Carl Kasell

Carl Kasell

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Birthday: Apr 2, 1934

Birthplace: Not Available

Carl Kasell was an American radio broadcaster born on April 2, 1934 in Goldsboro, North Carolina to parents Eddie and Lela Kasell. One of four children, Kasell attended Goldsboro High School, where he was mentored by high school drama instructor Andy Griffith, and graduated in 1952. He then studied English at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1952 to 1956, and co-founded the campus radio station WUNC with future CBS News correspondent Charles Kuralt. Kasell was drafted by the Army when he was a few credits short of graduating. Although he never completed college, Kasell met his first wife, Clara de Zorzi, in his posted location of Verona, Italy. He served there for two years, and returned to Goldsboro in 1958, the same year he married de Zorzi. They would remain together and have one son, Joseph, until her death in 1997. Kasell worked as an announcer and disc jockey for WGBR-AM in Goldsboro from 1958 to 1965, then moved to Virginia. Once there, he joined all-news station WAVA-FM, working as a news anchor then news director from 1965 to 1977. During his time there, Kasell hired a University of Virginia intern named Katie Couric, giving her a start in broadcasting. While still at WAVA, Kasell worked part-time for NPR as a weekend news announcer beginning in 1975. When WAVA became a rock music station, he joined NPR full-time and announced for "All Things Considered" from 1977 to 1979. Kasell served as news announcer for "Morning Edition" from its creation in 1979 until his retirement from news broadcasting in 2009. But even before then, he had transitioned from his career as a serious-voiced, Walter Cronkite-esque figure to a wisecracking game show co-host. Kasell became the judge and scorekeeper for NPR's quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me!" upon its creation in 1998. Since the show didn't have the budget to give out actual prizes, the early reward for winners was a custom voice mail greeting recorded by Kasell, a long-standing tradition that continued until 2017, even after he had stepped down from the show in May 2014. He recorded over 2,000 such voice mails, and for his last broadcast, Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, Katie Couric, and President Barack Obama recorded tributes. Kasell was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2010 and awarded Honorary Doctor of Human Letters by University of Southern Maine in 2011. He published his memoir "Wait, Wait I'm Not Done Yet!" in September 2014. Although Kasell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2012, Kasell still worked for two more years. He passed away at age 84 on April 17, 2018 from complications from the disease. Kasell was survived by his surviving sibling Mary Groce, his second wife Mary Ann Foster, a psychotherapist to whom he had been married since 2003, his son Joseph, his stepson Brian Foster, and four grandchildren.




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