Casey Kasem Wikipedia

Casey Kasem
Casey Kasem.jpg
Kasem at the 1989 Emmy Awards
BornKemal Amin Kasem

(1932-04-27)April 27, 1932

Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedJune 15, 2014(2014-06-15) (aged 82)

Gig Harbor, Washington, U.S.
EducationNorthwestern High School
Alma materWayne State University
OccupationDisc jockey, music historian, radio personality, voice actor, actor
Years active1954–2013
  • Linda Myers (m. 1972; d. 1979)
  • Jean Thompson (m. 1980–2014) (his death)
ChildrenWith Linda Myers: Kerri Kasem, Julie Kasem, Mike Kasem

With Jean Thompson: Liberty Jean Kasem
SignatureCasey Kasem (signature).png
Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem (April 27, 1932 – June 15, 2014) was an American disc jockey, music historian, radio personality, voice actor and actor, best known for being the host of several music radio countdown programs, most notably American Top 40, from 1970 until his retirement in 2009, and for providing the voice of "Shaggy" Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise from 1969 to 1997, and again from 2002 until 2009.

Kasem co-founded the American Top 40 franchise in 1970, hosting it from its inception to 1988, and again 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. From 1998 to 2009, Kasem also hosted two adult contemporary spin-offs of American Top 40: American Top 20 and American Top 10.

In addition to his radio shows, Kasem provided the voice of many commercials, performed many voices for Sesame Street, provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail, was "the voice of NBC", and helped out with the annual Jerry Lewis telethon. He provided the cartoon voices of Robin in Super Friends, Mark on Battle of the Planets, and a number of characters for the Transformers cartoon series of the 1980s. In 2008, he was the voice of Out of Sight Retro Night which aired on WGN America, but was replaced by rival Rick Dees. After 40 years, Kasem retired from his role of voicing Shaggy in 2009, although he did voice Shaggy's father in the 2010 TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.


    Early life

    Kasem was born in Detroit, Michigan, on April 27, 1932, to Lebanese Druze immigrant parents. They settled in Michigan, where they worked as grocers.

    In the 1940s, "Make Believe Ballroom" reportedly inspired Kasem to follow a career in radio and later host a national radio hits countdown show. Kasem received his first experience in radio covering sports at Northwestern High School in Detroit. He then went to Wayne State University for college. While at Wayne State, he voiced children on radio programs such as The Lone Ranger and Challenge of the Yukon. In 1952, Kasem was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Korea. There, he worked as a DJ/announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network.


    Early career

    After the war, Kasem began his professional broadcasting career in Flint, Michigan. From there, he spent time in Detroit; Buffalo, New York; and Cleveland before moving to California. At KYA in San Francisco, the general manager first suggested he tone down his 'platter patter' and talk about the records instead. Kasem demurred at first, because it was not what was normally expected in the industry. At KEWB in Oakland, California, Kasem was both the music director and on-air personality. He created a show which mixed in biographical tidbits about the artists' records he played, and attracted the attention of Bill Gavin who tried to recruit him as a partner. After Kasem joined KRLA in Los Angeles in 1963, his career really started to blossom and he championed the R&B music of East L.A.

    Kasem earned roles in a number of low budget movies, and acted on radio dramas. While hosting "dance hops" on local television, he attracted the attention of Dick Clark who as a producer hired him to co-host a daily teenage music show called Shebang starting in 1964. Kasem appeared in network TV series including Hawaii Five-O and Ironside. In 1967, he played the role of "Mouth" in the motorcycle gang film The Glory Stompers. In 1969, he played the role of "Knife" in the "surfers vs. bikers" film Wild Wheels, and had a small role in another biker movie, The Cycle Savages, starring Bruce Dern and Melody Patterson.

    Kasem's voice was, however, always the key to his career. At the end of the 1960s, he began working as a voice actor. In 1969, he started one of his most famous roles, the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. He also voiced the drummer Groove from The Cattanooga Cats that year. In 1964, Kasem had a minor hit single called "Letter From Elaina". A spoken-word recording, it told the story of a girl who met George Harrison after a San Francisco concert.

