Early life, family, educational background
American lecturer, television personality and retired Florida Circuit Court judge Marilyn Milian, was born on 1 May 1961 in Queens, New York City USA. Her parents came from Cuba. Her father, Jorge, was a general contractor, and her mother’s name was Georgina. She has never spoken about having any siblings. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and is best known for presiding over the American courtroom television show “The People’s Court.”
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When she was eight years old, her family moved to Miami, Florida, and in 1978 she matriculated from St. Brendan High School. She earned her psychology undergraduate degree from the University of Miami in 1981, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA. She studied Law at Harvard for a year before transferring to Georgetown University Law Center, from which she once again graduated cum laude.
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Family’s personal life
Her husband, John Schlesinger, is a judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in the Family Division in Florida, elected in 2004 to the same position Marilyn held before she retired and began working in “The People’s Court.” In 1982 he graduated from Boston College with a B.A., and received a J.D. in 1987 from Suffolk University Law School.
Marilyn spent a year working as a director of training for the Guatemala Project at Harvard Law School. She was in charge of training the Guatemalan trial judiciary in prosecution and defense techniques.
She was an assistant state attorney from 1985 to 1994 for the Dade County State Attorney’s Office, hired by the then state attorney, Janey Reno.
From 1994 to 1998, she was the Florida State Official Judge at the Miami-Dade County Court. During her time working in the court, she began her work as an advocate against domestic violence, for which she has gained a lot of respect.
Then Florida governor, Jeb Bush, hired her as a Florida State Official Judge in 1999. She worked at the Miami Circuit Court in the Criminal Division in the 11th Circuit for Miami-Dade County until 2001.
She taught litigation skills and was an adjunct faculty member of the University of Miami School of Law.
She is the spokesperson for FBI’s Safe Online Surfing, also known as FBI-SOS.
The People’s Court
In 2001 Judge Milian replaced Judge Judy’s husband, Jerry Sheindlin as the judge on “The People’s Court,” making her television debut on 12 March 2001 in an episode in the 17th season. She was the first female Latina judge, not only on “The People’s Court,” but in any English-speaking television court series.
She has been working on the Daytime Emmy Award-winning show for 18 years, as of 8 April 2019, when the 22nd season of the show was aired.
Before Marilyn, Joseph Wapner was the longest-serving adjudicator on the show, a record she has since taken.
She is considered to be the opposite of her predecessors because she is more ‘animated’, often using hand gestures and speaking loudly, but is praised for being logical and level-headed when dealing with cases. Even though she is usually witty and friendly, she does not put up with any disrespect, and provides sassy remarks. Although her assertiveness, directness, and animated gestures usually receive praise, she has also received criticism for occasionally being rude to the people on the show.
The defendant and plaintiff agree to have their small-claims court cases air, and agree who wins before the filming of the show, by arbitration. The winner of the case is paid by the show’s budget, meaning that the losers of the case do not pay the winner’s costs. The losing parties also receive money from the show, through their compensation is for their appearance.
In an interview with biddingforgood, Marilyn spoke about the fascination with court shows in America – ‘We are a fast-food nation. People love to see resolution, and they want to watch someone who has done wrong confronted, and see justice prevail… all in an hour.’ Over three days, 10 episodes a day are filmed, after which Marilyn returns to Miami. From 2001 to 2013, the show was filmed in New York City, from there taping moved to Stamford, Connecticut.
“The People’s Court” is the second-longest-running courtroom series – the longest-running being “Divorce Court”, and is rated the third-highest after “Judge Judy” and “Hot Bench.”
She appeared as a judge in three episodes of “As the World Turns” in 2002, and as Judge Alvarez in two episodes of “George Lopez” in 2007. She guest-appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 2006, and a few episodes of “The Dr. Oz Show” between 2013 and 2017.
In 2003 and 2004, she participated as a celebrity contestant in the game show “Pyramid,” and in 2019 on “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire”, leaving with $5,000 after missing the $7,000 question – her winnings were donated to Camp Fiesta.
In 2017, Cecily Strong portrayed Marilyn in a “Saturday Night Live” parody of “The People’s Court.” In the parody, Marilyn’s character presided over a case between three judges of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and President Donald Trump.
On 4 April 1993, Marilyn married John Schlesinger. In an episode of “The People’s Court’s Off-Air,” she spoke about her relationship with her husband, to whom she was married for 26 years at that point. She revealed that they met at a local bar, and a guy was standing between them. Marilyn ‘kicked’ the guy and quietly said, ‘Introduce me to your friend.’
During the early stages of their relationship, Marilyn was reportedly worried about how fast their relationship was progressing, and John calmly told her that they did not need to rush things. They would ‘see where it goes.’ A year and a couple of months later, John proposed to Marilyn, expressed his love for her and presented her with a ring from his pocket. The couple lives in Coral Gables, Florida, with their three daughters. Cristina was born in 1996, Alexandra in 1998, and Sofia Elena on 28 November 2001.
For three days every second month, Marilyn goes to Stamford, Connecticut, to tape “The People’s Court.” They still own their New York City apartment, where Marilyn would stay over when the show was taped in New York.
Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
In 2003, Marilyn was an honorary host for the National Chairman Arnold Schwarzenegger annual celebration of the South Florida Inner-City Games.
She supports Southern Florida’s Children’s Cancer Center’s Summer Camp and hosts ‘Camp Court,’ which are mock trials of camp counselors by the young campers.
She has worked as an emcee for philanthropic causes, including “Hope for Vision” and “Washington’s 2002 Teachers Making a Difference” campaign. In November 2011, she fell into controversy. Michelle Parker appeared on “The People’s Court”, and went missing a few hours after the episode she appeared in – “Dirty Laundry” -was aired. The primary accused was her allegedly abusive boyfriend, Dale Smith, who also appeared in the episode.
Happy Birthday to People's Court judge Marilyn Milian! She turns 52 today.Did you ever watch the show? We still catch re-runs from time to time!
Marilyn is an activist for Hispanic rights, and works with the “Latino Commission on AIDS.” On 20 September 2006, she was rewarded with the Groundbreaking Latina of the Year award.
She is 5ft 3in (1.6m) tall and weighs 117lbs (53kg). She has reddish-brown hair and dark brown eyes.
Net worth and salary
As of early 2020, her net worth is estimated at over $20 million.
In her first year working on “The People’s Court,” she earned $500,000, after which her salary was increased to $1 million. After four years of being on the show and the ratings being consistently high, her income was once again raised, this time to $5 million. As of 2020, she is earning $8 million a year, so her net worth is clearly still on the rise.