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John Donald Imus Jr.
July 23, 1940
Riverside, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Radio and television talk show host, writer, humorist|
|Spouse(s)||Harriet Showalter (1969–1979; div.)|
Deirdre Coleman (1994–present)
|Awards||NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, 4 NAB Marconi Radio Awards|
John Donald Imus Jr. (born July 23, 1940) is an American former radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He is known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. A former railroad brakeman and miner, Imus attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and secured his first radio job in 1968 at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City before his firing in 1977.
In 1979, Imus returned to WNBC and stayed at the station until 1988 when the show moved to WFAN. Imus gained widespread popularity when the show entered national syndication in 1993. He was labelled a shock jock radio host throughout his later career and his programs have been popular and controversial. After nearly 50 years on the air, Imus retired from broadcasting in March 2018.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Controversies
- 4 Other controversies
- 5 Business interests
- 6 Honors
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Books
- 9 Comedy albums
- 10 Notes
- 11 External links
Imus was born in Riverside, California into a wealthy family, the son of John Donald Imus, Sr. and Frances E. Imus (née Moore) who ran a 35,000-acre ranch named The Willows near Kingman, Arizona. He has Welsh, English, and Polish ancestry and Jewish roots. He had a younger brother, Fred Imus (1942–2011). Imus disliked school, moving "from one hideous private school to another" and described himself as a "horrible adolescent". At fifteen, his parents divorced and his father died when he was twenty.
In 1957, while living in Prescott, Arizona, Imus dropped out of high school and joined the United States Marine Corps at Base Camp Pendleton where he was stationed in the artillery division before transferring to the drum and bugle corps. He left the marines with an honorable discharge, and secured work as a window dresser in San Bernardino before he was fired for performing strip teases on the mannequins for passers by. Imus then moved to Hollywood with his brother in an attempt to find success as musicians and songwriters, but they struggled to get radio DJs to play their songs on the air. This left Imus homeless, resorting to sleeping in a laundry and hitchhiking back to Arizona. After dropping out of the University of the Pacific, Imus worked as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad and in a uranium mine in Arizona. He suffered a mining accident that broke both of his legs and collapsed one lung.
In 1966, Imus enrolled at the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood after seeing a newspaper advert; he was thrown out for being "uncooperative", but studied enough to obtain a broadcasting license as required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Upon winning a talent contest at Johnny Otis's night club, he worked as a singer-songwriter with Otis serving as his manager. After hearing a morning radio DJ at KUTY in Palmdale, California, Imus went to the station and successfully persuaded the owner to hire him. He signed on the air on June 2, 1968. It was at KUTY where Imus began his on-air character Billy Sol Hargus, a radio evangelist named and inspired by preacher Billy James Hargis and businessman Billie Sol Estes. Imus was an instant success at the station; in two months, he had become number one in the ratings for his time slot and earned a Billboard Award for Air Personality of the Year in a medium-sized market.
Imus then had a short stint at KJOY in Stockton, California, from which he was fired. The incident that caused his exit is disputed; some sources reasoned it down to his Eldridge Cleaver look-a-like contest; another put it down to him saying "hell" on the air. Imus moved to KXOA in Sacramento, California, which became known for his prank call to a local McDonald's restaurant as a National Guard official to order 1,200 burgers for troops. The segment influenced a later FCC ruling that required all radio DJs to identify themselves when they make phone calls on the air. In 1970, Imus left KXOA for WGAR in Cleveland, Ohio for a $50,000 salary. In 1971, he won his second Billboard Award, this time in the major radio market category.
1971–1979: WNBC and WHK
On December 2, 1971, less than three years into his radio career, Imus started his morning show at WNBC in New York City, with a $100,000 per year salary. On his second day, he overslept and missed the show. Imus was involved in various projects during his time at WNBC. In March 1973, he began stand-up comedy and stage act named Imus in the Evening; his first shows were held at The Bitter End in New York City. By the early 1980s, he was earning as much as $10,000 a performance. Imus retired his stand-up in December 1985. He released three albums containing radio segments and songs: 1200 Hamburgers to Go (1972), One Sacred Chicken to Go with Anthrax (1973), and This Honky's Nuts (1974). The latter features material from his stand-up comedy at Jimmy's club in Manhattan.
Imus started to drink heavily during this period which soon affected his working life. He started to miss work and became increasingly unmanageable. He missed 100 days of work in 1973. In August 1977, WNBC decided to reformat the station and let go of their on-air staff. Imus described himself as "awful" and "a jerk" during this time, and struggled to find a suitable job in New York City that satisfied his salary demands. He returned to Cleveland and began an afternoon drive show on WHK in 1978. He found the experience humiliating, but took the job in order to earn money and "get my act together". During this time, Imus recorded episodes of IMUS, plus..., a late night talk show on WNEW-TV.
On September 2, 1979, Imus returned to the air in mornings at WNBC from 5:30 am. By this time, Imus had started to use cocaine until he quit in 1983. He continued to drink, and his on- and off-air behaviour became erratic; he turned up for work without shoes and slept on park benches with large amounts of money in his pocket. By 1981, Imus and Charles McCord secured a deal with Paramount Pictures that involved the development of three screenplays, including work on Joy of Sex. In April 1981, Imus renewed his contract with WNBC with a five-year deal worth $500,000 a year with bonuses if he surpasses ratings targets. Following the addition of Howard Stern in afternoons in 1982, he and Imus began a longtime feud though both were paired on WNBC print and television advertisements.
