Casey Kasem Passes Away At Age 82
June 15, 2014


Casey Kasem
Radio legend Casey Kasem passed away this morning (6/15) at the age of 82, following a long and public battle between his family members over his health. Daughter Kerri Kasem made the announcement in a Facebook post, writing, "Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad. With love, Kerri, Mike and Julie."

Kasem was a massively influential voice in the history of radio, most notably as the host and co-creator of the long-running syndicated American Top 40 show. Kasem was born in Detroit in 1932 and got into radio while serving in the U.S Army, DJing for the Armed Forces Radio Network. After his time in the service, Kasem was heard on-air in a number of major markets, including San Francisco, Cleveland and Los Angeles.

American Top 40 launched on July 4 in 1970 and made Kasem a national star. His signature "long distance dedication" feature and sign-off of "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" became iconic sayings over the years. The show ran until 1988, and was re-launched from 1998-2004, at which point Ryan Seacrest took over as host.

Kasem also hosted a handful of spinoff countdown shows in the '90s and '00s for Westwood One, and retired from radio in 2009. He was inducted into the NAB Radio Hall of Fame in 1985.

His instantly-recognizable voice was also heard as an announcer for NBC, an infomercial pitchman and in a number of animation voiceover roles. Kasem famously was the voice of Scooby-Doo character Shaggy for 40 years, as well as the voice of Batman's sidekick Robin throughout the '60s and well into the '80s. He worked on many Hanna-Barbara cartoons, including Josie and the Pussycats, and even voiced a handful of the Transformers in the '80s. Kasem even made a memorable cameo in Ghostbusters, which also featured an appearance from his second wife Jean.

He was married to Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979, and had three children: Mike, Julie and Kerri. Kasem married Jean in 1980, and they have one child, Liberty Jean.

Sadly his final days were marred by the very public feud between Kerri (a noted radio host herself) and Jean, Kasem suffered from Lewy body dementia, a disease similar to Parkinson's. Mike, Julie and Kerri Kasem had battled with Jean since last October over the ability to have contact with their father. Just last month, Kerri was granted conservatorship, while for a few days Casey Kasem's whereabouts were unknown, though he was soon found in Washington state.




 
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Brian Mack, PD
WXXL/Orlando

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