Casey Kasem Signs Off For the Last Time

My Date Every Weekend

Farewell, Casey

Broadcasting lost a legend today. Radio, TV and voiceover star Casey Kasem — best known as the heart, soul, and voice of American Top 40 — died in Gig Harbor, WA at the age of 82.

Kemal Kasem was born in Detroit in 1932. He built a solid career in radio and voiceover work. He worked at KRLA in Los Angeles for seven years before launching the program that changed the face of pop music history and trivia. American Top 40 debuted in 1970. Casey created the show with Don Bustany, Tom Rounds, and Ron Jacobs. His love of music, soothing voice, and sense of whimsy perfectly anchored the show. I remember listening to him from as early as 1971 (when I was five). I became fascinated with the stories that went along with the music. My obsession with research and trivia started with my family’s natural curiosity and grew with Casey’s clever use of anecdote, history, and statistics.

Me during the early days of AT40

Me during the early days of AT40

A major media presence, Casey voiced many commercials, provided voices for Sesame Street characters, and voiced cartoons. I was shocked when I found out that he was the man behind Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, one of my favorite cartoons. He was also the voice of Robin, the Boy Wonder on Super Friends. Given my obsession with Robin, my fondness for Casey only grew. I was anchored to the radio almost every Saturday of my teen years, enjoying the wonders of pop music. Casey hosted AT40 until 1988, leaving just as I graduated college and stopped listening to pop radio.

Casey retired from broadcasting about five years ago, enjoying a quiet life with his wife, actress Jean Kasem. He was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a condition similar to Parkinson’s, last year. The disease silenced his mighty voice and he died peacefully today.

I’ll sign off with Casey’s inspirational AT40 closing: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Farewell, Casey, and thank you.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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