Beloved U.S. radio and TV personality Casey Kasem has died at the age of 82. The entertainer, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, passed away on Sunday morning (15Jun14).
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 programme 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.
On the radio countdown shows, he became famous for his signature send-off, "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
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 honoured 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.
In May (14), he was admitted to a Washington hospital, where he was treated for dementia, sepsis and and Parkinson's disease.
His daughter Kerri Kasem was appointed his conservator last month (May14), and last week (ends13Jun14) was granted permission to withhold medication, food and water from her ailing father. On Friday (13Jun14), his wife Jean filed legal papers opposing that decision, insisting her husband was not close to death.
Among the first people to pay tribute to Kasem, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk honoured the broadcaster's animal rights efforts, telling WENN, "PETA joins in mourning the passing of former American Top 40 host Casey Kasem. From always touting the importance of going vegetarian to flying to Las Vegas at his own expense to speak out against an entertainer who beat orangutans backstage every night before his act, Kasem was proud to use his distinctive voice to support many social causes, including animal protection."
And a statement from Ken Howard, the president of the Screen Actors Guild, which Kasem joined in 1966, reads, "For many, the multitalented Casey Kasem was the voice of popular music, and his long-running countdown programme brought exposure for many of his fellow union members. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends, and may we all remember him best by ‘reaching for the stars'."
Boston passed away in Torrance, California on 14 July (10). No further details regarding his cause of death had been released as WENN went to press.
He began his small screen career as an assistant director on U.S. TV shows including Ironside and Marcus Welby M.D.
Boston went on to produce other programmes including Sword of Justice, BJ and the Bear, The Master and 1970s series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.
Boston is survived by his wife Nancy, a daughter, two grandchildren and a sister.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
After Robert Langdon cracked the Church’s most controversial code in the last film what could possibly make the Vatican come begging for his services again? Using Dan Brown’s lesser-known bestseller Angels & Demons as the basis director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks return with this crackerjack story revolving around the reemergence of the Illuminati an ancient secret and wickedly powerful brotherhood. Determined to make the Church pay for its sins against science they’ve planted a deadly ticking time bomb somewhere in the heart of the Vatican – just as a new Pope is set to be elected. Langdon joins up with beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra in a race against time through crypts catacombs cathedrals and hidden vaults as they follow the “Path of Illumination” to save Catholicism’s venerable headquarters from certain destruction.
WHO’S IN IT?
With a thankfully restrained hairstyle Hanks returns as celebrated Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. He might as well have worn running shoes because the action is ramped up to the max in Angels & Demons turning this colorful drama into something that could have been called The Pope Ultimatum. It’s THAT intense. This is Hanks’ most vivid turn as an action star and he delivers proving movies don’t get much more exciting than this. As his pretty cohort Vetra Ayelet Zurer is every bit his equal a much more effective female lead than the miscast Audrey Tautou was in the critically reviled 2006 blockbuster Da Vinci Code. Ewan McGregor offers a complex turn as the Camerlengo the Pope’s number two and acting head of the Vatican during this period while Stellan Skarsgard brings authority to his role as head of the Swiss Guard. And veteran Armin Mueller-Stahl is simply terrific as a wise and dignified Cardinal at the center of the papal conflict.
If the slow-moving and overlong Da Vinci Code was more cerebral and Hitchcockian in tone Angels & Demons is just the opposite: an exhilarating heart-stopping thriller that doesn’t let up for a minute. Howard’s entire production is a first-rate example of Hollywood craftsmanship delivering a summertime diversion that cooks on all burners. The backdrop of the mysteries and machinations behind the fiercely-guarded veil of the Catholic Church adds a layer of intrigue to the proceedings keeping us hooked throughout with cool twists and turns.
Brown’s novel is basically pulp fiction filled with expository dialogue which has been transferred in a clunky fashion to David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman’s otherwise tight screenplay. Hanks and Zurer come close to Hardy Boys-style delivery as they attempt to awkwardly lay out “clues” and mounds of technical mumbo-jumbo in a believable fashion – not an easy task for the best of actors. You’ll also have to suspend belief as the story is largely implausible. But hey this is a summer movie – the cinematic equivalent of a good beach read – and the filmmakers know exactly how to play it.
A sequence where one of the hostages is being burned at the stake in a cathedral will keep you on edge as director Howard’s experience with setting movie fires (Backdraft anyone?) really comes in handy. The big denouement is one for the ages as well but we won’t reveal anything more about it except to say that a helicopter is involved.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
The “cardinal” rule with blockbuster mysteries like this is to see it in a theater before someone tells you how it ends.
