Family feud tarnishes Casey Kasem’s legacy
Casey Kasem died Father’s Day morning at a Washington state hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was a legendary radio personality, heard around the world every weekend — something the rest of us in the industry could only dream of.
His daughter Kerri Kasem wrote this on Twitter and Facebook:
“Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our dad.”
We will miss him too, Kerri.
It saddens me that when I now remember Kasem part of that memory will always be his dysfunctional family. I can see the picture in my mind of his wife, Jean Kasem, throwing raw hamburger meat at her step-daughter, Kerri. She said that’s what you do when there are rabid animals outside.
I remember reporting on the court proceedings for months about whether the kids could visit their Dad, and then Kasem disappeared after his wife mysteriously took him from a convalescent home on a multi-state trip. This past week it was the fight over whether Kasem could be taken off life support.
The judge in the case ruled in Kerri’s favor. Kerri had argued that her father did not want to be kept alive if it “would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning.” Kasem suffered from Lewy body disease, a progressive form of dementia, which left him unable to speak, eat or move on his own.
A few days ago, Kerri decided to stop treating her father. Then Jean publicly came out and said Kerri would have blood on her hands.
All of the fighting was tragic, horrific, and sad. If you looked beyond the harsh words and actions you could see it was just a mask for all of their pain and anguish.
Unfortunately I’m familiar with family dysfunction. This situation is a reminder that money doesn’t fix all problems. Some have said it was actually Kasem’s estate that caused the family drama, but I don’t believe that. Kasem had three children with his first wife, and one daughter with his second wife, Jean. Relationships, marriages, divorces, step-kids, etc. come with their own host of issues.
The last few years are not how I want to remember Kasem. I prefer to remember him as the inspiration for so many radio careers. As he always said, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!
There will simply never be another Casey Kasem.