ADC Mourns the Loss of
Arab American Icon Casey Kasem
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | June 15, 2014 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) mourns the death of Casey Kasem, an Arab-American radio personality, actor, voice artist, comedian, and legend.
Casey Kasem, born Kemal Amen Kasem, was a Lebanese-American best known for being the host of the show American Top 40 and for voicing Shaggy in the cartoon franchise Scooby-Doo.
He was raised in Detroit to a Lebanese-American mother and a Lebanese father who worked as a grocer. Throughout his career, Kasem has been a strong supporter and advocate of Arab-Americans, and of ADC. He appeared at multiple conventions and lent his talent to defining and shaping the identity of Arab-Americans. He always defended Arabs against efforts to demonize and dehumanize them.
Kasem’s career began young. After starting as a sports broadcaster in high school, Kasem landed acting jobs in radio dramas while at Detroit’s Wayne State University, including The Lone Ranger and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. He then served with the Armed Forces Network in Korea. He moved to L.A. in 1963, where he did small film roles and cartoon voiceovers, ultimately leading to a career in hosting Top 40 music programs.
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. Kasem also hosted his own programs, including Casey’s Top 40, Casey’s Hot 20, and Casey’s Countdown.
In addition to his radio shows, Kasem provided the voice of many commercials and many shows including Sesame Street and Transformers.
He is survived by his daughters Keri Kasem, Julie Kasem, and Liberty Irene, and his son Mike Kasem.
He will always be remembered as a pillar of the Arab-American community and an embodiment of the great contribution Arab-Americans have had to mainstream popular culture in the United States.
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