The host of one of public radio’s longest running programs, Car Talk, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, NPR reports.
Tom Magliozzi and his brother Ray had played “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” on the beloved Saturday morning show since 1977. They stopped producing new episodes of the program in 2012, but re-runs continue to air in the same time-slot on most NPR affiliates.
The show’s format changed little over the years — listeners would call in with questions about their cars, and the Magliozzi brothers would attempt to diagnose the problem, sometimes seriously, sometimes not, over the course of the call.
The show also featured weekly “puzzlers,” the answers to which were given the following episode.
In a statement announcing his brother’s death, Ray wrote, “turns out he wasn’t kidding. He really couldn’t remember last week’s puzzler.”
The Car Talk statement noted that “Tom was the first in his family to attend college, enrolling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering.He applied that degree to research and consulting jobs until, in his late 20s, he was making his tedious 45-minute commute in traffic one morning, had a near miss with another car, and had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.”
“He’d always ask guys who were in a dispute with their wives or girlfriends one question: ‘Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?’” said Ray. “In his own personal life, Tom always chose ‘right,’ hence he leaves behind two wives, and a passel of children and grandchildren.”