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I really don't want to write about this, I don't want to think about this, and I don't want it to be true.
Lee Rodgers, friend and mentor, is dead.
I owe everything that I have in my professional life to Lee Rodgers, who took me under his wing back in 1988 in the halycon days of KGO Radio.
Lee was a nighttime talk show host, a former rock and roll DJ, hired by my husband Jack Swanson. He hired him twice, in fact.
"Lee Rodgers was a real radio guy. He was remarkable. He worked very hard, didn't always play well with other children, but always made our industry proud," Swanson said.
Lee and I worked together at KSFO radio on the "Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan Show, with Officer Vic" (and Sheri Yee) for 14 years, but it was always the Lee Rodgers show, and we got to go along for the ride. Lee was demanding, brilliant, perfectionistic, generous, very very loyal and HUGELY entertaining. I learned my conservative principles from him. He helped mold and shape my politics and you can sometimes hear Lee speaking through me on the radio. I learned to capitalize entire words on paper from Lee, like HUGELY.
Lee Rodgers first and foremost was a devoted husband to Susan, his 'child bride' as he called her. They were married for 35 years, and were inescapably in love and twinned forever. I talked to Susie and she wants Lee's fans to know that he was completely dramatic until the very end.
"Lee had 110 people in the operating room, which he loved. He told the nurse before he went under that since he was naked, everyone else should be too."
Lee underwent a 13 hour operation for a heart by-pass, and Susie said he just couldn't pull through.
Lee used to say "when I leave this vale of tears, I want elephants, dancing women and marching bands." Instead, Lee's ashes will be spread among his favorite hills of Arizona, where he and Susie have lived for the past decade.
This is the part where I am supposed to write my final thoughts about Lee but there will always be a million unfinished thoughts about him. He will be with me and millions of radio fans forever. All I can do is cry and mourn the passing of a genius, a total professional and the damned funniest man I have ever known.
Lee would like the last comment the best.
Although the genius part is a close second.
From Susie and Lee Rodgers here.
Update: if you wish to send condolences write me - and I will pass them along to Susie. If you wish to make a donation in his name go here:
The Animal League of Green Valley
1600 W. Duval Mine Road
Green Valley, AZ 85614
Tax ID #74-2378040