Larry Lujack, the self-proclaimed "superjock" who dominated Chicago radio airwaves for 20 years, has died.
Lujack's wife, Judith, says her 73-year-old husband died Wednesday evening at their home in Santa Fe, N.M., of esophageal cancer.
Lujack came to WLS AM 89 in 1967 and quickly established himself as the top disc jockey in the city. His deep, raspy voice, sarcasm and connection to listeners with whom he often sparred live via phone on the air were among his trademarks.
Regular bits like Lujack's "Cheap Trashy Show Biz Report" were must-listen radio and daily water cooler topics.
But it was his "Animal Stories" routine as "your charming and delightful old Uncle Lar" with sidekick Tommy Edwards as "Little Snot-Nosed Tommy" that were most memorable. During the bits, Lujack read funny, animal-related stories from newspapers and magazines.
Edwards would ask if the animal would be OK.
"Nooo, Little Tommy ..." Lujack would growl.
The "Animal Stories" bits were sold as compilation albums at the holidays, with the proceeds going to children's charities.
Lujack retired to New Mexico in 1987. He was inducted in to the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004.
Longtime Chicago media critic Robert Feder says similarly "real" radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and Don Imus owe a debt of gratitude to Lujack.