David Brudnoy

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
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David Brudnoy was an American talk radio host best known for his show ‘The David Brudnoy Show’ on WBZ-AM. He began his career as a broadcast commentator after completing his education and earning his doctorate. Gradually, his talent gained recognition, and he was named the host of his own radio talk show. The show was an instant success, and he received high praise for his presentation and the manner in which he interacted with people from all walks of life. He was a self-described libertarian who articulated his conservative views with wit and deliberation. His considerate approach to debates helped him build a sizable following. Later in life, following a near-death experience that left him in a coma for nine days, he revealed publicly for the first time that he had AIDS and was gay. Apart from his talents as a radio host, he has also worked as an educator at various universities. He established a fund for AIDS research and also wrote his autobiography after regaining his health. He was later diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer and died after a lengthy illness. He is remembered as an iconoclastic, urbane radio talk show host who, for nearly three decades, was one of New England’s most listened-to radio personalities for his thoughtful treatment of politics and culture.

Childhood & Adolescence

He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 5, 1940, to dentist Harry Brudnoy and his wife, Doris Brudnoy, a homemaker. His parents were Jewish, and he was their only child.

His family spent brief periods of time in Macon, Georgia and San Antonio, Texas during his early years while his father served in the Army Reserves. Later in his career, he relocated to New England to pursue graduate studies.

He began college in 1958 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in New Haven. He remained an active member of American Field Service while at Yale and was also a member of the George Orwell Forum, the Young Democrats, and the Criterion Board.

He later earned a master’s degree in Far Eastern Studies from Harvard University. He earned his doctorate in 1971 from Brandeis University, where he concentrated on East Asian studies and history.

Career of David

He was hired as a broadcast commentator at WGBH, Boston’s public television station, in 1971 after auditioning. In 1976, he succeeded his friend Avi Nelson as host of the WHDH radio show.

He worked for WRKO from 1981 to 1986 before moving to WBZ-AM. At WBZ-AM, he established his own show, ‘The David Brudnoy Show,’ New England’s most popular radio talk show, which he hosted until his death.

He continued to broadcast the show from his apartment after being diagnosed with AIDS. Upon his return to the airwaves following treatment, he announced the establishment of a fund to combat AIDS and also published his autobiography, titled ‘Life is not a Rehearsal,’ in 1997.

Along with hosting a radio talk show, he appeared as a news commentator and host on local television stations such as WCVB-TV (ABC), WNAC-TV, and WBZ-TV (CBS). He was also a well-known film critic who contributed film reviews to Boston magazine and community newspapers. He has written for ‘The New York Times’, ‘The New Republic’, and the ‘Saturday Evening Post’.

He taught classes as a professor or guest lecturer at a number of prominent colleges and universities, including Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Merrimack College, the University of Rhode Island, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Texas Southern University.

Awards and Accomplishments

Emerson College bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 1996. He received the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts’ ‘Freedom of Speech Award’ in 1997. He was also nominated for the Marconi Award for ‘Personality of the Year’ that year.

Personal History and Legacies

He recognized his homosexuality at a young age but was hesitant to disclose it. Later in life, he moved in with a single mother, Patricia Kennedy, who he used to conceal his sexual orientation in exchange for serving as a surrogate father to her two small children.

Dr. Ward Cromer, a psychologist with whom he traveled on dozens of trips abroad, was one of his closest and oldest friends. Cromer was widely assumed to be his sexual partner, despite the fact that they never responded to speculations about their true relationship.

He was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1988 but kept the diagnosis a secret for several years. He fell into a coma for nine days in 1994 but recovered to a state of reasonable health. While battling the disease, he revealed to his parents the truth about his homosexuality and the illness he was battling.

In 2003, he was diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that is extremely rare. Following initial hospitalization and treatment, he returned to work in March 2004 with a strained voice.

The cancer later spread to his lungs and kidneys, as doctors discovered. He was forced to undergo dialysis in addition to cancer treatment, and he died on December 9, 2004 after being admitted to the hospital for several days.

Estimated Net Worth

The net worth of David is about $800,000.