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Kamal Amin "Casey" Kasem (born April 27, 1932) is an Americanmarker radio personality and voice actor.

Kasem founded the popular American Top 40 franchise in 1970, hosting it from 1970 to 1988 and then from 1998 to 2004. Between 1989 and 1998, he was the host of Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20, and Casey's Countdown. He hosted two weekly syndicated radio programs based on the American Top 40 franchise: Casey Kasem's American Top 40: The 70s and Casey Kasem's American Top 40: The 80s. Both are replays of AT40 shows from the respective decades. He also hosted American Top 20 and American Top 10. Kasem retired from AT20 and AT10 on July 4, 2009.

In addition to his radio shows, Kasem has provided the voice of many commercials, has done many voices for Sesame Street, was the voice of NBC, helps out with the annual Jerry Lewis telethon, and most notably, provided the cartoon voice of Robin in Super Friends, Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, 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 airs on WGN America, but recently was replaced by rival Rick Dees. After 40 years, Casey has retired from his role of voicing Shaggy from Scooby Doo in 2009.

Early life

Kasem was born in Detroit, Michiganmarker to Lebanese Druze parents who worked as grocers. Kasem is a graduate of Northwestern High School in Detroit and Wayne State Universitymarker.

Radio

Kasem, whose radio career started in the mid-1950s in Detroit at WJBKmarker, developed his rock-trivia persona from his work as a disc jockey in the early 1960s at KYA in San Franciscomarker and KEWBmarker in Oakland, Californiamarker. He also worked for several other stations across the country, including WBNY (now WWWSmarker) in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, and KRLA 1110 in Los Angelesmarker (1963-69), before launching the national show American Top 40 on July 4, 1970.

Kasem is best known by name as a music historian and disc jockey, most notably as host of the weekly American Top 40 radio program from 1970 to 1988, and again from March 1998 until January 10, 2004, when Ryan Seacrest succeeded him. He hosted a spin-off television show called America's Top 10 for a time in the 1980s. He was the host of the short-lived American version of 100% in 1999. For a period in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Kasem was the staff announcer for the NBC television network. More recently, he has appeared in infomercials, marketing CD music compilations. Kasem received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker on 27 April 1981, his 48th birthday, and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.

From January 1989 to March 1998 when he was not at the helm of American Top 40, he was host of Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20, and Casey's Countdown, syndicated by the Westwood One Radio Networks.

In August 2006, XM Satellite Radio, now merged with Sirius Satellite Radio, began airing newly restored versions of the original American Top 40 radio show from the 1970s and 1980s. Premiere Radio Networks also started airing reruns of AT40 (dating from 1970 to 1978 & 1980-1988) in January 2007.

Sometimes thought of as a perfectionist in the studio, there are two known instances where Kasem lost his temper due to what he perceived as production errors. The most infamous incident was over a long-distance dedication involving a deceased dog. The song that preceded it, The Pointer Sisters' "Dare Me", was felt to be too up-tempo to lead into the moment, resulting in a profanity-laced tirade. The other had to do with the over-explanation of the band U2, then relatively unknown to mainstream audiences. Both of these moments have been displayed and satirized on websites such as YouTube, and both incidents were interpolated into a song by the experimental music group Negativland in 1991 called "U2".

On the week of July 4, 2009, after 39 years on air, Casey Kasem ended his run on the radio. American Top 20 and American Top 10 aired their final shows, with Casey giving a brief retrospective of his 39 years of counting down the hits. Casey also read one final Long Distance Dedication, from a listener thanking Casey for 39 years of music. Replays of Casey's shows from the 70s and 80s continue to air on 200+ stations around the country, but Casey is no longer producing any new material in the studio.

Casey's signature sign-off is "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Television

