Frankie "Hollywood" Crocker (December 18, 1937, Buffalo, New York, USA - October 21, 2000, age 62, North Miami Beach, Florida) was a famous New York radio DJ. (Coined "Hollywood" for his keen sense of showmanship and self-marketing tactics.) According to popeducation.org, Crocker began his career in Buffalo at the AM Soul powerhouse WUFO (also the home to future greats Eddie O'Jay, Herb Hamlett, Gary Byrd and Chucky T) before moving to Manhattan, where he first worked for Soul station WWRL and later top-40 WMCA in 1969. He then worked for WBLS-FM as program director, taking that station to the top of the ratings during the late 1970s and pioneering the radio format now known as urban contemporary. He sometimes called himself the "Chief Rocker", and he was as well known for his boastful on-air patter as for his off-air flamboyance.
When Studio 54 was at the height of its popularity, Crocker rode in through the front entrance on a white stallion. In the studio, before he left for the day, Crocker would light a candle and invite female listeners to enjoy a candlelight bath with him. He signed off the air each night to the tune "Moody's Mood For Love" by vocalese crooner King Pleasure. Crocker, a native of Buffalo, coined the phrase "urban contemporary" in the 1970s, a label for the eclectic mix of songs that he played.
He was the master of ceremonies of shows at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and was one of the first V.J.'s on VH-1, the cable music video channel, in addition to hosting the TV series Solid Gold and NBC's Friday Night Videos. As an actor, Crocker appeared in five films, including Cleopatra Jones, Five on the Black Hand Side, and Darktown Strutters.
He is credited with introducing as many as 30 new artists to the mainstream, including Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" to American audiences. While both Gary Byrd and Herb Hamlett were influenced by Crocker, it is only Hamlett who always attributes his success to his mentor in Buffalo, Frankie Crocker.
In October 2000, Crocker went into a Miami area hospital for several weeks. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and kept the illness a secret from his friends and even from his mother. He died on Saturday, October 21, 2000.
The Late Great Frankie Crockers
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- "Darktown Strutters". IMDb.com. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- "The Buffalo Broadcasters: Broadcasting Hall of Fame - 2002 Inductees". Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Hall of Fame: 2005 Inductees: Frankie Crocker". NYSBroadcasters.org. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
- "48 Hours Mystery: "The Last Take"". 2008, April 26 and updated 2008, Oct. 3, 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-16. Check date values in:
- CBS News. "The Last Take". Retrieved July 16, 2011.