Skip to comments.Don Imus, Legendary 'Imus in the Morning' Radio Host, Dies at 79
Posted on 12/27/2019 7:11:25 PM PST by SeekAndFind
The controversial radio personality passed away on Friday morning at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas. Don Imus, the radio personality whose insult humor and savage comedy catapulted him to a long-lasting and controversial career, has died at 79. His three-hour radio program, Imus in the Morning, was widely popular, especially with the over 25-male demographic.
Imus died Friday morning at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, after being hospitalized on Christmas Eve, a representative said. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Mike and the Mad Dog host Mike Francesca tweeted Friday, "Shocking news on the passing of my friend, Don Imus. He will long be remembered as one of the true giants in the history of radio."
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough added, "Morning Joe obviously owes its format to Don Imus. No one else could have gotten away with that much talk on cable news. Thanks for everything, Don." Morning Joe started as a fill-in for Imus in the Morning after Imus was fired from MSNBC in 2007.
Imus in the Morning, which debuted on WNBC-AM in New York in 1971, most recently reached radio listeners via Citadel Media and was simulcast on the Fox Business Network.
Imus was loved or hated for his caustic loudmouth. Outspoken in an age of political correctness, his often coarse satire offended sensibilities. Yet his listeners included those whom he often ridiculed. His call-in guests included President Clinton, Dan Rather, Tim Russert, Bill Bradley, David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani and political analyst Jeff Greenfield, who once remarked, He's out there talking the way most of us talk when we're not in public.
He sparked national outcry in 2007 when he made derogatory, racist remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. CBS Radio and MSNBC then dropped his show.
He rebounded by signing a multiyear contract with the Fox Business Network in 2009 to simulcast Imus in the Morning from 6-9 a.m., with Fox anchors appearing during the program.
Imus battled a lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol. In 2009, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Imus was often compared to syndicated shock jock Howard Stern, who also had a stint on WNBC radio early in his career, and they frequently appeared on each other's shows. Although Imus could not match Stern's audience in terms of numbers, advertisers were well aware of Imus' better-educated and richer demographic, often preferring him.
Imus in the Morning sandwiched music around his in-your-face commentary in which he mocked authority figures and ridiculed social and political problems. His no-holds-barred humor, including gags and pranks, spurred the onset of shock jocks like Stern. A mix of rock n roll, raunchy humor, call-ins and hard barbs, Imus in the Morning was a huge hit.
He also performed stand-up for a time, garnering favorable reviews from such unlikely reviewers as The New York Times.
An active philanthropist, Imus and his wife, Deirdre, founded the Imus Ranch in 1999, where each summer children with cancer could enjoy the outdoors.
John Donald Imus Jr., was born on July 23, 1940, in Riverside, California. He was raised in Prescott, Arizona, where his family owned a large ranch. He dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Marines and after basic training won a chair in the band.
Following discharge, he worked at an array of odd jobs: window dresser (he was fired for staging mannequin striptease shows), uranium miner and railroad brakeman, where he suffered a serious neck injury and won a large cash settlement.
While recovering, he set his sites on becoming a disc jockey, ostensibly to play his own music on the airwaves. He moved to Los Angeles, enrolled in a Hollywood broadcasting school and landed his first deejay job at KUTY, a station in Palmdale, California.
During an eight-month stint there, he developed a skill for comic patter and moved to KJOY in Stockton, California, where he staged satirical social and political gags, including an Eldridge Cleaver look-alike contest when the Black Panther was on the lam. His station manager did not see the humor, and he was fired.
He moved to KXOA in Sacramento, where his satirical hijinks were appreciated by the station manager who counseled him that his humor would be more lethal and less likely to attract legal action. Intent on becoming more lethal, Imus created a slew of satirical characters, including the huckster Rev. Billy Sol Hargus.
His on-air antics infuriated authorities, including the FCC, which was not amused when he phoned a fast-food outlet and ordered 1,200 hamburgers and requested a bizarre array of toppings. The gag resulted in a ruling that deejays must identify themselves when making on-air calls. The clash with government authority, not surprisingly, boosted his ratings, and KXOA was No. 1 in Sacramento while he was there.
Imus is survived by his wife, Deirdre; sons Wyatt and Lt. Zachary Don Cates; and daughters Nadine, Ashley, Elizabeth and Toni.
"Don loved and adored Deirdre, who unconditionally loved him back, loved spending his time watching Wyatt become a highly skilled, champion rodeo rider and calf roper and loved and supported Zachary, who first met the Imus family at age 10 when he participated in the Imus Ranch program for kids with cancer, having battled and overcome leukemia, eventually becoming a member of the Imus family and Don and Deirdres second son," his family said in a statement.
The family will hold a private service in the coming days and asks for donations to be made to the Imus Ranch Foundation.
I thought he was older than that.
Given his past addiction to alcohol and drugs, it’s really amazing that he lived this long. He did his radio talk show till his mid 70’s.
No respect for the man
Check out huffpo
I used to listen to Imus on the way to work when I lived in NJ. Mister Rambos Neighborhood.
I liked very much that he wasn’t TERRIFIED of saying things that should have been laughed at and forgotten 10 minutes later but INSTEAD drove the SJW’s INSANE.
Anyone who can do that is ok in my book
During the Clinton era he and his sidekick killed me with all the satire and humor and impressions.
One of my favorites was the fake Clinton speech about Lewinsky: Ah nevah asked her to lie. Not once. It was far more comfortable for her on her knees.
But it was over the top offensive what he called the basketball players. Really wrong and he deserved firing for it. He knew better.
I real,y liked him very sad news said whatever was on his mind, Sharpten and his normal goons went after him felt very badly for him as I did for Paula Deen!!!
Now Wikipedia is calling him an outstanding racist.
I read somewhere that he had a pulmonary problem . Hope he didnt suffer. He was pretty special on the radio, when radio was our news source and with special programs such as his.
That was the first thing both my husband & I said. RIP Don.
All the years I worked in NYC, I was a loyal Howard Stern fan until he left terrestrial radio. Then I got a chance to listen to Imus, and I didn’t get what was the big deal about him. Frankly, Kurtis and Kuby were MUCH more enlightening AND entertaining than both Imus and Howard, even if Kuby was a radical leftist and Kurtis embellished the known truth. Nonetheless, RIP.
At one time Imus and the Wolf Man the two highest paid disc jockeys in the USA were on WNBC radio. Imus in the morning and the Wolf Man at night. I had a lot of fun listening to the banter. AM radio, fun and free.
Revenge is a dish best served cold and all that.
Loved his “Imus Minus” awards during his brief TV years.
It was a miniature gold statue on a wood base—of just the REAR end of a horse.
I watched his show a few times when it was simulcast on MSNBC. I found it interesting be seemed a bit dull-brained to me. He just seemed to stumble through the show.
Looks like the nappy-headed dude met his maker. I truly hope he is resting in peace.
What was so terrible about making fun of people’s hair.
I’m sad to see him go, but there are pros and cons about him > IMO.
I enjoyed his program at times.
Well, I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
Long as I have my plastic Jesus Riding on the dashboard of my car.
I could go a hundred miles an hour Long, as I got the Almighty Power Glued up there with my pair of fuzzy dice.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.