American radio legend Kasem dies, aged 82

END OF AN ERA: Kasem, who died on Sunday, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007. He had been receiving home care for a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease.


    Jun 17, 2014

    American radio legend Kasem dies, aged 82


    CASEY Kasem, the American radio personality who counted down pop music hits on his popular weekly radio show and also lent his distinctive voice to hippie sleuth Shaggy in the Scooby Doo cartoons, died on Sunday. He was 82.

    He died in a hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington.

    Kasem, who lived in Los Angeles, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2007. He had been receiving home health care for a form of dementia called Lewy Body Disease, according to court papers filed by his daughter, Kerri, who was appointed his temporary conservator in May this year.

    In his final months, Kasem, who had lived in Beverly Hills, California, was at the centre of a family legal battle, pitting his wife, actress Jean Kasem, against his three adult children from a previous marriage.

    Kasem was a co-creator of American Top 40, a syndicated pop music programme that featured the week's top singles, trivia tidbits and listener dedications. He began developing the format as a disc jockey in the 1960s.

    "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars," he said at the end of each programme. He hosted the show from its 1970 debut until 1988, and again from 1998 to 2004. The decade-long gap was due to his departure over a salary dispute. During those years, he hosted a competing programme.

    Kasem left for the second time when Ryan Seacrest, the host of the American Idol television show, succeeded him. He hosted a couple of spinoff countdowns until 2009, when he retired from broadcasting.

    On television, he provided the voice of Norville "Shaggy" Rogers in Scooby-Doo, an animated series.

    Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem was born on April 27, 1932, in Detroit. Both his parents were of Lebanese descent. His father was a grocer.

    He was drafted by the US Army in 1952 and sent to Korea. He was an announcer and disc jockey on the Armed Forces Radio Network and also coordinated and acted in radio dramas.

    Kasem began laying the groundwork for American Top 40 in 1962, while working in a radio station in Oakland. He found a copy of a magazine called Who's Who In Pop Music in a trash can at the station. He then used the publication to tell stories about singers and bands before playing their songs.

    The so-called teaser-bio format became a standard on his countdown shows.

    "When we first went on the air, I thought we would be around for at least 20 years," Kasem told Variety magazine in a 1989 interview. "I knew the formula worked. I knew people tuned in to find out what the No. 1 record was."