Six days after Parkinson’s disease-afflicted American Top 40 radio DJ Casey Kasem, 82, reportedly worth $80 million, vanished following a May 6 visit by his children at a Santa Monica hospital, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy has ordered a court investigator to find the missing Kasem.
Kasem’s family and friends blame Kasem’s disappearance on his wife Jean Kasem, approximately 60, an actress whose most famous role was as a trophy wife on Cheers and whose last IMDb credit is 1999’s “To Be or Not To Be Evil.” Jean Kasem did not appear in court on May 12, but in November, she and her attorney filed a statement saying, “These children falsely claim that their stepmother is wicked and is keeping her husband prisoner… For reasons they know all too well, their presence at this stage would be toxic and extremely distressing for Casey, Jean and their daughter, Liberty, who have had enough of their cruelty.”
“We had a wonderful visit with him Tuesday at Berkley East Convalescent Hospital — he was thriving there — and she yanked him out of there after hours,” Kasem’s daughter Julie Kasem alleges to THR. “We’re scared,” says Kasem’s brother Mouner Kasem. “Is he getting the care he needs?” Adds Chuck Olsen, Casey Kasem’s close friend for 60 years, “Poor Casey is suffering, and probably dying. It’s bizarre.” Olsen last saw his friend in April 2013. “We used to come in from Detroit, where we grew up, and get together on his birthday. The last time,Case couldn’t talk, but we’d mention things from the past, and from his facial expressions we could tell he remembered.”
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Casey Kasem’s first wife — Linda Myers Naylor, mother of Julie, Kerri, and Mike Kasem — says the ailing DJ was isolated by his second wife, Jean. “No one was allowed to visit. Jean visited [Casey] once in a while on the weekend.” But at last, says Naylor, on May 6, “The kids got to see their dad, he mouthed, ‘I love you.’ Then his wife [Jean] went in that night, dumped him into a car and took him away. He had an IV plus a stomach feeding tube.”
“All because his children dared to come and visit him,” says Julie Kasem. “Crazy, crazy, crazy. Such a case of isolation.”
Jean Kasem did not appear in court, but her attorney Craig Marcus said he had “no idea” where Casey Kasem is, only that he is out of the country. His children think he may be on a Washington State Indian reservation. “Jean was talking to her niece in Washington on the phone,” says Julie Kasem, “saying, ‘I need an Indian reservation with a private airstrip and I want to bring Casey there.’ Her nephew overheard, and immediately alerted Kerri [Kasem, Julie’s sister]. “We’re all sort of family, in a twisted way.” He asks all THR readers to help in the hunt for his brother. “We’re hoping that people will tell us where he is,” says Kasem.
“This horrible woman, he’s literally afraid of her,” says Naylor, who met Casey Kasem when she was script supervisor for his 1971 film with Bruce Dern, The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant. She says she divorced Kasem in 1980 because, despite the fact that he is “a sweet man, and very generous,” when he got angry, “he was a screamer. I didn’t hate him, I just couldn’t live with him. He was so angry I divorced him, so embarrassed, and he loved big blondes. So he got one. Maybe if I’d been a little bit more mature, we could’ve worked it out.”
STORY: The Sad, Strange Family Battle Over Radio Legend Casey Kasem
After Kasem married Jean in Dec. 1980, insiders say his kids saw him less, that his friends and family would have to arrange to see him without Jean finding out. As he grew frail, says Naylor, “She stuck him out by himself in a condo with a caretaker in Malibu for years. My girls kept buying him phones, but she’d take them away.” When his ailing brother was sent to a hospital in Tarzana, says Mouner Kasem. “We were allowed to see him for one hour, but we had to sign an agreement, and there was a guard there texting everything we said and did [to Jean Kasem]. Every day we had to sign a new agreement.”
After Casey Kasem was sent to Berkeley East in Santa Monica in February 2014, says Mouner, “TMZ called Julie [Kasem] and said, ‘Your dad is in there.’ Julie said, ‘Thanks for telling me.’ Somehow Jean found out, and called Julie, and wanted to know how she found out. She hired a guy to keep anybody from seeing him.”
“We’ve become really good friends,” says Naylor of her missing ex-husband, “but I’m really unhappy with him over what’s happened the past ten years — that a man like that could end up like this! He took my daughter and her husband out and used his black American Express card, which Jean had cut off, so they had to buy the meal.”
In her November statement, Jean Kasem said her stepchildren had “single-handedly and irreparably shattered the lives of their father, his wife and youngest daughter. … They are doing so with a professionally orchestrated media and legal campaign that has disgraced their father and vilified their stepmother.”
Mouner Kasem tells THR, “We’re hoping the more people that know about [Casey’s disappearance], they’ll tell us where he is.”
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