The Hollywood Reporter reports that longtime radio host Casey Kasem passed away earlier today from complications of dementia at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington. He was 82.
Kasem was best known as the host of the popular radio show American Top 40 which began on July 4, 1970. He was also the host of the TV version titled America’s Top 10 throughout the 1980s. His trademarks on the show were his “long distance dedications” and his signature catchphrase, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” Kasem was inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992, and became the first winner of the Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kasem also provided voices for dozens of cartoon characters throughout his career, with his best known roles being Robin the Boy Wonder and Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. Kasem began voicing Robin and his secret identity Dick Grayson in Flimation’s The Adventures of Batman in 1968. He later reprised the voice of Robin in The New Scooby-Doo Movies as well as every version of Super Friends. Kasem was one of two voice actors who voiced a Super Friends character from the beginning (the other being Danny Dark, who voiced Superman). His role as Norville Rogers, aka Shaggy on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, began in 1969, and he provided the voice of Shaggy in almost every Scooby-Doo cartoon and movie until a few years ago, when he was replaced by Matthew Lillard. He later provided the voice of Shaggy’s uncle Albert on Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, and Shaggy’s father on Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Among his other roles, Kasem was the voice of Cliffjumper and Bluestreak on The Transformers, and Mark, the leader of G-Force in Battle of the Planets.
During the last few weeks of his life, Casey’s three children from his first marriage (Kerri, Julie, and Mike Kasem) fought his current wife Jean Kasem in order to see their father. The argument resulted in several court battles, with Kerri ultimately named Casey’s caregiver. Kerri had Casey admitted to a hospital, and it was in accordance with her wishes that doctors could stop artificially feeding and hydrating the elder Kasem last Wednesday.
In addition to his wife and children, Kasem is also survived by another daughter Liberty, which he had with his first wife Jean.