Top Story: Quirky Comedies Win Top WGA Honors
The quirky comedies Lost in Translation and American Splendor took top honors Saturday at the 56th annual Writers Guild of America Awards, which were doled out in simultaneous ceremonies at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and the Pierre Hotel in New York. The awards, handed out by Hollywood's screenwriters, honor outstanding achievement in writing for the screen, television and radio during the 2003 season. Lost in Translation, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, won original screenplay, while American Splendor, penned by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, took best-adapted screenplay--a prize that was an expected shoo-in for the third and final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But The Return of the King scribes Frances Walsh and Philippa Boyens and director Peter Jackson will get their chance again at the Academy Awards on Feb. 29, where they are nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay along with Pulcini and Berman for American Splendor, Anthony Minghella for Cold Mountain, Brian Helgeland for Mystic River and writer/director Gary Ross for Seabiscuit. The odds, however, are tipped in American Splendor's favor: In the past 12 years, eight Writers Guild of America adapted screenplay winners have gone on to win an Oscar.
Bobby Brown in the Hoosegow
Bobby Brown is back in the Big House. The 35-year-old singer, whose hits include "My Prerogative" and "Every Little Step," was being held Saturday without bond at the DeKalb County Jail in Georgia, The Associated Press reports, after being taken into custody for violating his probation on a previous drunken driving conviction. He is expected to remain in custody until a court hearing Friday. According to the AP, the ruling may be related to Brown's charge of misdemeanor battery in December following an argument with his wife, singer Whitney Houston. Brown has been on probation since January 2003, when he was convicted of a 1996 drunken driving incident. He had been ordered to remain on probation until Feb. 17, 2005.
Jackson's Exposure Not a Federal Case
While most American believe Janet Jackson acted in poor taste when she revealed her right breast during the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 1, only a few think it warrants a federal investigation. An Ipsos Group research poll conducted for the AP found that only 18 percent of those surveyed thought Jackson's exposure was an illegal act, while 54 percent said it was in bad taste. Meanwhile, a fourth of those in the poll said the act was neither in bad taste nor illegal, according to the AP. The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,000 adults was taken Feb. 16-18. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
American Idol Reject's Popularity Surges
Despite being unceremoniously booted off the Fox American Idol audition stage a few weeks ago, 21-year-old William Hung has become an instant celebrity. Hung has taken his gotta-see-it-to-believe-it version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" and turned it into a bizarre quasi-career. Hung, a Southern California native studying at the University of California, Berkeley, tried out for American Idol in San Francisco last September but promptly got the brush-off from judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. But he has since become a hot commodity. After being invited to sing at a Cal volleyball game last week, he received offers from music cabler Fuse and New York-based record company Koch Entertainment for a record contract and music video production deal. Hung also made a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he performed four songs. Three Web sites devoted to Hung have also gone up on the Internet in the past week, including one that generated 4 million hits in four days.
Ozzy Osbourne Ready To Rock
Though he's recently questioned his ability to perform onstage again, a neck brace-sporting Ozzy Osbourne says he will indeed headline the ninth annual Ozzfest touring festival this summer and denies reports that a team of paramedics and a mobile surgery would be standing by at the side of the stage should anything happen. "Number one, I'm not gonna die; I'm gonna make the tour," Osbourne, 55, said at a news conference Friday. "I'm not dead. I'm ready to rock, man." Osbourne crashed his four-wheel all-terrain vehicle on Dec. 8 at his estate in Buckinghamshire in southern England, leaving him with fractures in eight ribs and a vertebra. He expressed fears earlier this week that he might never perform again. The Ozzfest tour, which will play 26 locations across the United States, begins in Hartford, Conn., July 10 and wraps in West Palm Beach, Fla., Sept. 10.
Shaun Cassidy in Fender Bender
Former teen idol Shaun Cassidy was involved in a Thursday morning car crash that left a Warner Bros. studio security guard with minor leg injury. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Cassidy was driving into the studio when his car struck a vehicle that was stopped at the security gate. That car was then pushed into a third vehicle, trapping guard Conrad Perez between them. Perez was treated at a hospital and released. Cassidy was not cited. Cassidy, who costarred in the TV series The Hardy Boys Mysteries, went on to stage acting and then became a writer and producer for TV shows including American Gothic, The Agency and the current CBS series Cold Case.
Kristin Davis Keeping Charlotte's Wardrobe
Talk about a job with fringe benefits.
The series, set in the town of Bayport, Massachusetts, and follows investigations of juvenile detectives Frank and Joe Hardy, the sometimes mischievous sons of world-famous private detective Fenton Hardy. Based on the stories by Franklin W. Dixon. Originally broadcast as "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries."