Casey Kasem

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Casey Kasem
Casey Kasem.jpg
Casey Kasem at the 41st Annual Emmy Awards, September 17, 1989
Born Kemal Amin Kasem
(1932-04-27) April 27, 1932 (age 81)
Detroit, Michigan, US
Nationality American
Education Northwestern High School (Michigan)
Alma mater Wayne State University
Occupation Radio personality
Voice actor
Years active 1954–2013

Linda Myers (m. 1972–79) (divorced),

Jean Kasem (m. 1980)
Children With Linda Myers: Kerri Kasem, 2 others.
With Jean Kasem: 1

Kemal Amin "Casey" Kasem (born April 27, 1932) is an American former radio personality and voice actor, known for being the host of the nationally syndicated Top 40 countdown show American Top 40 and for playing the character Shaggy in the Saturday morning cartoon franchise Scooby-Doo.

Kasem, Don Bustany and Ron Jacobs founded the American Top 40 franchise in 1970, hosting it from 1970 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2004. Between January 1989 and early 1998, he was the host of Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20, and Casey's Countdown. Also beginning in 1998 Kasem hosted two adult contemporary spinoffs of American Top 40, American Top 20 and American Top 10. Kasem retired from AT20 and AT10 on July 4, 2009 and both shows ended on that day.[1]

In addition to his radio shows, Kasem has provided the voice of many commercials; has done many voices for Sesame Street; provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail; was the voice of NBC; helps out with the annual Jerry Lewis telethon; and provided the cartoon voices of Robin in Super Friends, 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 aired on WGN America, but was replaced by rival Rick Dees. After 40 years, Casey retired from his role of voicing Shaggy in 2009, although he did voice Shaggy's father in the 2010 TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.[2] Kasem's daughter Kerri Kasem has followed in her father's footsteps by hosting the nationally syndicated Sixx Sense and The Sideshow Countdown for Clear Channel Communications, among other shows.

Kasem's signature sign-off was "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."[3]

Early life[edit]

Kasem was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Lebanese Druze parents who emigrated from the British Mandate of Palestine to Lebanon. After arriving in the United States, they settled in Michigan, where they worked as grocers.[4] Kasem is a graduate of Northwestern High School in Detroit and Wayne State University.[5]



Kasem, whose professional radio career started in the mid-1950s in Flint, Michigan, was drafted into the US Army in 1952 and sent to Korea, where he was a DJ/announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network. He developed his rock-trivia persona from his work as a disc jockey in the early 1960s at KYA in San Francisco, California, and KEWB in Oakland, California. He also worked for several other stations across the country, including WJW (now WKNR) in Cleveland, Ohio; WBNY (now WWWS) in Buffalo, New York; and KRLA 1110 in Los Angeles, California (1963–69), before launching the national show American Top 40 on July 4, 1970.


Kasem is best known as a music historian and disc jockey, most notably as host of the weekly American Top 40 radio program from July 4, 1970, through 1988, and again from March 1998 until January 10, 2004, when Ryan Seacrest succeeded him. During Kasem's original run (1970–88), his show featured certain songs in addition to the countdown, such as a "long distance dedication" from one listener to another; or, the song of a "spotlight artist." On the July 4th weekend of each year, the show's anniversary, Kasem often featured a special countdown of particular songs from a certain era, genre or artist. The Moody Blues were the only artist to appear in both Kasem's first countdown on July 4, 1970,[6] and his last on August 6, 1988.[7] Kasem hosted a spin-off television show called America's Top 10 for most of the 1980s. 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 Fame on April 27, 1981, his 49th birthday, and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992. When he was hosting American Top 40, Kasem would often include trivia facts about songs he played and artists whose work he showcased. Frequently, he would mention a trivia fact about an unnamed singer before a commercial break, then provide the name of the singer after returning from the break. This technique, called a tease, later also made its way into America's Top 10, where viewers would submit trivia questions for him to answer. In 1971, he provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail opposite Vincent Price providing the voice of the villainous Iron Tail.

