WESTPORT, Conn. -- Happy birthday to Westport’s John Donald "Don" Imus, Jr.!
Imus, who has lived in Westport, turns 74 on Wednesday. The radio host, humorist, landscape photographer, philanthropist and writer was born July 23, 1940, in Riverside, Calif.
His nationally syndicated talk show, "Imus in the Morning," is broadcast throughout the United States by Cumulus Media Networks and simulcast on television by the Fox Business Network. It was previously broadcast on WFAN-AM in New York and simulcast on MSNBC.
In 1999, Imus and his wife, Deirdre, founded the Imus Ranch, a working 4,000-acre cattle ranch near Ribera, N.M., for children with cancer, as well as siblings of SIDS victims.
His career began as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad. Upon winning a talent contest at Johnny Otis's nightclub, he began working as a singer/songwriter, managed by Otis.
He began his career as a radio disc jockey on June 28, 1968, at radio station KUTY in Palmdale, Calif. He stayed at the station until 1969 when he left for a job at KJOY, a small radio station in Stockton, Calif.
After a stint at WGAR (AM) radio in Cleveland, he moved to New York City and WNBC radio in December 1971. During this first stint at WNBC, he recorded three record albums, two for the RCA Victor label and one for the Bang label. There was also a 1973 RCA Victor single, "Son of Checkers," issued by Imus. The single reached No. 123 in the Record World survey.
He was also the utility announcer for Geraldo Rivera's monthly TV series "Good Night, America," which aired as a recurring segment of ABC's "Wide World of Entertainment" program, and he was one of the inaugural video jockeys for the launch of the VH-1 cable network in 1985.
He won four Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality 1994.
He was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America in Time magazine (April 21, 1997).
He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2002, Talkers magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 greatest radio talk show hosts of all time.