Kasem Children Ask For Privacy As Casey’s Health Continues To Decline
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Casey Kasem’s eldest children — mired in a bitter dispute with his wife Jean about visitation of their ailing father for almost a year — on Friday said that a Washington state court recognized their legal rights to see their father and gave daughter Kerri full conservator control of his affairs.
In addition, a spokesperson for the children said the court found Jean in contempt.
The spokesperson added, “Right now, Casey Kasem’s health is declining and won’t be with us much longer.”
He said the family at this time is asking for privacy and will make no further statements “until further notice.”
“My Dad taught us that family comes first. We want to honor him and make sure all of his family, including Jean and Liberty are surrounding him with love at this critical time,” said daughter Julie.
“If he opens his eyes, I want my dad just once to see everyone standing around him, putting our differences aside and let him know how much he is loved by everyone, including Jean and Liberty,” Kerri said.
Casey Kasem, now 82, has been in failing health for some time.
In his heyday, from 1970 through his retirement in 2009, Kasem — born Kemal Amin Kasem — had one of the most distinct and recognized voices in broadcasting.
He hosted several successful coast-to-coast radio shows including “American Top 40,” “American Top 20″ and “American Top 10.” Those shows were known for highlighting up-and-c0ming artists as well as a schmaltzy “Long Distance Dedication” usually with a caller suggesting a song in memory of a lost or distant love.
He ended each broadcast with the line every imitator would do when performing a Kasem impersonation — “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”
For decades, the Detroit-born Kasem was also the cartoon voice of “Shaggy” Rogers in the “Scooby-Doo” franchise. It was no coincidence that Shaggy and Casey were both ardent vegetarians.
Kasem also lent his voice to a variety of cartoons like “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” the “Transformers,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” as well as the promo voice for NBC television. Kasem also did commercials for Oscar Mayer, Ford, Velveeta, Heinz ketchup, Sears, Dairy Queen, Raid and Chevron, to name just a few.
Through the 80s and early 90s, it would have been next to impossible to go an entire day without hearing his voice in some form or another.
The son of Lebanese immigrants, Kasem worked in radio from the early 50s. He worked all over the country in cities like Flint, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio and for six years (1963-1969) in Los Angeles.
Kasem was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 27, 1981 — his 49th birthday. He made the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the National Radio Hall of Fame seven years later.
A longtime liberal, Kasem also narrated political spots for candidates he liked including George McGovern, Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader.
Kasem was married to bit actress Linda Myers from 1972-79. The couple had three children, Julie, Kerri and Mike.
On December 21, 1980, Kasem married actress Jean Kasem, then best known for a stint as Loretta Tortelli on “Cheers,” the resident dumb blonde. “The Tortellis'” (NBC 1987) was later spun off into a short-lived sitcom. He and Jean, now 60, had a daughter, Liberty in 1990.
By October 2013, Kasem’s children by Myers, Kasem’s brother and a business associate all protested outside the Kasem home saying that Jean wouldn’t let any of them see Casey. The group took their feud public after saying they had been rebuffed in efforts to see Kasem for three months.
Around this time it was revealed Kasem was living with Parkinson’s disease which robbed him, ironically, of the ability to speak. Jean insisted that Casey did not want his loved ones to see him in a declining state.
In May 2014, Jean told a judge that Casey was no longer in the United States but he turned up several days later in Washington state.