LOS ANGELES—Longtime radio DJ Art Laboe has died. He was 97.
Laboe died Friday night at home in Palm Springs, California, after catching pneumonia, said Joanna Morones, a spokesperson for Laboe’s production company, Dart Entertainment.
His final show was produced last week and broadcast Sunday night.
Born Arthur Egnoian in Salt Lake City to an Armenian-American family, Laboe grew up during the Great Depression. His sister sent him his first radio when he was 8 years old. The voices and stories that came from it enveloped him.
“And I haven’t let go since,” Laboe said.
He moved to California, attended Stanford University and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Eventually, he landed a job as a radio announcer at KSAN in San Francisco and adopted the name Art Laboe after a boss suggested he take the last name of a secretary to sound more American.
He later returned to the Southern California area, but a radio station owner told the aspiring announcer he should work on becoming a “radio personality” instead. As a DJ for KXLA in Los Angeles, Laboe bought station time and hosted live overnight music shows from drive-ins.
When Elvis Presley came to Hollywood, Laboe was one of the few to get an interview with the star.