Casey Kasem, Shaggy on ‘Scooby-Doo,’ Voice of ‘American Top 40,’ Dies at 82

Casey Kasem, the resonant voice of Top 40 radio and a vocal fixture on cartoon programs for the past 40 years died, June 15 in Gig Harbor, Wash. He was 82.

Kasem died of Lewy body disease, a common form of progressive dementia. Daughter Kerri Kasem confirmed her father’s death in a Facebook post on Father’s Day.

In May, his second wife Jean Kasem and her stepchildren waged a public fight over what daughter Kerri claimed were Jean’s efforts to prevent her from visiting her father. The dispute went to court as reports spread that Casey Kasem’s whereabouts could not be confirmed. Kerri Kasem was ultimately granted visitation rights to her father and the right to make medical decisions on his behalf.

SEE ALSO: Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly React to Casey Kasem’s Death

He became a national fixture starting in 1970 as host of the syndicated radio program “American Top 40.”

The format was simple — Kasem counted down the week’s top pop hits with a bit of trivia about the artists, color and feel-good anecdotes mixed in. His relentlessly upbeat outlook was embodied in the catchphrase that he used to close every show: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” Kasem hosted the show until 1988. At its peak, “American Top 40” was carried on more than 1,000 stations around the world.

He also did TV voiceover work and provided the voice of Shaggy on the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?,” among other animated programs. He continued to voice Shaggy and other Scooby-Doo characters for various productions as late as 2009. He also provided many voices for “Sesame Street” and the voice of the title character in the Rankin/Bass production of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.” In addition he was heard in a vast number of commercials.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Radio Legend’s Early Career

As “American Top 40” took off, the diminutive Kasem began logging screen roles in 1970s TV shows and movies, such as “Emergency,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Ironside” and “Charlie’s Angels.” And he continued to do a wide range of voiceover work for TV. In In 1984, Kasem cameo’d in the film “Ghostbusters” in his role as host of “American Top 40.”

For most of the period from 1980 to 1992, Kasem also hosted the syndicated weekly half-hour TV series “America’s Top 10,” a spinoff of “American Top 40” that counted down the top 10 songs in the U.S.

Kemal Amin Kasem was born in Detroit to parents who were Lebanese Druze immigrants. He graduated from Wayne State University. Kasem got his start in radio during the Korean War working for Armed Forces Radio. After he left the service and returned the U.S., he worked for numerous radio stations as a disc jockey.

Kasem was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.

Statuesque blond Jean Kasem,  to whom he was married since 1980, was also an actress known for her roles on “Cheers” and other comedies.

He is survived by their daughter Liberty Jean Kasem; three children from a previous marriage: daughters Kerri and Julie and son Mike; and a brother.

SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard issued the following statement about Kasem’s death: “For many, the multitalented Casey Kasem was the voice of popular music, and his long-running countdown program 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.'”

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  1. kevin says:

    So will we be able to vote on new episodes or is it done I we would love to see new episodes you should do it casey kasem I think he would have wanted that

  2. Kerri Shelley says:

    When I was younger I use to listen to the the countdown of the top 40 and My favorite cartoon was scooby doo. He will be missed he was a great entertainer.

  3. RIP IN PEACE….YOU WILL BE MISSED..

  4. Daniel says:

    20 years ago, working in a video store in Melbourne, Australia and for near 4 years, Sunday nights listening to Casey Kasem’s, which I always thought was ‘Kasen’, Top 40. His brief but acute annotations and summaries to the meaning or invention of the song from the artist is something I have missed. I recall back then, listening and thinking that he would be a nice man to meet. His intelligence calmed me.

    Fitting, that he died on a Sunday.

    If there is afterlife, may he never be at a loss for the music he preferred to play, and not change too much from the insights his musical appreciation inspired, as we who listened, are at a great loss to his departure.

    Thanks a bunch, Casey Kasem.

  5. x says:

    Casey was euthanized (murdered by dehydration) by doctors and his daughter Kerri. Most people have the wrong idea because of Kerri’s media campaign. The wife (Jean) was the one in the right, trying to save Casey’s life by hiding from those trying to kill him. Jean was demonized by a concerted media attack campaign. Kerri was motivated by hate for Jean. She and her helpers hope to contest the 80 million dollar estate, although her dad explicitly said she gets none. Kerri is a scientologist.

  6. Yumbo says:

    He inspired me to become a DJ and then radio DJ.

    Thank you.

    • @x If Casey Kasem was euthanized than so were both of my parents when they were in hospice care. You obviously know nothing about end of life and how continuing feeding them makes them suffer. When a person who is that close to death, like Casey was because Jean drove him around for 5 days trying to hide him from his loved ones, which caused a serious bed sore which led to sepsis which led to his early demise, they can no longer digest food and giving them hydration fills up their lungs to the point where they can drown. So, when you say Casey was murdered by the people who loved him the most you are saying millions of people murdered their loved one’s and I take exception to that.

      Also, not everyone is obsessed by money like your friend Jean. I doubt very much his kids will contest his will because he set up a trust for them 30 years ago. It wouldn’t surprise me though if Jean goes after that. I do hope his first children, brother, and friends sue Jean when this is all over for elderly abuse. She and her daughter, Liberty hadn’t visited him for 4 months before his other children found him and she dragged him out of the nursing home in the middle of the night against doctors orders. Jean is the one who murdered Casey Kasem and I hope she pays.

  7. A true TV legend and part of my childhood. Rest in peace good sir.

  8. Lia Pantous says:

    I GREW UP LISTENING TO CASEY KASEM EVERY WEEKEND HE WILL BE MISSED DEARLY. R.I.P. MR. KASEM YOU MAY BE GONE BUT WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN ..

  9. JOE S HILL says:

    While the world remembers Casey Kasem from “America’s Top 40”,his great voice will forever be
    remembered on Saturday morning Television,since “Shaggy” on “SCOOBY-DOO” was his most longest
    voice run,that started on CBS’s “SCOOBY-DOO,WHERE ARE YOU?” in Fall 1969,when Hanna-Barbera
    was ruling the weekends on the 3 major networks. but a year before that,Kasem was also the voice of “Robin,The Boy Wonder”,who,along with Olan Soule’ and Ted Knight played the remarkable voiceovers
    of “Batman and Robin” for CBS”s “THE BATMAN-SUPERMAN HOUR”,for Ducovny Productions and Filmation Associates in Fall 1968,this,the very first Batman cartoon series ever made. ironicly,both Kasem and Soule reprised their “Caped Crusader” voiceovers in two segments of “THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES” in Fall 1972,and eventually began another long run on ABC’s “SUPER FRIENDS” from
    1973 to 1985,while Adam West reprised his Batman role in 1984. Casey Kasem was a strong fixture
    on the cartoon circut,and there wasn’t one cartoon around,where you couldn’t miss his famous voice!
    he also voiced “Alexander Cabot III” on CBS’s “JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS” in Fall 1970,which also
    had a good run on the weekends! Rest in Peace Mr Kasem,because you will seriously be missed! i
    sure hope your wife will find peace,after that disgusting behavior she showed you,during your illness!

  10. Bill says:

    Keep reaching for the stars, Casey.

    You will be missed.

  11. Dyan Devere says:

    He changed my life. The music became my savior from a mundane life on the farm. AT40 made me believe in dreams. Keep reaching for the stars!

  12. Michael Anthony says:

    Thanks Casey for the memories. In my teens I spent several years listening to AT40 every Sunday night for 4 hours. Loved the show and everything you brought to it! RIP

  13. Chelsea says:

    RIP.

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