Jerry Springer's Daughter Katie Recalls His 'Loving' Generosity: 'If He Could Get It for You He Would' (Exclusive)

Springer’s daughter Katie shares with PEOPLE memories of father, his "special love" with Micki Velton and his views on "The Jerry Springer Show"

<p>Kate Yenkin</p> Jerry Springer and daughter Katie Springer.

Kate Yenkin

Jerry Springer and daughter Katie Springer.

Katie Springer has many fond memories of her late father Jerry Springer, but one thing she'll almost certainly never forget is his incredible generosity.

Jerry — who became a household name with the success of The Jerry Springer Show — died on April 27, 2023 several months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But as well known as he became, the talk show host wanted to be remembered more for being a devoted family man than a celebrity.

“I always said you had to be careful if you told dad you wanted something because you would probably get it if he could get it for you,” Katie tells PEOPLE.

Related: All About Jerry Springer's Daughter, Katie Springer

darla khazei/ Jerry Springer and Katie Springer in New York City in June 2006.
darla khazei/ Jerry Springer and Katie Springer in New York City in June 2006.

When she once wanted to move from an apartment in Evanston, Illinois to a condominium, she raised the topic with her dad.

“I said, ‘I saw that there were some condominiums going to be built nearby. Maybe we should just look into them,'” she recalls. “Two days later, I get a phone call from my dad. He's like, ‘Okay, you got a two-bedroom condo. It'll be finished in a year.’ I'm like, ‘Excuse me?' If I said I wanted something, I'd better be real sure I actually wanted it.”

“That was the way he was,” she continues. “He was very protective of his family, and he wanted his family to have what they wanted."

To honor the late television personality and former Mayor of Cincinnati one year after his death, Katie is participating in The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s (PanCAN) PurpleStride walk on Saturday, April 27.

PanCAN is expecting almost 70,000 people to participate in 60 walks across the U.S. to raise funds for pancreatic cancer patients, CEO Julie Fleshman tells PEOPLE. The non-profit aims to increase the five-year survival rate for patients from 13% to 20% by 2030 with funds raised going towards research and investment in treatments.

“When my dad was actually sick, we had never even heard of PanCAN, and everything with him happened very quickly,” Katie says, adding she decided to participate in the event shortly after Jerry died.

Related: Jerry Springer Was a 'Class Act' and 'Mensch' Who 'Didn't Take Himself Too Seriously,' Says Former Publicist

<p>Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty</p> Jerry Springer on 'The Jerry Springer Show.'

Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty

Jerry Springer on 'The Jerry Springer Show.'

Jerry was the 56th mayor of Cincinnati in the ‘70s. After his political career, he turned his sights to television and was best known for The Jerry Springer Show, which ran for 28 seasons from 1991 to 2018.

He also starred in the reality TV show Judge Jerry, which ran for three seasons from 2019 to 2022. Jerry joked to PEOPLE in 2019 that the series was his first "grown-up job" in the 30 years since The Jerry Springer Show began.

In addition to hosting his own shows, Jerry had a career as a lawyer, judge and actor. His credits included Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the game show Baggage, the 1998 comedy Ringmaster, The Jerry Springer Podcast and The Masked Singer in 2022.

Jerry welcomed his daughter Katie in 1976 with Micki Velton, whom he remained married to until his death.

Related: Jerry Springer's Life in Photos

Adam Larkey/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Jerry Springer with Katie Springer during season 3 of 'Dancing with the Stars.'
Adam Larkey/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Jerry Springer with Katie Springer during season 3 of 'Dancing with the Stars.'

While competing on season 3 of Dancing with the Stars, Jerry's partner Kym Johnson felt some pressure in teaching him how to waltz as he plans to show off his skills at Katie's wedding.

"The reason he was doing Dancing with the Stars was to learn to dance for his daughter's wedding," Johnson, 47, told PEOPLE in April 2023. "They wanted to do a father-daughter dance. He was so genuine in the reason why he wanted to do the show."

Len Goodman — who died on April 24, 2023 just days before Jerry — described the talk show host's efforts as one of his most memorable moments from his time on DWTS.

In truth, the man viewers saw on The Jerry Springer Show was vastly different from the family man he was when the cameras weren't rolling.

Related: Jerry Springer's 'DWTS' Partner Kym Johnson Recalls Teaching Him to Dance for His Daughter's Wedding (Exclusive)

<p>Gary Gershoff/Getty</p> Jerry Springer in New York City in September 2019.

Gary Gershoff/Getty

Jerry Springer in New York City in September 2019.

“I think people thought maybe [Jerry] was a partier and a wild guy,” says Katie. “In his home life, if he went out to a restaurant, he would order a Diet Coke and a cheeseburger. His idea of a fun day was watching baseball games on TV or reading a history book.”

Jerry himself viewed the popular, long-running talk show and its onscreen drama with good humor and a sense of pragmatism, understanding it enabled him to provide for his family in a “good way.”

“He knew the show was ridiculous. He would say that,” she says, adding, “Always, when he would meet someone, and they would say, ‘I love your show,’ he would jokingly say, ‘May you never be on it.’”

Velton looked after Springer until his death, almost two months shy of the couple's 50th wedding anniversary.

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“I just think that's a very important thing for people to know. For me, it's like a very special love story,” she says, adding, “They had ups and downs like all couples do, but they came through it in one piece."

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