Jerry G. Bishop Dead: Radio And TV Personality Who Created The Original 'Svengoolie' Dies At 77

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Chicago radio and TV legend and creator of the original "Svengoolie," Jerry G. Bishop, has died. He was 77.

Media critic Robert Feder confirmed the news that Bishop passed away Sunday.

Rich Koz, Bishop's protégé and current Svengoolie wrote "I owe everything to him," tweeting Tuesday:

A developing obit from the Museum of Classic Chicago Television posted Monday read in part:

"On Sunday, September 15, 2013, Jerry Ghan, who went by the name Jerry G. Bishop on radio and television, passed away. [snip]

He is best remembered as the original Svengoolie. Svengoolie began in 1970 on WFLD TV 32 in Chicago when Jerry G. Bishop did voice-overs for the Friday night horror films being shown on Screaming Yellow Theater. Bishop was doing voice work for the show, and was heard but not seen. Soon the station added slides of Bishop as Svengoolie, and eventually evolved into video taped segments."

The Lawndale native and Columbia College grad was a star of morning radio during "the golden era of Top 40 radio in the ’60s," Feder reports. In 1970, Bishop introduced the Svengoolie character as the voice-over host of "Screaming Yellow Theater."

In a 2002 interview, Bishop described his famous character as "a guitar-strumming, coffin-sleeping hippie dude with a vaguely familiar accent."

Bishop later moved to California, where he won three Emmys hosting the daily live talk show "Sun Up San Diego" from 1978-1990.

Later, Bishop would go on to realize his "fantasy" of entering the restaurant business. Feder reports Bishop opened a Greek and an Italian restaurant in San Diego. According to Feder, Bishop once said of the Italian join, Asaggio, “Our sign says we serve ‘the best Chicago deep dish pizza west of Wrigley Field."

Bishop is survived by his wife Liz and their two children.

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