One of radio’s most distinctive voices, “Wolfman Jack” was born Robert Smith in Brooklyn, New York on January 21, 1938.
A longtime fan of radio, Smith first hit the airwaves as “Daddy Jules” on Newport News, Virginia station WYOU-AM. In 1962, Smith became “Big Smith” for station KCIJ/ Shreveport, Louisiana. Here, he drew upon his love of horror movies and rock and roll to create the raspy-voiced, howling persona of “Wolfman Jack.”
In the mid 1960s, the Wolfman crossed the border to Mexico and joined the 250,000-watt powerhouse XERF-AM. Thanks to XERF and later XERB-AM, the Wolfman reached most of the southwestern United States while selling everything from coffins to inspirational literature.
In 1969, the Wolfman returned to America and KDAY/Los Angeles. The following year, he began an association with Armed Forces Radio that would last until 1986. In 1972, he moved back to his hometown and joined WNBC/New York.
For all of his fame, many of Wolfman Jack’s fans had never seen him until 1973, when he appeared in George Lucas’ hit film American Graffiti and began an eight-year stint as host of NBC-TV’s Midnight Special.
“Wolfman Jack” died on July 1, 1995.
He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1996.