The Voice of Top 40 Radio Dead at 82

Radio and television personality, Casey Kasem, died today at the age of 82 after a long bout with dementia.

Kerri Kasem released a statement from the family on Twitter this morning.

As the original host of the radio show American Top 40, Kasem had become the voice of popular music, as listeners tuned into to syndicated broadcast each week to learn which artist had earned No. 1 honors.  He co-founded the American Top 40 franchise in 1970, hosting it from 1970 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2004. Between January 1989 and early 1998, he was the host of Casey’s Top 40, Casey’s Hot 20, and Casey’s Countdown. A truncated version of the popular radio show, called American Top 10, appeared on television for several years. Kasem retired from the broadcasting in 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6ppA38iP7I

Kasem also developed into the voice of Saturday morning cartoons, lending his voice to cartoon mogul Hanna-Barbara to provide the voice for Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo series from 1969 to 1997 and Robin in Super Friends.

By crossing both mediums, his voice – often cheerful and sincere -seemed ever-present in the lives of children and young teenagers, the target audience for the cartoons and radio broadcasts.  His wholesome persona took a hit several years ago when a curse-laden recording from his radio show went public.  Most recently, Kasem was in the middle of a family fued between his wife Jean and his children.

Born Kemal Anin Kasem to Lebanese immigrants in Detroit, MI in 1932. Kasem attended Wayne State University before he was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War in 1952. It was during the war that Kasem started his broadcasting career, serving as a DJ and announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network.

Kasem is survived by his wife Jean Kasem, to whom he married in 1980, his four children (Kerri, Mike, Liberty and Julie) and his ex-wife Linda.

Editor note: Featured picture taken by Alan Light.