    1970–1988: American Top 40

    On July 4, 1970, Kasem, along with Don Bustany, Tom Rounds and Ron Jacobs, launched the weekly radio program American Top 40 (AT40). At the time, top 40 radio was on the decline as DJs preferred to play album-oriented progressive rock. Loosely based on the TV program Your Hit Parade, the show counted down from #40 on the pop charts to #1 – the first #1 was Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" – based on the Billboard Hot 100 each week. The show, however, was not just about the countdown. Kasem mixed in biographical information about the artists, flashback, and "long-distance dedication" segments where he read letters written by listeners to dedicate songs of their choice to far away loved ones. He often included trivia facts about songs he played and artists whose work he showcased. Frequently, he mentioned a trivia fact about an unnamed singer before a commercial break, then provided the name of the singer after returning from the break. Kasem ended the program with his signature sign-off, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

    The show debuted on seven stations, but on the back of Kasem's "always friendly and upbeat" baritone voice it soon went nationwide. In the late 70s, the show expanded from three hours a week to four. American Top 40's success spawned several imitators including a weekly half-hour music video television show, America's Top 10, hosted by Kasem himself. "When we first went on the air, I thought we would be around for at least 20 years," he later remarked. "I knew the formula worked. I knew people tuned in to find out what the No. 1 record was." Due to his great knowledge of music, Kasem became known as not just a disc jockey, but also a music historian.

    In 1971, Kasem provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail. In the same year, he appeared in the low-budget film The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, in what was probably his best remembered acting role. From 1973 until 1985, he voiced Robin on several SuperFriends franchise shows. In 1980, he voiced Merry in The Return of the King. He also voiced Alexander Cabot III on Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, and supplied a number of voices for Sesame Street.

    In the late 1970s, Kasem portrayed an actor who imitated Columbo in the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries two-part episode "The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom." He portrayed a golf commentator in an episode of Charlie's Angels titled "Winning is for Losers", and appeared on Police Story, Quincy, M.E., and Switch. In 1984, Kasem made a cameo in Ghostbusters, reprising his role as the host of American Top 40. For a period in the late 1970s, Kasem was also the staff announcer for the NBC television network.

    Kasem was hired as the narrator for the TV show Soap, but quit the series after the pilot due to the adult themes the show promoted.[citation needed]

    1988–1998: Casey's Top 40

    In 1988, Kasem left American Top 40 due to a contract dispute with ABC Radio Network. He signed a five-year, $15 million contract with Westwood One and started Casey's Top 40 which used a different chart to determine the top 40. He also hosted two shorter versions of the show: Casey's Hot 20 and Casey's Countdown. During the late 1990s, Kasem hosted the Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

    Kasem voiced Mark in Battle of the Planets and several Transformers characters: Bluestreak, Cliffjumper, Teletraan I and Dr. Arkeville. He left Transformers during the third season due to what he perceived as offensive caricatures of Arabs and Arab countries. In a 1990 article, he explained:

    A few years ago, I was doing one of the voices in the TV cartoon series, Transformers. One week, the script featured an evil character named Abdul, King of Carbombya. He was like all the other cartoon Arabs. I asked the director, 'Are there any good Arabs in this script for balance?' We looked. There was one other — but he was no different than Abdul. So, I told the show’s director that, in good conscience, I couldn't be a part of that show.

    From 1989 to 1998, Kasem hosted Nick at Nite's New Year's Eve count down the top reruns of the year. He also made cameo appearances on Saved by the Bell and ALF in the early 1990s. In 1997, Kasem's quit his role as Shaggy is a dispute over a Burger King commercial, with Billy West and Scott Innes taking over.

    1998–2009: American Top 40 second run

    The original American Top 40, hosted by Shadoe Stevens after Kasem's departure, was cancelled in 1995. Kasem regained the rights to the name in 1997, and the show was back on the air in 1998, on the AMFM Network (later acquired by Premiere Radio Networks). He retired in 2004, handing off the show to Ryan Seacrest. At the end of the year, Kasem recorded several holiday-themed programs to air on stations that flip to "all-Christmas" for the holidays.[citation needed] Kasem continued to host two shorter spin-off versions of AT40: American Top 20 and American Top 10.

    In April 2005, a television special called American Top 40 Live aired on the Fox network, hosted by Seacrest, with Kasem appearing on the show. In 2008, Kasem did the voice over for WGN America's Out of Sight Retro Night. He was also the host of the short-lived American version of 100% during the 1998–99 season.

    Kasem retired from AT20 and AT10 on July 4, 2009, and both shows ended on that day. After his 39 year run in the countdown business ended, he briefly appeared on his daughter Kerri's podcast. Kasem also performed TV commercial voice overs throughout his career, appearing in more than 100 commercials in all.

    In 2002, Kasem reprised the role of Shaggy when it was determined the character would be a vegetarian. In 2009, he retired from voice acting, with his final performance being the voice of Shaggy in Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword. He did voice Shaggy again for "The Official BBC Children in Need Medley", but went uncredited by his request. Although officially retired from acting, he provided the voice of Colton Rogers, Shaggy's father, on a recurring basis for the 2010–2013 series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, again uncredited at his request.

