A radio icon is gone:
Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation’s most familiar voices, died Saturday in Arizona, according to ABC Radio Networks. He was 90.
Harvey died surrounded by family at a hospital in Phoenix, where he had a winter home, said Louis Adams, a spokesman for ABC Radio Networks, where Harvey worked for more than 50 years. No cause of death was immediately available.
Harvey had been forced off the air for several months in 2001 because of a virus that weakened a vocal cord. But he returned to work in Chicago and was still active as he passed his 90th birthday. His death comes less than a year after that of his wife and longtime producer, Lynne.
“My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news,” Paul Harvey Jr. said in a statement. “So in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents and today millions have lost a friend.”
His fans identified with his plainspoken political commentary, but critics called him an out-of-touch conservative. He was an early supporter of the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and a longtime backer of the Vietnam War.
Perhaps Harvey’s most famous broadcast came in 1970, when he abandoned that stance, announcing his opposition to President Nixon’s expansion of the war and urging him to get out completely.
“Mr. President, I love you … but you’re wrong,” Harvey said, shocking his faithful listeners and drawing a barrage of letters and phone calls, including one from the White House.
In 1976, Harvey began broadcasting his anecdotal descriptions of the lives of famous people. The Rest of the Story started chronologically, with the person’s identity revealed at the end. The stories were an attempt to capture “the heartbeats behind the headlines.” Much of the research and writing was done by his son, Paul Jr. [via LGF]
A country music station in Truro, about one hour from Halifax, broadcasts The Rest of the Story just after 3PM every afternoon. Whenever I’m on the road, I always make a point of listening to it. Harvey’s son, who handles a couple of broadcasts each week (and whose voice sounds remarkably similar to his dad’s) will hopefully continue.
Mark adds: Now you know the end of the story. Pity.