Tom Magliozzi, host of NPR’s ‘Car Talk,’ passed away on November 3 of complications from Alzheimer’s. He was 77.
Tom Magliozzi, who made himself a radio legend alongside brother Ray, died on Nov. 3. The host of NPR’s Car Talk, Tom’s infections laughter captivated audiences for over 30 years. He will be dearly missed.
Tom Magliozzi Dead: NPR’s ‘Car Talk’ Co-Host Dies At 77
Tom’s passing was a result of complications from his Alzeheimer’s Disease, reports NPR; he died in Belmont, Massachusetts.
A graduate of MIT, Tom began his career as an engineer. He taught part-time at local universities while working toward an MBA from Northeastern University, but in 1973 he and Ray opened up a do-it-yourself repair shop called “Hacker’s Haven,” which rented out space to people trying to fix their own cars.
“Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers,” as Tom and Ray were also known, made car mechanics interesting and fun. Their show began in 1977, when WBUR-FM in Boston wanted to bring in mechanics to answer listener questions about cars. No one other than Tom showed, and the next week, he brought his brother along.
The show became so successful that in 1987, they were approached by NPR and Car Talk became a national phenomenon. Car Talk would eventually wrap in 2012 after 35 years on the air. At that time, the show had 3.3 million listeners tuning in each week and was NPR’s most popular program; as a result, reruns continue to air.
Tom Magliozzi & Ray Magliozzi: ‘Car Talk’ Popularity Extended Beyond Radio
Tom’s popularity extended beyond radio; along with Ray, the two starred in their own animated series on PBS called Click and Clack’s As the Wrench Turns; the show only ran for one season in 2008, but the two also made an appearance in a 2002 episode of Arthur. They even appeared in Pixar’s Cars in 2006; they were the owners of Rust-eze, the sponsors who gave main character Lightning McQueen his big break by plastering their logo on his car.
Longtime producer of Car Talk, Doug Berman, revealed that their success had “very little to do with cars. It’s the guys’ personalities. And Tom especially — really a genius. With a great, facile mind. And he’s mischievous. He likes to prod people into honesty.”
Doug went on to say that Ray “idolized” Tom and that you couldn’t talk about one brother without talking about the other. “This is the guy who introduced him to everything in life, and Tom liked having his little brother around. He liked the guy. So when they grew up they were really, really great friends.”
Tom is survived by his brother, Ray, his first wife Julia Magliozzi, his second wife Joanne Magliozzi, his children Lydia, Alex, and Anna, as well as his five grandchildren and “his close companion of recent years, Sylvia Soderberg,” reports NPR.
As a tribute to his brother, it’s Ray’s wish that re-runs of Car Talk continue to air on NPR.
Our thoughts go out to the Magliozzi family during this difficuilt time.
— Susan Johnson