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70lb baby reunited with Jerry Springer 20 years later

Tom Wood

| Last updated 

A 70-pound baby that once appeared on The Jerry Springer Show later returned to the show as an adult, providing one of the rare happy endings the show ever got to see.

Springer died last month at the age of 79, having presented on TV since 1991.

His shows became known for burly security men, fighting folks, and – more occasionally – human stories to touch the heart, this being one of the latter.

In 1996, Zack Strenkert made an appearance on the show as a baby that was of a really unusual weight.

Credit: NBC
Credit: NBC

Tipping the scales at 70 pounds, and seeming much larger than just about any baby that anyone had ever seen, Strenkert was brought onto the show and described as an ‘international celebrity’ by the host.

Zack was wearing adult nappies at the age of just 18 months, and his parents had to make all sorts of changes just to keep him safe and alive.

His mum described him as ‘not a big eater’, which was giving them concern because he simply kept growing.


In the end, he was diagnosed with Simpson Golabi Behmel Syndrome, which is a rare condition that causes overgrowth.

He was too heavy for a car seat in the car, another special adaptation that had to be made for him, and his mum was complaining of a bad back, which is hardly surprising.

Heartbreakingly, he wasn’t able to use much of the stuff at the park, but still his dad described him as ‘a good boy’ and said that he ‘wouldn’t change him for the world’.

On the show, Jerry himself described the youngster as ‘just a gorgeous, gorgeous little boy’.


Not that little, but you get the idea.

Springer tragically passed away last month, aged 79. Credit: NBC
Springer tragically passed away last month, aged 79. Credit: NBC

Anyway, Zack was welcomed back onto the programme some years later as a 23-year-old.

Of his life then, he said: “For the most part, I’m probably as healthy as someone can be with this overgrowth syndrome.


“Nowadays I’m a competitive gamer, actually.”

This surprising revelation brought some applause from the audience, and why not?

“It’s hard for me to do some things because of my size,” he explained.

“But I own that, I’m like the hottest fat guy around!”

Strenkert went onto be a competitive gamer. Credit: YouTube/@JerrySpringerTV
Strenkert went onto be a competitive gamer. Credit: YouTube/@JerrySpringerTV

He then thanked Jerry for the help he gave them, before the talk show host asked: “Does the fact that you’re ‘Zack the baby’ come up?”

Zack responded: “I could be anywhere and people recognise me.

“Even people that it’s beyond their time, they could be around my age and they’ve found out from their parents.”

He added: “Things really took off, but in a good way, though.”

Jerry then said: “It’s a pleasure to have you back, I’m glad you’re having a good life.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better family – you know – they’ve done so much for me,” Zack then added.

It’s heartwarming stuff, and reminds us that there were moments on Jerry’s show that showed the best of life, rather than just people fighting.

Topics: TV and Film, Health, US News

Tom Wood
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