    As for his recognizable voice quality, "It's a natural quality of huskiness in the midrange of my voice that I call 'garbage,'" he stated to The New York Times. "It's not a clear-toned announcer's voice. It's more like the voice of the guy next door."

    Personal life

    Kasem was a devout vegan, supported animal rights and environmental causes, and was a critic of factory farming. He quit the Scooby-Doo show in 1995 when asked to voice Shaggy in a Burger King commercial, returning in 2002 after negotiating to have Shaggy become a vegetarian.

    Kasem was active in politics for years, supporting Lebanese-American and Arab-American causes, an interest which was triggered by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He wrote a brochure published by the Arab American Institute entitled "Arab-Americans: Making a Difference". He turned down a position in season three of Transformers because of the show's plot portraying "evil Arabs". He also called for a fairer depiction of heroes and villains, on behalf of all cultures, in Disney's 1994 sequel to Aladdin called The Return of Jafar. In 1996, he was honored as "Man of the Year" by the American Druze Society. Kasem campaigned against the Gulf War, advocating non-military means of pressuring Saddam Hussein into withdrawing from Kuwait, was an advocate of Palestinian independence and arranged conflict resolution workshops for Arab Americans and Jewish Americans.

    A political liberal, he narrated a campaign ad for George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, hosted fundraisers for Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988, supported Ralph Nader for U.S. President in 2000, and supported progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich in his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns. Kasem supported a number of other progressive causes, including affordable housing and the rights of the homeless.

    Kasem was married to Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979; they had three children: Mike, Julie, and Kerri Kasem.

    Kasem and his wife Jean at the 1993 Emmy Awards
    Kasem was married to actress Jean Thompson from 1980 until his death. They had one child, Liberty Jean Kasem.

    Illness and death

    In October 2013, Kerri Kasem said her father was suffering from Parkinson's disease, which a doctor had diagnosed in 2007; a few months later, she said he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which is often difficult to differentiate from Parkinson's. Due to his condition, he was no longer able to speak.

    As his health worsened in 2013, Jean Kasem prevented any contact with her husband, particularly from his children under his first marriage. On October 1, Kerri, Mike and Julie protested in front of the Kasem home, having not been allowed contact with their father for three months; some of Casey Kasem's long-time friends and colleagues, along with his brother Mouner, also joined the demonstration. The eldest Kasem children sought conservatorship over their father's care, with Julie and her husband Dr. Jamil Aboulhosn filing the papers; the court denied their petition in November. The feuding between Jean Kasem and her stepchildren over visitation, her husband's care and his best interests continued for his remaining months, and often spilled into court.

    It became even more contentious when he was suddenly removed from a Santa Monica, California nursing home by his wife early on May 7, 2014. On May 12, Kerri Kasem was granted temporary conservatorship over her father, despite her stepmother's objection. The court also ordered an investigation into Casey Kasem's whereabouts, after his wife's attorney told the court Casey was "no longer in the United States". He was found soon afterward in Washington state. Jean Kasem was warned about the potentially fatal risks of moving her husband from the nursing home in Santa Monica. Over the weeks that followed, Casey's health seriously deteriorated.

    On June 6, 2014, Kasem was reported to be in critical but stable condition at a hospital in Washington state, receiving antibiotics for bedsores and treatment for high blood pressure. It was revealed that he had been bedridden for some time. A judge ordered separate visitation times due to antagonism between Jean Kasem and his children from his first wife. Judge Daniel S. Murphy ruled that Kasem had to be hydrated, fed, and medicated as a court-appointed lawyer reported on his health status. Jean Kasem claimed that he had been given no food, water, or medication the previous weekend. Kerri Kasem's lawyer stated that she had him removed from artificial food and water on the orders of a doctor and in accordance with a directive her father signed in 2007 saying he would not want to be kept alive if it "would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning." Murphy reversed his order the following Monday, after it became known that Kasem's body was no longer responding to the artificial nutrition, allowing the family to place Kasem on "end-of-life" measures over the objections of Jean Kasem.

    On June 15, 2014, Kasem died at St. Anthony's Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington at the age of 82. He was survived by his wife, four children, and four grandchildren. Casey's body was handed over to widow Jean, who would be making funeral arrangements. Casey wanted to be buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

    Kerri stated that Jean sent a letter to the lawyer responsible for Casey's will that Jean intended to be "coming after" the irrevocable trust Casey established for his children in the 1980s.


    In 1981, Kasem was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame radio division in 1985, and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992. Five years later, he received the Radio Hall of Fame's first Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2003, Kasem was given the Radio Icon award at the Radio Music Awards.