In 1972, Kasem appeared in the low-budget film The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, which also starred Bruce Dern. In 1984, Kasem made a cameo in Ghostbusters, reprising his role as the host of American Top 40.


From January 1989 to March 1998, when Kasem was not at the helm of AT40, he was host of Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20, and Casey's Countdown, syndicated by the Westwood One Radio Networks. He was also the host of the short-lived American version of 100% during the 1998–9 season, and would close each episode by inviting viewers to join him that weekend on AT40, to which Kasem had just returned. At this time Chris Leary was also hosting an simmer show Called The Fox All Access Countdown formally The Fox Kids Countdown and FOX/ABC Family Countdown. Unconfirmed reports mead to and/or saved by FOX were telling them to replace Chris with Casey.


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 1988, in January 2007.

On January 3, 2004, Kasem gave up hosting duties of American Top 40, with Ryan Seacrest becoming the new host. Kasem signed a new contract that continued his two American Top 20 shows.[citation needed] That March one of them, the adult contemporary version, became American Top 10.[citation needed] At the end of the year, Kasem recorded several holiday-themed programs to air on stations that flip to "all-Christmas" for the holidays.[citation needed]

In April 2005 the television special American Top 40 Live aired on the Fox network, hosted by Seacrest, with Kasem appearing on the show.[citation needed]

In November 2007 Kasem's son Mike became his regular and final substitute host for American Top 20 and American Top 10.[citation needed] In June 2009 Premiere Radio Networks announced it would cease production of the two shows after the Fourth of July holiday,[citation needed] ending Kasem's 39-year run in the radio countdown business. Reruns of 1970s and 1980s shows play on a number of US stations as of 2013.[citation needed] Kasem has since avoided the spotlight, but briefly appeared on his daughter Kerri Kasem's podcast in late 2009.[5]


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. His first work as a voice actor was as the voice Robin, The Boy Wonder in the 1968 Batman cartoons. Kasem went on to become a prominent voice actor, and is most connected in that field to his work for programs produced by 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, and continuing until 1995, and again from 2002 to 2009. He has done work for many other animated series, including reprising his role as Robin for various versions of SuperFriends from 1973 to 1985, three 1970 episodes of Sesame Street, the drummer Groove from The Cattanooga Cats (1969), Alexander Cabot III from Josie and the Pussycats (1970) and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space (1972), Merry from The Return of the King (1980); and television specials such as Rankin-Bass' Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971).

He voiced 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 one episode. In a 1990 article he wrote,

A few years ago, I was doing one of the voices in the TV cartoon series, Transformers. One week, the script featured an evil character named Abdul, King of Carbombya. He was like all the other cartoon Arabs. I asked the director, “Are there any good Arabs in this script for balance?” We looked. There was one other — but he was no different than Abdul. So, I told the show’s director that, in good conscience, I couldn't be a part of that show. I wrote a letter to the President and Chief Executive Officer of Marvel Productions, Margaret Ann Loesch. Here is her reply, in part: “Dear Casey: I received your letter regarding the negative stereotyping that has been occurring on television in the portrayal of Arabs and Arab-Americans. I share your concerns. Your letter has been distributed to our writing staff and our voice directors in the hopes that they can be more sensitive to this issue and therefore more responsive to the problem.”[8]

Kasem performed many TV commercial voiceovers for companies and products like A&P, Chevron, Ford, Red Lobster, Raid, Oscar Mayer, Hoover vacuum cleaners, Velveeta, Joy dishwashing liquid, Heinz ketchup, Sears, Prestone, Dairy Queen, Continental Airlines, the California Raisin Advisory Board, the National Cancer Institute, and promos for the NBC television network .[citation needed] In March 2010, Kasem appeared in a commercial for Sprint 4G, reprising his role as AT40 host.

From 1980 to 1989 and again from 1991 to 1992, Kasem also hosted the syndicated American Top 40 TV spin-off America's Top 10, a weekly half-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.[citation needed] 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 at least two episodes of Hawaii Five-O and Nick at Nite on New Year's Eve from 1989 to 1998, counting down the top reruns of the year. 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.

