Dead, Kemal Amen “Casey” Kasem on June 15, 2014, he was an American disc jockey, music historian, radio celebrity, voice actor, and actor, known for being the host of several music radio countdown programs, most notably American Top 40, from 1970 until his retirement in 2009, and for providing the voice of “Shaggy” Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise from 1969 to 1997, and again from 2002 until 2009.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, on April 27, 1932, to Lebanese Druze immigrant parents, who had settled in Michigan, where they worked as grocers, Kasem earned roles in a number of low budget movies, and acted on radio dramas.
While hosting “dance hops” on local television, he attracted the attention of Dick Clark who as a producer hired him to co-host a daily teenage music show called Shebang starting in 1964.
Kasem appeared in network TV series including Hawaii Five-O and Ironside.
In 1967, Kasem appeared on The Dating Game, and played the role of “Mouth” in the motorcycle gang film The Glory Stompers.
In 1969, he played the role of “Knife” in the “surfers vs. bikers” film Wild Wheels, and had a small role in another biker movie, The Cycle Savages, starring Bruce Dern and Melody Patterson.
In 1971, Kasem provided the character voice of Peter Cottontail in the Rankin/Bass production of Here Comes Peter Cottontail. In the same year, he appeared in the low-budget film The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant, in what was probably his best remembered acting role.
From 1973 until 1985, he voiced Robin on several SuperFriends franchise shows.
In 1980, he voiced Merry in The Return of the King.
He also voiced Alexander Cabot III on Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, and supplied a number of voices for Sesame Street.
Kasem was active in politics for years, supporting Lebanese-American and Arab-American causes, an interest which was triggered by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
He wrote a brochure published by the Arab American Institute entitled “Arab-Americans: Making a Difference”.
He turned down a position in season three of Transformers because of the show’s plot portraying “evil Arabs”.
He also called for a fairer depiction of heroes and villains, on behalf of all cultures, in Disney’s 1994 sequel to Aladdin called The Return of Jafar.
In 1996, he was honoured as “Man of the Year” by the American Druze Society.
Kasem campaigned against the Gulf War, advocating non-military means of pressuring Saddam Hussein into withdrawing from Kuwait, was an advocate of Palestinian independence and arranged conflict resolution workshops for Arab Americans and Jewish Americans.
In early 2004, he retired from American Top 40 (AT40), but continued hosting American Top 20 (AT20) and American Top 10 (AT10) until July 4-5, 2009, when he retired from the countdown show business.
Until July 4-5, 2009, hosted “American Top 10”, a three-hour radio show that counted down the Top 10 hits in America as based on Radio & Records’ Adult Contemporary chart.
The show also featured a different theme each week for the “extras”, plus Casey’s trademark Long Distance Dedications.
In October 2013, Kerri Kasem said her father was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which a doctor had diagnosed in 2007; a few months later, she said he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which is often difficult to differentiate from Parkinson’s.
Due to his condition, he was no longer able to speak during his final months.