    1966The Girls From Thunder StripFeature film
    1967The Glory StompersMouthFeature film
    1968Garrison's GorillasProvost MarshallLive-action
    1968–1969The Batman/Superman HourRobin / Dick GraysonVoice
    1969Scream Free!Feature film
    19692000 Years LaterFeature film
    1969Wild WheelsKnifeFeature film
    1969The Cycle SavagesKeeg's BrotherFeature film
    1969–1971SkyhawksSteve Wilson

    Joe Conway
    1969–1971Hot WheelsTank Mallory

    Dexter Carter
    1969–1971Cattanooga CatsGroove or Groovey, the drummer (sources differ)Voice
    1969–1971Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!Shaggy RogersVoice
    1970–1971Josie and the PussycatsAlexander Cabot IIIVoice
    1971Here Comes Peter CottontailPeter CottontailVoice, stop-motion Easter special for Rankin-Bass
    1971The Incredible 2-Headed TransplantKenLive-action
    1972Doomsday MachineMission Control OfficerVoice
    1972Wait Till Your Father Gets HomeGeorgeVoice
    1972–1973The New Scooby-Doo MoviesShaggy Rogers

    Alexander Cabot III
    1972–1974Josie and the Pussycats in Outer SpaceAlexander Cabot IIIVoice
    1973–1985Super Friends in various titlesRobin / Dick GraysonVoice
    1974The Dean Martin Celebrity RoastAdolf HitlerLive-action

    The Roast of Don Rickles
    1974Hong Kong PhooeyCar Stealer

    1974Hawaii Five-OSwift

    Freddie Dryden
    1974Emergency +4Additional voicesVoice
    1974IronsideLab Technician

    Jim Crutcher
    1976–1977Dynomutt, Dog WonderFishface

    Swamp Rat

    Shaggy Rogers
    1976–1978The Scooby-Doo ShowShaggy RogersVoice
    1977Police StorySobheLive-action
    1977Quincy, M.E.Sy WallaceLive-action
    1977The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew MysteriesPaul HamiltonLive-action
    1977SwitchTony BrockLive-action
    1977–1978What's New Mr. Magoo?WaldoVoice
    1977–1980Laff-A-LympicsShaggy RogersRecurring, various episodes
    1978Disco FeverBrian ParkerLive-action
    1978Charlie's AngelsTom RogersLive-action
    1978Jana of the JungleAdditional voices
    1978–1985Battle of the PlanetsMarkAmerican dubbed adaptation of anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (in which the character was originally called "Ken the Eagle")
    1979–1980Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-DooShaggy RogersVoice
    1979Scooby Goes HollywoodShaggy RogersFeature film
    1980The Return of the KingMerry, a hobbitVoice, feature film
    1980–1982The Richie Rich-Scooby Doo ShowShaggy RogersVoice
    1982–1983The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy HourShaggy RogersVoice
    1983–1984The All-New Scooby and Scrappy DooShaggy RogersVoice
    1984–1985The New Scooby-Doo MysteriesShaggy RogersVoice
    1984–1987The TransformersCliffjumper, Bluestreak, Teletraan IVoice
    1984GhostbustersHimselfCameo in the live-action feature film comedy
    1985The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-DooShaggy RogersVoice
    1986The Transformers: The MovieCliffjumperVoice, feature film
    1987Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo BrothersShaggy RogersFeature film
    1988Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul SchoolShaggy RogersFeature film
    1988–1991A Pup Named Scooby-DooShaggy Rogers

    Shaggy's Father
    1988Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant WerewolfShaggy RogersFeature film
    1991Tiny Toons AdventuresFlakey FlakemsVoice
    19932 Stupid DogsBill BarkerVoice
    1994Captain Planet and the PlaneteersLexo StarbuckVoice
    1988Scooby-Doo! in Arabian NightsShaggy RogersFeature film
    1996Homeboys in Outer SpaceSpacy KasemLive-action
    1997Johnny BravoShaggy RogersVoice
    2000Histeria!Calgary KasemVoice
    2002–2006What's New, Scooby-Doo?Shaggy Rogers
    2003Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the VampireShaggy RogersFeature film
    2003Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of MexicoShaggy RogersFeature film
    2003Blue's CluesRadioVoice
    2004Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness MonsterShaggy RogersFeature film
    2005Aloha, Scooby-Doo!Shaggy RogersFeature film
    2005Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?Shaggy RogersFeature film
    2006Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!Shaggy RogersFeature film
    2006–2008Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!Uncle AlbertVoice
    2007Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!Shaggy RogersFeature film
    2008Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin KingShaggy RogersFeature film
    2009Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai SwordShaggy RogersFeature film

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery IncorporatedColton RogersVoice

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