He was once also seen on Late Show with David Letterman performing a Top Ten list: "the Top Ten Favorite Numbers from 1 to 10." The countdown of numbers was paused at number 2 for Kasem to spoof one of his long distance dedications. He appeared on camera as a co-host of Jerry Lewis' annual Labor Day Telethon for The Muscular Dystrophy Association from 1983–2005.

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

Casey retired from voice acting in 2009, with his final performance being the voice of Shaggy in the direct-to-DVD movie Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword.[2] He did voice Shaggy again for The Official BBC Children in Need Medley, but went uncredited by his request. Although officially retired from acting, he provided the voice of Colton Rogers, Shaggy's father, on a recurring basis for the 2010-2013 series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.

The single "U2" by media satirists Negativland features some profane outtakes of Kasem saved by an engineer; it was recalled by the label SST Records and was featured in lawsuits. It involved Kasem doing a "long distance dedication" about a deceased dog, and attempting to say "the letter U and the numeral two".

Personal life[edit]

Kasem was married to Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979 and they have three children together:[9] Mike, Julie, and Kerri Kasem.[10] Kasem has been married to American actress Jean Kasem since 1980. They have one child together, Liberty Jean Kasem.[9] In October 2013, Kerri Kasem said her father was suffering from Parkinson's disease.[11] On October 1, Casey Kasem's three adult children and his brother protested in front of Kasem's home, saying Jean Kasem had been preventing contact with Kasem for three months.[10]

He is of Lebanese Druze heritage;[12] Kasem is a vegan. He has also been active in politics for years, supporting Lebanese-American and Arab-American causes and politicians. Kasem wrote a brochure published by the Arab-American Institute entitled "Arab-Americans: Making a Difference."[13]

Kasem supported Ralph Nader for US President in 2000, supported progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich in his 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns,[14] and narrated a campaign ad for George McGovern's 1984 presidential campaign.[15]


In 1985, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame radio division.[16]


Year Title Role Notes
1968 Garrison's Gorillas Provost Marshall Live action
Episode "The Death Sentence"
1968-1969 The Batman/Superman Hour Robin/Dick Grayson
1969-1971 Skyhawks Steve Wilson
Joe Conway
1969-1971 Hot Wheels Tank Mallory
Dexter Carter
1969-1971 Cattanooga Cats Groove
1969–1971 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Shaggy Rogers
1970-1971 Josie and the Pussycats Alexander Cabot III
1971 Here Comes Peter Cottontail Peter Cottontail Television movie
1972 Doomsday Machine Mission Control Officer
1972 Wait Till Your Father Gets Home George Episode "The Neighbors"
1972–1973 The New Scooby-Doo Movies Shaggy Rogers
Alexander Cabot III
1972-1973 Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space Alexander Cabot III
1973–1986 Super Friends in various titles Robin/Dick Grayson
1974 The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast Adolf Hitler Live action
The Roast of Don Rickles
1974 Hong Kong Phooey Car stealer
Episode "TV or Not TV/Stop Horsing Around"
1974 Hawaii Five-O Swift
Freddie Dryden
Live action
Episode "Steal Now - Pay Later"
Episode "Mother's Deadly Helper"
1974 Emergency +4 Additional voices
1974 Ironside Lab Technician
Jim Crutcher
Live action
Episode "Fall of an Angel"
Episode "Setup: Danger!"
1976-1977 Dynomutt, Dog Wonder Fishface
Swamp Rat
Shaggy Rogers
1976–1978 The Scooby-Doo Show Shaggy Rogers
1977 Police Story Sobhe Live action
Episode "Trial Board"
1977 Quincy, M.E. Sy Wallace Live action
Episode "An Unfriendly Radiance"
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Paul Hamilton Live action
Episode "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom, Part 1"
Episode "Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom, Part 2"
1977 Switch Tony Brock Live action
"Fade Out"
1977-1978 What's New Mr. Magoo? Waldo
1977–1980 Laff-A-Lympics Shaggy Rogers Recurring, various episodes
1978 Charlie's Angels Tom Rogers Live action
Episode "Winning Is for Losers"
1978 Jana of the Jungle Additional voices
1978-1985 Battle of the Planets Mark American dubbed adaptation of anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
1979–1980 Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Shaggy Rogers
1980–1982 The Richie Rich-Scooby Doo Show Shaggy Rogers
1982–1983 The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour Shaggy Rogers
1983–1984 The All-New Scooby and Scrappy Doo) Shaggy Rogers
1984–1985 The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries Shaggy Rogers
1984–1986 The Transformers Cliffjumper
Teletraan I
1985 The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo Shaggy Rogers
1988–1991 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Shaggy Rogers
Shaggy's Father
1991 Tiny Toons Adventures Flakey Flakems Episode "America's Least Wanted"
1993 2 Stupid Dogs Bill Barker Episode "Let's Make a Right Price"
1994 Captain Planet and the Planeteers Lexo Starbuck Episode "You Bet Your Planet"
1996 Homeboys in Outer Space Spacy Kasem Live Action
Episode "Loquatia Unplugged or, Come Back, Little Cyber"
1997 Johnny Bravo Shaggy Rogers Episode "Bravo Dooby Doo"
2000 Histeria! Calgary Kasem Episode "North America"
2002–2006 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Shaggy Rogers
2003 Blue's Clues Radio Episode "Blue's Big Trip"
2006-2008 Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! Uncle Albert Recurring
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Colton Rogers Recurring, 5 episodes


