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Tom Magliozzi, Popular Co-Host Of NPR's 'Car Talk,' Dies At 77
NPR
By Lynn Neary
November 03, 2014 2:30 PM ET



Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio's most popular personalities, died on Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 77 years old.

Tom and his brother, Ray, became famous as "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers" on the weekly NPR show Car Talk. They bantered, told jokes, laughed and sometimes even gave pretty good advice to listeners who called in with their car troubles.

If there was one thing that defined Tom Magliozzi, it was his laugh. It was loud, it was constant, it was infectious.

"His laugh is the working definition of infectious laughter," says Doug Berman, the longtime producer of Car Talk. He remembers the first time he ever encountered Magliozzi.

"Before I ever met him, I heard him, and it wasn't on the air," he recalls.

Berman was the news director of WBUR at the time.

"I'd just hear this laughter," he says. "And then there'd be more of it, and people would sort of gather around him. He was just kind of a magnet."

The Magliozzi brothers grew up in a tough neighborhood of East Cambridge, Mass., in a close-knit Italian family. Tom was 12 years older, the beloved older brother to Ray. They liked to act like they were just a couple of regular guys who happened to be mechanics, but both of them graduated from MIT.

They got into radio by accident when someone from the local public radio station, WBUR, was putting together a panel of car mechanics for a talk show.

"They called Ray, and Ray thought it was a dumb idea, so he said, 'I'll send my brother' and Tom thought, 'Great, I'll get out of breaking my knuckles for a couple of hours.' And he went over and he was the only one who showed up," Berman says.

Berman says the station liked what Tom did and asked him to come back the next week. This time he brought Ray. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 1987 Car Talk went national on NPR. The Magliozzi brothers were a huge success. Listeners loved their blend of humor, passion, expertise and just plain silliness.

"For Ray, he idolized Tom. This is the guy who introduced him to everything in life, and Tom liked having his little brother around," Berman says. "He liked the guy. So when they grew up they were really, really great friends."

Tom and Ray haven't done the show live for two years; Car Talk has been airing archives of old shows. Berman says Ray would like to continue doing that, as a tribute to his brother.

*Full Article w/Audio at Link
 

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I have been listening to Car Talk every weekend for the last 15+ years. Still love the repeats. I am truly sad about this lost. A diagnosis two years ago may have led to the retirement, which is fully understandable.

I will truly miss him. May he Rest in Peace. :drive:
 

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We used to listen to them all the time. They were funny and seemed to especially enjoy laughing at their own humor.
I understand that, I do it all the time myself.:yup:

I wasn't aways impressed by their level of automotive knowledge. For instance, when some poor non-car girl would call and ask them what knd of car she should buy, they always said Subaru. Love. It's a Soobie!

That said, for NPR they were pretty good. Alzhimer's or any form of dementia sucks in such major ways. I undertand Brock Yates is in the later stages of Alzheimer's now. Surely he's wishing he could've gone out quick like his bud David E. Davis, Jr. did.
 

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Sad day. I loved listening to Tom and Ray, not so much for the automobile information, but more for the entertainment they provided. They were somewhat informative, always a bit biased (as Neanderthal mentioned above), but they were great fun. The brotherly back and forth banter and their interactions with the callers really made for great listening. He will be missed.
 

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^^Don't listen to my bruthuh!!!
 

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Will miss him greatly. Glad I happened to meet him once (see below) as well as his brother Ray, and am probably one of the few who heard Tom & Ray at the very beginning of their radio career.

As a young audiophile I listened to a Saturday morning show on WBUR in Boston in the 70s called Shop Talk, where they discussed all things about quality audio reproduction. As the aftermarket car audio industry was really starting to explode, one time they decided to focus on car audio installations, and brought in Tom Magliozzi as the car "expert." He was funny and had a great radio presence, and they did a follow-on show on car audio the next week that included Ray. Within about a month as I recall, they had their own show and rapidly grew a big (for local public radio) audience. Being a car-guy as well and loving their humor I was hooked and became a regular listener for many years. One line that for some reason I remember: Caller: "I have a Volkswagen Quantum" Tom interrupts without missing a beat: "...and you're looking for a Quantum mechanic."

I once brought my car at the time (72 Datsun Wagon, manual, with Konis, alloy wheels, and Recaros (true!)) to the Good News Garage in Cambridge for some work. Didn't see Tom, but dealt with Ray. His comment: "nice car, and I love the seats!"

Many years later - around 2004 - I was at the local Italian car show at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline with my 87 Alfa Romeo Milano Verde. A couple guys came up and one said he had just bought a similar car, with some advice from the friend who was with him. So we're talking Milanos and Alfas, and the guy with him, who wasn't saying much, just 'yeah' or a quiet laugh, looked vaguely familiar to me and he laughed once more, and the laugh was unmistakable. I said "Are you Mr. Magliozzi?" He said "Yes I am. How did you know?" I just said I recognized him, which was true, but it was really that laugh. I told him I was a long time listener and thanked him. He was gracious and unassuming, just a nice guy. The three of us chatted a while longer and that was it.
 
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