If you are a child of the 70s then the name ‘Casey Kasem’ is familiar…and so is the syndicated radio program that brought him that fame, American Top 40.

Only a large handful of Michiganders remember Casey was from Michigan. He was born in Detroit on April 27, 1932 as Kemal Amin Kasem and spent his entire childhood there. His career in radio began while still a student at Detroit’s Northwestern High. After graduation Casey attended Wayne State University where he studied broadcasting.

Looking back at some of his old yearbook photos, Casey looked noticeably different…a little heavier and a different face - that obviously went under the knife once he gained fame and had the money for face jobs (you'll see in the photo gallery below).

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Drafted into the army in 1952, Casey became a DJ for Armed Forces Radio’s Korea Network. During the 1960s he made his way out to California, landing radio gigs in Oakland and San Francisco. A fan of trivia, he injected little music facts into his show which eventually gave him the idea to host his own Top 40 countdown program.

On the Fourth of July 1970, the first edition of American Top 40 hit the airwaves. By 1986, the show was heard on more than one thousand stations nationwide. He hosted the show until 1988, handed the reins to Shadoe Stevens, came back and hosted another six years (1998-2004), and gave it up to Ryan Seacrest, who still hosts the show…although not as good or memorable when Casey was host.

Casey did a lot more radio and TV work, with his second most popular gig being the voice of “Shaggy” in the Scooby-Doo cartoons.

As for his Detroit childhood home, just where was it? It was on West Alexandrine Street between the avenues of 2nd and 3rd.  Unfortunately, it was torn down in the early 1990s and a greenhouse was put up in its place. The gallery below shows you the empty lot followed by a more recent picture of the greenhouse. I have also included some old yearbook photos that show just how different Casey looked as a teen – unlike the small thin man you came to know him as.

The house was a little one-and-a-half story cottage that was bought by his father in the 1930s. According to the 1940 census, little 7-year-old Kamel (Casey) lived there with his parents, Amin (a grocer) and Helen.

Casey passed away on June 15, 2014 at the age of 82.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan…
Died in Gig Harbor, Washington…
Buried in Oslo, Norway.

Casey Kasem's Childhood Home, Detroit


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