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We share his bio that was created by Jerry’s dear friend, A.D. Amorosi for your consideration:
(1940 - 2023) Read More
We share his bio that was created by Jerry’s dear friend, A.D. Amorosi for your consideration:
(1940 - 2023)
Gerald Joseph Blavat was born July 3, 1940 in South Philadelphia, and passed away on January 20th, 2023 from the effects of myasthenia gravis and related health issues at VITAS Inpatient Hospice at Jefferson-Methodist Hospital.
Jerry Blavat, however – “The Geator with the Heator,” “The Boss with the Hot Sauce” – was born the day he got behind the microphone at Camden’s WCAM in 1960, regaling young, area audiences with his fast patter and his devotion to rhythm & blues and rock and roll. Since then, Jerry Blavat has become a Philadelphia icon, a musical encyclopedia, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a best-selling author, a concert promoter, a nightclub owner, a father and a man known for snapping his fingers with a click louder than castanets and his exclamation, “My man!”
Blavat’s voice and legend will never die.
Jerry started his life in entertainment in 1953 as a lithe, on-air dancer on the original Bandstand on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV before Dick Clark took the program national. Blavat then moved on to his role as the tour manager for the doo wop vocal group Danny and the Juniors, before getting a job as comedian Don Rickles' valet in 1958–59.
Along with spinning records at clubs in Philadelphia and South Jersey, in 1960, Blavat debuted on radio at Camden’s WCAM-AM and became an instant smash by playing music “from the heart, not a research chart,” and talking to his similarly-aged audience, “the yon teens,” as if they were his best friends. Loud or soft, fluid and as rhythmic as the music he played, Blavat’s voice was an intimate connection to the music they loved, and to the man behind the mic.
That closeness to area teens allowed Blavat to win greater audiences throughout the East Coast, and by 1963, the fast-talking disc jockey had a radio program syndicated in Camden, Atlantic City, Trenton, Pottstown, Wilmington, Allentown and beyond. It is here that Blavat became one of the early rock and roll deejays, revolutionizing the profession and creating what would become the basis for the “Oldies” market decades into the future.
Restlessly, Blavat moved beyond radio in the 1960s, and became a partner in the Philadelphia-based record labels such as Crimson and Lost Nite. He was a co-owner of Record Museum, a small chain of local stores selling vinyl albums and 45s. Starting in 1965, Blavat hosted and produced a weekly television show, The Discophonic Scene, that was filmed in Philadelphia and aired locally and in national syndication, and even recorded a single on the Favor label that same year as Jerry Blavat and The Yon Teenagers – “Discophonic Walk”/”Back to School One More Time.”
By 1968, Blavat appeared as a guest star on network television programs such as The Monkees andThe Mod Squad. In 1972, Blavat purchased a nightclub space in Margate, NJ, named it "Memories” and hosted popular, scenic shore parties. In the 1980s, Blavat made appearances in films from notable director-screenwriters such as John Sayles (1983’s Baby It’s You) and Susan Seidelman (1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan, starring Madonna).
On a personal high, Jerry maintained long friendships with many entertainment greats such as Frankie Valli and Frank Sinatra (Blavat’s mother, “Mama Geet” famously cooked for Sinatra whenever he was in the area) and Blavat served as the best man at Sammy Davis Jr’s marriage to his wife Altovise.
Throughout the 1970s and into 2022, Blavat continued on as a high-energy “Oldies” deejay on the air and at live events throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, on PBS, and on the high seas for “Malt Shop Memories” Cruises. Along with bringing “Geator Gold Radio with Jerry Blavat” to stations such as WVLT 92.1 in South Jersey, WBCB 1490 in Bucks Country and Trenton, and Atlantic City's WTKU Kool 98.3 FM and WOND 1400 News Talk Radio, The Geator was the host and producer of "The Geator's Rock 'n' Roll, Rhythm & Blues Express” program at NPR affiliate WXPN-FM.
Blavat received the rare honor of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. His colorful, best-selling autobiography, You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music, was published by Running Press in 2011, and has been released in paperback and audiobook. Along with regularly hosting the beloved Philly/Jersey Shore reunion at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FLA, Blavat booked and curated annual live “Oldies” shows on the Kimmel Cultural Campus, starting in 2001, at the invitation of Sidney Kimmel. Blavat’s goal for his concerts was to reproduce the sound of each acts’ records “exactly as I heard them… with lush string and horn arrangements that we could replicate to perfection,” he said. “Songs people loved and would remember as soon as they heard the first notes.”
Blavat forever lived for his fans and friends who remembered those “first notes,” and his happiness came from making people happy through the music of their shared youth. Blavat was never far removed from that shared experience since his first days on Bandstand. Jerry never lived outside of Philadelphia. He always stayed true to his roots, taking part in South Philadelphia traditions and festivals. His energy was unparalleled, as evidenced by his daily gym workouts, outdoor bicycle rides and coffee shop stops. Along with being loved and missed by his four daughters, fellow artists and closest friends, Jerry Blavat will always be a part of the “yon teens” that were his extended family.
“Jerry Blavat did he was put on Earth to do, and did it perfectly while bringing happiness to millions,” said Sue Hoffman, who, like Carol Tampesta, worked with The Geator for 50+ years. “There are no words as to how much I, and all of us, will miss you.”
Blavat is survived by his sister, Roberta Lawit, his daughters Kathi Furia (Robert), Geraldine Blavat, Stacy Braglia and Deserie Downey, his wife Patricia Blavat, five grandchildren, Samantha Rodden, Kristina Furia, Joseph Downey, Frankie Braglia, and Jeffrey Smullen, five great-grand-children, and his companion of 33 years, Rosalie (Keely) Stahl.
Relatives and friends are invited to his Visitation and Funeral Mass on Saturday January 28, 2023. Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 1723 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
8:45am Reception of the Body
9:00am Visitation at the Altar of the Holy Souls
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, for the Jerry Blavat Edowed Fund, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
Funeral Arrangements by The PENNSYLVANIA BURIAL COMPANY, INC.
Click on link below to LIVESTREAM Funeral Mass
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
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