Judge Wapner dead at age of 97

The retired Los Angeles judge who presided over ``The People's Court'' with steady force during the heyday of the reality courtroom show has died.
    
Judge Joseph Wapner was 97.
   
 ``The People's Court,'' in which Wapner decided real small-claims from 1981 to 1993, was one of the granddaddies of the syndicated reality shows of today.
    
His affable, no-nonsense approach attracted many fans, putting ``The People's Court'' in the top five in syndication at its peak.