John Bradshaw, Talk Show Host and Self-Help Icon, Dies at 82

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John Bradshaw

The Houston native and Daytime Emmy nominee inspired millions to explore their "inner child."

John Bradshaw, a best-selling self-help author, motivational speaker and Emmy-nominated television personality, died on Sunday from heart failure in Houston, his publicist said. He was 82.

After a personal struggle with drugs and alcohol, Bradshaw rose to prominence in the 1970s and '80s as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS series Bradshaw on the Family. In 1991, he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for outstanding talk show host for his work on Bradshaw on Homecoming.

Bradshaw, widely credited with popularizing the term "inner child," went on to appear on more than 800 television and radio shows. Oprah Winfrey once introduced him to her viewers as "the Pied Piper leading people in their search for healthy relationships," and he served as an unofficial advisor to Steven Spielberg on the 1991 film Hook.

A Houston native, Bradshaw studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood for more than nine years at a Basilian seminary but left just days before being ordained. He went on to author seven books that sold more than 12.5 million copies and were published in 42 languages.

Survivors include his wife Karen, children John and Ariel and stepchildren Brad and Brenda.