Kasem began his television career hosting "Shebang," a dance show aired weekday afternoons on Los Angeles television station KTLA in the mid to late 1960s. He is a prominent voiceover actor, and is most connected to Hanna-Barbera. His most famous role was the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo franchise, beginning with the first series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969. He has done work for many other animated series, such as the voice of Robin, The Boy Wonder in the 1968 Batman cartoons, three 1970 episodes of Sesame Street, and various versions of SuperFriends, the drummer Groove from The Cattanooga Cats (1969), Alexander Cabot III from Josie and the Pussycats (1970, 1972), and television specials such as Rankin-Bass' Here Comes Peter Cottontail. Kasem has also done many TV commercial voiceovers for companies and products like A&P, Chevron, Ford, Red Lobster, Raid, Oscar Mayer, Hoover vacuum cleaners, Joy dishwashing liquid, Heinz Ketchup, Sears, Prestone, Continental Airlines, the California Raisin Advisory Board, the National Cancer Institute, and promos for the NBC television network . He also played the voice of Mark, the American name of Ken Washio in Battle of the Planets, the first American version of Gatchaman, as well as Bluestreak, Cliffjumper, Teletraan I and Dr. Arkeville in the original Transformers animated series, but left during the third season due to what he perceived as offensive caricatures of Arabs and Arab countries in the episode "Thief in the Night."

Kasem also hosted, from 1980 to 1989 and again from 1991 to 1992, the syndicated American Top 40 TV spin-off America's Top 10, a weekly one-hour music video show that counted down the top 10 songs in the United States.

He initially was hired as the narrator for the TV show Soap, but quit the series after the pilot due to the controversial adult themes the show promoted. Rod Roddy replaced him as narrator; it was Roddy's first national television announcing job.

In addition to voice acting, Kasem has appeared on camera on Nick at Nite on New Year's Eve from 1989 to 1998, counting down the top reruns of the year.

He was once also seen on Late Show with David Letterman performing a Top Ten list - the Top Ten Numbers from 10 to 1. The countdown of numbers was paused at number 2 for Kasem to spoof one of his long distance dedications.

Additionally, he has appeared on camera as a co-host of Jerry Lewis' annual Labor Day Telethon for The Muscular Dystrophy Association since 1983.

Kasem also made two cameo appearances on the TV show Saved by the Bell in the early 1990s and one cameo appearance on the 1970s show Quincy, M.E. in the episode "An Unfriendly Radiance." Kasem also appeared in an episode of ALF during that show's 4th season.

In the late 1970s, Kasem portrayed an actor who imitated Columbo and had a key role in the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries two-part episodes "The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom." He also portrayed a golf commentator in an episode of Charlie's Angels titled "Winning is for Losers," with then unknown actress Jamie Lee Curtis playing one of the golfers.

In 2008, Casey was the voiceover talent for cable channel WGN America's "Out of Sight Retro Night."

In 2009, Casey retired from voice acting with his final performance being the voice of Shaggy in the direct-to-DVD movie Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword.

Personal life

Kasem was married to the actress/singer Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979, and they have three children together: Mike, Kerri and Julie. Kasem remarried in 1980 to Jean Thompson.

Casey's son Mike Kasem is a voice-over actor who, in 1997, presented the MTV Top 20 Video Countdown. From 2007-2009, Mike was the regular substitute host for his father on American Top 20 and American Top 10. He also recorded new segments for American Top 40 repeat broadcasts prior to Casey's departure from Premiere Radio Networks.

Kerri Kasem is a television and radio hostess.

Casey and Jean also have a daughter, Liberty Irene Kasem, born on 31 May 1990. The "Little Miss Liberty" upscale baby cribs, designed by Jean Kasem and best known for their appearances as prizes on The Price Is Right, are named after Liberty.

Kasem is of Lebanese Druze heritage, and he is a vegan (something which affected the Shaggy character during his time voicing him). Kasem has been active in politics for years, supporting Lebanese-American and Arab-American causes and politicians.

Kasem was a member of Citizens for Nader in 2000, and he supported Dennis Kucinich in his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

Kasem has written a brochure published by the Arab-American Institute entitled "Arab-Americans: Making a Difference."

Honors

In 1985, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame radio division.

Further reading

  • Durkee, Rob. "American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century." Schriner Books, New York Citymarker, 1999. ISBN 0-02-864895-1.
  • Battistini, Pete, "American Top 40 with Casey Kasem (The 1970s)." Authorhouse.com, January 31, 2005. ISBN 1-4184-1070-5.


References

  1. http://www.filmreference.com/film/45/Casey-Kasem.html
  2. http://www.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-celebbirthdays0427/7/
  3. FMQB In Brief - June 5, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-05.
  4. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NE4uA948PvnA76
  5. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=BG&p_theme=bg&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADEADD876A043D&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM
  6. http://www.ameu.org/page.asp?iid=108&aid=152&pg=6
  7. http://www.movieweb.com/news/NE4uA948PvnA76
  8. http://www.ivu.org/people/radio/kasem.html


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