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Casey Kasem was one of the most recognizable voices in radio and television. Millions of fans around the world still find his name synonymous with musical countdowns.
In 2009, after 39 years as the “King of the Countdowns,” Kasem stepped down as host of American Top 20 and American Top 10, and in 2003, he retired from the helm of American Top 40 — the show he created in 1970 that became the gold standard of music programming. Kasem’s friendly, “crackling” voice style took him to the top of his profession. The man, who once dreamed of being a baseball player but ended up as a radio sports announcer instead, was the youngest member ever inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.[/symple_column][symple_column size=”one-third” position=”last”]
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He has his own star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame. In 1997, Billboard magazine honored him with its firstever Lifetime Achievement Award. Kasem was honored with the first ever “Radio Icon” award at the Radio Music Awards in 2003.
Throughout his career, Kasem worked as a character actor in films and television. He has voiced countless commercials and Saturday morning cartoon-show characters, including the voice of Shaggy in the evergreen Scooby Doo television and film franchise.
Kasem was a member of FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting). He spent much of his time after 1986 calling the entertainment industry’s attention to ethnic stereotyping. He also helped promote and support workshops like the Cousins Club that brings Arabs, Jews and others together to discuss conflict resolutions. Kasem aided the Great Peace March in the U.S.A. (1986), and participated in the American-Soviet Walk to End an Arms Race Nobody Wants, held in the U.S.S.R. (1987). He returned to Moscow in 1992 to emcee a pop music concert on behalf of the Children of Chernobyl charity project.
His alma mater, Wayne State University, presented him with its “Distinguished Alumni” award. He received the 1989 “Martin Luther King Drum Major” award from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and, in 1990, the NAACP’s “Image” award and the “Ellis Island Medal of Honor” award.
Kasem passed away on June 15, 2014. He is survived by his four children and his wife Jean, an actress who co-starred in the 1987 NBC-TV comedy series “The Tortellis.”
You can hear Casey Kasem’s original countdowns from the 1980s every Sunday morning at 7am on 101.5 K-Hits.
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