Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, was born on October 21, 1942. Sheindlin was born Judith Susan Blum in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents are Murray and Ethel Blum. Sheindlin attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn.
After high school Sheindlin attended American University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in government. Sheindlin then enrolled at the Washington College of Law, at American University. She was the only woman in a class of 126 students. Sheindlin completed her law education at New York Law School, where she graduated in 1965. In 1977, she married Jerry Sheindlin, a judge, and legally became Judy Sheindlin. Sheindlin passed the New York Bar Exam in 1965 and was hired as a corporate lawyer for a cosmetics firm.
After a period out of law, Sheindlin be came a prosecutor in the family courts system of New York. In her role, Sheindlin prosecuted child abuse cases, domestic violence, and juvenile crime.
By 1982, Sheindlin’s no-nonsense reputation inspired New York Mayor Ed Koch to appoint her as a judge in criminal court. Four years later, she was promoted to supervising judge in the Manhattan division of the family court. She earned a reputation as a tough judge, notorious for her fast decision making. In 1996 she retired as a criminal court judge after hearing over 20,000 cases.
Soon after her retirement Big Ticket Television contacted Sheindlin about a possible courtroom television program. The syndicated courtroom series Judge Judy debuted on September 16, 1996. The show was an instant success and made Sheindlin a celebrity. She became known for her strict, no-nonsense wit. The program has been the number one court show since its debut, the only show on television to increase its ratings yearly, and has woven itself into American pop culture.