Casey Kasem, who died Sunday at a Washington State hospital following a long battle with dementia, is being remembered by Dearborn-based ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services) as a cultural icon who fought against stereotyping of Arabs and Arab-Americans.
Kasem was 82.
Throughout his career Kasen hosted numerous countdown shows including “American Top 40” and “Casey’s Top 40,” CNN.com reports.
“American Top 40” counted down the top 40 songs in America based on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” music chart. The show started off on seven radio stations but quickly gained notoriety, CNN said.
Already a popular DJ, Kasem became a household name for radio listeners around the world. The proud Arab American icon fought against the media stereotyping of Arabs and Arab Americans.
What’s your best memory or favorite song from Casey Kasem’s countdown shows?
Kasem urged Americans to be media producers.He gave selflessly to Arab American causes, including the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn.
“The world has lost a great man with the passing of Casey Kasem,” said ACCESS Executive Director Hassan Jaber. “He was truly an icon in his own right and his passion for music and broadcast was unmistakable.
“Casey was friend and supporter of the Arab American National Museum and wanted people to know about the history of Arab Americans. We are honored and privileged to have had his input in developing one of our most prized exhibits.”
Kasem has been an honorary board member of the AANM ‘s national advisory board since the museum’s 2005 opening. Kasem also donated multiple items for display at the AANM, including his Walk of Fame Plaque and the American Top 40 sign that hung on the program’s Ventura Boulevard studio in LA.
Kasem, who has always been proud of his Arab heritage, said in a 1983 interview: “Whenever I can I like to let people know that I am Lebanese, that I am Arabic and that’s my heritage. I am an American first, but at the same time, I feel strong ties going way back.”
Kasem is survived by his wife and four children.