Millions of teens in the Los Angeles area grew up to the voice of Charlie Tuna bringing them their favorite songs on a number of different stations over the years.
Tuna died on February 19 at his home in Tarzana, CA at the age of 71.
Born in Kearny, Nebraska as Art Ferguson, Tuna started his radio career at his hometown station, KGFW, later moving to KLEO in Wichita, KS and KOMA in Oklahoma City.
After a nine-month stint at WMEX in Boston during 1966 and 1967, he moved to Los Angeles to take the 9 to Noon slot on KHJ. Over the years, he worked for a number of other L.A. based stations including KBIG where he hosted the long running Charlie Tuna in the Morning.
Outside of his daily gigs, Tuna was also the announcer on Casey Kasem's TV show America's Top 10 and occasionally filled in for Kasem on his syndicated radio shows. Also in television, he hosted the syndicated show Cinema, Cinema, Cinema for thirty years and was announcer on a long series of TV game shows along with the last two seasons of the Mike Douglas Show and Alan Thicke's short-lived Thicke of the Night.
Tuna has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and, in 2008, was elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame. He was also the honorary mayor of Tarzana, CA since 1977.
The following press release was issued by Charlie's management and family:
It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that American disc jockey and radio personality, Charlie Tuna, passed away peacefully in his sleep February 19th, 2016. His was a life well-lived, and he will always be remembered for the joy, laughter, and love of music he brought to many throughout the world with his presence on the radio. All who knew him will sadly miss him. Memorial donations can be made to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. We ask that you respect his family's privacy during their time of grief.
Charlie Tuna worked as morning drive radio personality for more stations and formats than anyone in Los Angeles radio history: Top 40, AC, Hot AC, Oldies, Talk, Sports Talk and Country.
In 1990, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Charlie by presenting him with a Star on the Walk of Fame.
In 1999, he was inducted into his home state Nebraska Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
In1997, Los Angeles Radio People readers voted Charlie one of the Top 10 L.A. Radio Personalities of All Time.
In 2007 & again in 2013, Charlie was elected by his LARadio.com broadcast peers as one of the Top 10 Los Angeles Radio Personalities.
Among his L.A. Radio credits:
- Was part of the legendary KHJ Boss Jock line-up; starting KROQ radio; starting KIIS and serving as both Program Director and Morning Man for KIIS AM & FM.
- Tuna was heard around the world daily on the Armed Forces Radio Network for a 25 year 6000 show run from 1971 to 1996, as well as on numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, since the early 1970s.
- He can be heard across the U.S., Canada and internationally on his syndicated 5 hour daily and weekend shows, plus a daily Hollywood Minute entertainment feature.
- Tuna was the announcer for the television game show Scrabble which ran for seven years on NBC, and a dozen other TV shows ranging from the Mike Douglas Show to America’s Top 10 with Casey Kasem. He hosted Cinema, Cinema, Cinema for 30 years, an internationally syndicated TV show featuring the top movies in the US each week, with clips from the films. He also hosted the international TV show Inside Hollywood for three years.
- Appearances in two movies, hundreds of TV and radio commercials, VH1’s use of Charlie’s Celebrity Interview Archives, dozens of radio station voice imaging clients, narration of the U.S. Air Force’s 50th Anniversary CD, and serving as a musical network TV consultant round out the media side of Charlie Tuna.
- Charlie also raised nearly 2.5 million dollars for Children’ s Hospital in L.A. with his annual “Tunathon” in past years, hosted the red carpet and emceed the Revlon Run/Walk for 5 years, and emceed the annual 4th of July Warner Park in Woodland Hills celebration which attracts annual crowds of over 50,000 spectators.
- Charlie called Tarzana home in California and served as the city’s Honorary Mayor since 1977.