Renowned American radio drama producer dies

Internationally renowned radio dramatist and audiobook producer Yuri Rasovsky has died in Los Angeles.  Born July 29, 1944, in Chicago, Rasovsky was a lonely only child who repeatedly broke his family’s television so that his parents would have to let him listen to the radio.


One of his first productions was a radio adaptation of the 1920 silent horror film “The Cabvarchar(15) of Dr. Caligari.” By 1978, producer-writer-director Rasovsky and his theater had earned a Peabody Award for the weekly radio plays that aired on a small Chicago station.



After seeing the film “Star Wars,” Rasovsky was inspired to stage an aural spectacle, so he produced his own rough translation of the epic “The Odyssey of Homer.” The resulting series was heard on stations across America in 1981 and brought him a second Peabody Award.


Other Rasovsky productions included “Craven Street,” an account of Benjamin Franklin’s life, and “Dateline 1787,” which employed 35 actors to convey the writing of the U.S. Constitution. Another Rasovsky audio drama, “The Mark of Zorro” with Val Kilmer as the adventurer, has been nominated for a spoken-word Grammy at the Feb. 12 awards show.



Rasovsky died of esophageal cancer Jan. 18 at his Los Angeles home, said his companion, Lorna Raver. He was 67.


“He was demanding and smart and kind when needed, and a frightening martvarchar(15) when also needed,” actor Edward Herrmann told the Los Angeles Times. “He strove for what all true artists strive towards: authenticity. He was terrific, fair, frightening and loving all at the same time. Complex, certainly, but wildly worth the effort.”