Gene Klavan

New York radio personality

Gene Klavan, who for 25 years was one of the top names in New York radio, died Thursday April 8 in New York City after a brief illness. He was 79.

From 1952 to 1968, Klavan was the comic half of WNEW’s highly rated “Klavan and Finch,” a show that became a model for morning radio. The show was done entirely without writers — Klavan and Dee Finch were able to improvise and ad lib every day through four hours of irreverence.

When Finch retired in 1968, Klavan became his own straight man and continued the show alone as “Klavan in the Morning.” In 1977 he moved to WOR and left radio in 1980.

In his later years, Klavan was host for TV’s American Movie Classics, a columnist for Newsday and a comic commentator for WCBS-TV.

He was the author of two books: “We Die at Dawn,” an account of his years on WNEW, and “Turn That Damn Thing Off,” a book about media.

Baltimore native attended Johns Hopkins U. but quit to join the Army during World War II, serving in the Pacific. He began his radio career in Baltimore.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Phyllis; four sons; three grandchildren; and a brother.

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