to be. And you’re right. I’m not a big fan of the PC police. Is it PC to say to people who are 19 or 23 years old, have no job, no prospects and six children, 'Find something else to do with that organ?' No. But where I come from, I’ve seen the ravages of that kind of neglect."
While the current season of "Judge Judy" wraps up her 25-year run on CBS as a hard-nosed judge on a show that has been a staple of daytime television, she now is filming "Judy Justice" for Amazon's IMDB TV. (According to Forbes, Sheindlin earned $47 million a year since 2012 from CBS for "Judge Judy," making her one of television’s highest-paid hosts.)
"I’m not tired. I don’t play golf or tennis. I have no desire to learn how to play mahjong, chess or checkers," she said about any retirement plans. "I know what I like to do. Why, at my stage in life, would I try to find something else when I already know what I like? And this isn’t a 9-to-5 job. I’ve still got the time to see the children I love, the grandchildren who are growing up very fast and the cute mate who I still get a kick out of."
The polarizing political climate that has fueled a seemingly endless culture clash has not changed the way she sees the world.
"This country goes to the left and to the right but eventually comes back to the center," she said. "You just have to hope that you can withstand those swings, that you can get back to a reasonable place where everybody has the opportunity to realize the American dream like me."
In her typical pragmatic style, the final episode of her long-running show was just another day at work.
"I didn’t feel all that emotional," she said. "I wasn’t teary. I felt gratified that I had completed that part of my journey and done it respectably. It was just the end of the day, the end of the job."
One thing that did change about Sheindlin in her last few years was her hairstyle, which even had her longtime bailiff, Petri Hawkins Byrd, weighing in.
"It’s sort of funny," she said. "How could she change her hair? It’s an iconic hairdo.' No, it’s not. It’s a lot of goop and teasing and product and fussing around by somebody else. This is so much easier. And as each hour in every day we have becomes more precious, the less you want to spend time patshkeing over the way you look. Do you know how to spell 'patshkeing'? You’ll have to look it up. It’s a Yiddish term. It means messing around."