  1. ^ FMQB In Brief – June 5, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-05.
  2. ^ a b Gallagher, Brian (2009-11-06). "EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Lillard Puts His Improv Chops on Display". Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  3. ^ "Casey Kasem". National Radio Hall Of Fame. 2013-09-26. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  4. ^ "Casey Kasem Biography (1932-)". Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  5. ^ a b "Person of the Week: Casey Kasem". ABC News. January 2, 2004. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  6. ^ "Casey Kasem's American Top 40, 7/4/70: Debut Show". Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved October 29, 2007.  The Moody Blue's song that week was Question, which ranked at #27.
  7. ^ Casey Kasem's American Top 40, 8/6/88 Retrieved on 2014-1-19. The Moody Blues' song that week was I Know You're Out There Somewhere, which ranked at #30.
  8. ^ Kasem, Casey (December 1990). "Arab Defamation in the Media: Its Consequences and Solutions". The Link 23 (5) (Americans for Middle East Understanding). p. 7 (page 6 of archived version). Archived from the original on May 31, 2004. 
  9. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Laura (July 7, 2009). "Radio Host Casey Kasem". Time. Retrieved October 1, 2013. "Married singer-actress Linda Myers in 1972. The couple had three children before divorcing in 1979." 
  10. ^ a b "Casey Kasem Family Feud: Cops Called". October 1, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ Pennacchio, George (October 1, 2013). "Casey Kasem's family feud: Wife won't let kids, friends see him?". Los Angeles, California: KABC-TV. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Casey Kasem: Our Arab American Star" (archived September 26, 2005). Washington Watch (The Arab American Institute). April 18, 1996. Archived from the original on 2005-09-26. 
  13. ^ Kasem, Casey. "Arab Americans: Making a Difference" (PDF). The Arab American Institute. 
  14. ^ "Casey Kasem's Federal Campaign Contribution Report". NewsMeat. Polity Media, Inc. 
  15. ^ "George McGovern '72 & '84 Television Ads". YouTube. YouTube. 
  16. ^ "NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame". National Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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

Media offices
Preceded by
American Top 40 Host
Succeeded by
Shadoe Stevens
Preceded by
Shadoe Stevens
American Top 40 Host
Succeeded by
Ryan Seacrest
Preceded by
Shaggy Rogers voice
Succeeded by
Billy West
Preceded by
Scott Innes
Shaggy Rogers voice
Succeeded by
Matthew Lillard