The industry is racked by the loss of another voice-over great this year, one who inspired the careers of many in radio and voice-overs.
On Sunday, June 15th, 2014, Casey Kasem passed away at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington.
The American Top 40 radio legend was battling Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, originally announced her father was suffering from Parkinson’s in October of 2013. Just a few months later he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which caused him to lose the ability to speak, a shattering condition for one famous for their voice and personality.
Kerri publicly announced his passing yesterday on her Facebook page saying; “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.”
Kasem was married to Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979. They had three children together; Mike, Julie, and Kerri. After their divorce, Kasem married actress Jean Thompson in 1980. They had one child together, Liberty Jean Kasem, and were married until his death. He is also survived by four grandchildren.
Kasem hosted the American Top 40 for 24 years until he handed the reins over to Ryan Seacrest in 2004. From 1989 to 1998 he hosted Casey’s Top 40, Casey’s Hot 20, and Casey’s Countdown. He continued hosting the adult contemporary Top 40 spin-offs American Top 20 and American Top 10 until his retirement in 2009.
He was a music historian, disk jockey, host, and gifted voice actor. Kasem was famous for performing the voice of Norville “Shaggy” Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise from 1969 to 1997, and again from 2002 until 2009. In addition to “Scooby Doo,” he played characters in “Josie and the Pussycats,” “Transformers,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Johnny Bravo,” “Blue’s Clues,” among many others.
Kasem’s gentle spirit was evident in the roles he accepted. He was cautious to avoid participating in programs which he felt were too “violent or mean-spirited.” His full list of voice-over credits can be seen at VoiceChasers.com.
Although he is gone, his legacy will live on and continue to inspire new generations of voice actors for years to come.
“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” – Casey Kasem.