Casey Kasem, the radio personality who taught America to count backward from 40, has died.
The entertainer, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 82.
Confirming the sad news on her Facebook.com page, the broadcaster’s daughter Kerri writes, “Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”
Born Kemal Amin Kasem, the Detroit, Michigan native began his radio career in the mid-1950s, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to serve in the Korean War.
He ended up landing a job on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network and decided to pursue a career in broadcasting after the war, heading to San Francisco, California, where he honed his skills as a DJ and became known for his rock ‘n’ roll trivia.
He went on to work at stations across the U.S., before launching his popular weekly chart show, the “American Top 40,” in 1970. He hosted the program until 1988, and again from 1998 to 2004, and served as presenter on two spin-off series, the “American Top 20” and the “American Top 10.”
“Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You’re only as good as the people you work with and the people you work for. I’ve been lucky; I’ve worked for and with the best,” Kasem said in the sign-off of his final broadcast.
He moved into voice acting in the 1960s, lending his vocals to Batman’s sidekick Robin in the 1968 superhero cartoons, but Kasem was perhaps best known for providing the voice of Shaggy in the “Scooby-Doo” franchise, a job he retained from 1969 until 1995 and once again from 2002 to 2009.
His other TV credits included “Battle of the Planets,” “Cliffjumper” and the original “Transformers” cartoons, while he made acting cameos in the original “Hawaii Five-O” police drama, “Saved by the Bell,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Columbo” and the “Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” and appeared in independent sci-fi/horror movie “The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant,” alongside Bruce Dern. He also made a cameo in 1984’s “Ghostbusters.”
Kasem was honored for his lengthy career with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on his 49th birthday in April, 1981 and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.
His final years were blighted by ill health following his retirement in 2009, and he became the subject of a bitter family rivalry as his three eldest children, Julie, Mike and Kerri, from his first marriage to Linda Myers, battled with his second wife Jean, the mother of his youngest child Liberty, over his care.
His daughter Kerri Kasem was appointed his conservator in May.