One of Public Radio’s most influential and popular personalities has passed away at the age of 77, losing his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. His legacy will forever live on, as he has touched many lives through his conquests.
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. Among many things, Tom’s laugh defined him the most, it was an infectious laugh, that echoed the studio, and brightened days for years.
Doug Berman, the long-time producer of “Car Talk” spoke on just how Tom transformed lives:
“Before I ever met him, I heard him, and it wasn’t on the air,” he recalls. “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, with a 12-year age gap between them. Yet and still, they were the best of friends. After getting out of college, Tom went to work as a mechanic, but one day, a fatal accident revealed an epiphany:
“I quit my job,” he said. “I became a bum. I spent two years sitting in Harvard Square drinking coffee. I invented the concept of the do-it-yourself auto repair shop, and I met my lovely wife.”
He was not a typical “bum” though, as he worked as consultant, college professor, and even went on to get his doctoral in Marketing! 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.
The station liked what Tom did for them, and he was asked to come back next week. That time, he brought his brother Ray. The rest you could say, is history! The bond between the two was evident on air, as listeners fell in love from day one. Tom Magliozzi will always have a special place in the hearts of many.
R.I.P.–Tom Magliozzi: 1937-2014** We here at TV20 send our condolences to family and loved ones during this time.