American radio and television broadcasterDied when: 79 years 197 days (954 months)
Star Sign: Virgo
Arthur Morton Godfrey (August 31, 1903 – March 16, 1983) was an American radio and television broadcaster and entertainer who was sometimes introduced by his nickname The Old Redhead.
At the peak of his success, in the early-to-mid 1950s, Godfrey was heard on radio and seen on television up to six days a week, sometimes for as many as nine separate broadcasts for CBS.
His programs included Arthur Godfrey Time (Monday-Friday mornings on radio and television), Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (Monday evenings on radio and television), Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (Wednesday evenings on television), The Arthur Godfrey Digest (Friday evenings on radio) and King Arthur Godfrey and His Round Table (Sunday afternoons on radio).
The infamous on-air firing of cast member Julius La Rosa in 1953 tainted his down-to-earth, family-man image and resulted in a marked decline in popularity which he was never able to regain.
Over the following two years, Godfrey fired over twenty additional cast and crew members, under similar disregard and questionable ethics, for which he was heavily attacked by the press and public alike.
A self-made man, he was fiercely competitive; some of his employees were fired for merely speaking with ones he considered to be competitors, like Ed Sullivan, or for signing with agents.
By the late 1950s, his presence had been reduced to hosting the occasional television special and his daily network radio show, which ended in 1972.
Godfrey was strongly identified with many of his commercial sponsors, especially Chesterfield cigarettes and Lipton Tea.He advertised Chesterfield for many years, during which he devised the slogan "Buy 'em by the carton", but he terminated his relationship with the company after he quit smoking, five years before he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1959.
He later became a prominent spokesman for the tobacco control movement.