In July 1981, Imus released his first book, God's Other Son, a novel about the life of his on-air character Billy Sol Hargus that he wrote with McCord. It was republished in 1994 and spent seven weeks on The New York Times best seller list. By October 1981, Imus was the most popular radio DJ in the US, reaching 220,000 regular listeners and number one in 12 of 13 demographic categories. Other regular Imus characters included the supposed general manager "Geraldo Santana Banana" (played by doo-wop singer Larry Chance), and "Moby Worm", a monstrous creature who devoured local schools (which was reported on the show's "breaking news updates").
Imus was also the utility announcer for Geraldo Rivera's monthly TV series Good Night America, which aired as a recurring segment of ABC's Wide World of Entertainment program (1973-1976), and he was one of the inaugural video jockeys for the launch of the VH-1 cable network in 1985.
On October 7, 1988, after WNBC was sold to Emmis Broadcasting, the station permanently signed off the air to have WFAN, an all-sports station, move to the station's signal. All the station's staff was let go apart from Imus and his radio show team, who stayed to become WFAN's morning show.
In 1989, Imus signed a five-year deal to continue his show on WFAN. In April 1989, Imus was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Later in 1989, Imus accepted an invitation to become an honorary assistant coach for a basketball game between the Fordham Rams and La Salle Explorers the following January.
The show became nationally syndicated in 1993, and began simulcasting on MSNBC in 1996.
Imus was instrumental in raising over $60 million for the Center for the Intrepid, a Texas rehabilitation facility for soldiers wounded in the Iraq War. The largest technological center of its kind in the country, it is designed to help treat disabled veterans and help them with their transition back into the community. Imus has also taken on the cause of the living conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, visiting wounded veterans at the hospital to boost morale. Imus' reporting preceded Army resignations, including that of Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley, then Army Surgeon General. Imus had earlier criticized Kiley's personal fitness for military duty and dedication to wounded soldiers.
2007–2018: WABC and retirement
On January 22, 2018, Imus announced that the show would air its final episode on March 29, 2018. While his contract with Cumulus Media was set to end in December, the company requested that he retire sooner as a cost-savings measure due to the company's bankruptcy.
Rutgers women's basketball team
On April 4, 2007, during a discussion about the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, Imus characterized the Rutgers University women's basketball team players as "rough girls," commenting on their tattoos. His executive producer Bernard McGuirk responded by referring to them as "hardcore 'hos'". The discussion continued with Imus describing the women as "nappy-headed 'hos'" and McGuirk remarking that the two teams looked like the "jigaboos versus the wannabes" mentioned in Spike Lee's film, School Daze, apparently referring to the two teams' differing appearances.
In the immediate aftermath of the remarks, public outrage was directed at Imus and WFAN. Howard Stern discussed how he had heard Imus make racist comments directed at a black female co-worker while the two were both working at WNBC, and while management was aware of the comments at the time, they had done nothing. Stern's co-host Robin Quivers confirmed that assertion and added that she had once been the target of Imus' racist remarks herself. Imus dismissed the controversy at first, calling the incident "some idiot comment meant to be amusing". He also stated that "nappy-headed 'ho's" is a term that rap artists use to refer to black women. He said:
"That phrase [nappy-headed 'ho'] didn't originate in the white community. That phrase originated in the Black community. Young Black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by their own Black men, and they are called that name in Black hip hop."
In response to mounting public censure, Imus issued a statement of apology:
I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.
On April 9, Imus appeared on Al Sharpton's syndicated radio talk show, Keepin' It Real with Al Sharpton, to address the controversy. Sharpton called the comments "abominable", "racist", and "sexist", and repeated his earlier demand that Imus be fired. Imus said, "Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far. Here's what I've learned: that you can't make fun of everybody, because some people don't deserve it."
Shortly thereafter Imus was suspended. Media commentators were divided on the suspension: on MSNBC's Scarborough Country on April 10, for example, Pat Buchanan said that Imus is "a good guy ... [who] made a bad mistake and apologized for it" and that the show should stay on the air. Comedian Bill Maher said that if a comedian apologizes for stepping over a line, that should suffice. Steve Adubato, an MSNBC media analyst, disagreed, saying that this incident was "not isolated". Joe Klein made the same charge, referring to Imus's comment about The New York Times reporter Gwen Ifill 14 years before as evidence of a pattern of offensive comments. On The View, Rosie O'Donnell spoke out in support of keeping Imus on the air on free speech grounds, while Emil Steiner of The Washington Post argued that Al Sharpton used the issue to further divide America along racial lines.
The Rutgers basketball team held a news conference at which coach C. Vivian Stringer stated that the team would meet with Imus to discuss his comments. Several of the players expressed their outrage over his remarks. Team captain Essence Carson said Imus' remarks had "stolen a moment of pure grace from us".
Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, at one time a frequent guest, once had confronted Imus about his characterization of certain black athletes and got Imus to take a pledge to stop. After the Rutgers team incident, Page said he would not appear on the show again and said of the original two-week suspension:
I know other stations ... some shock jock who lost his job for less than this, or been at least suspended for a month or two. Why does Don, a repeat offender, keep getting away with it? I want to know.
CBS board member and former NAACP president Bruce S. Gordon said that Imus should not be allowed to come back even after the suspension, claiming that his remarks "crossed the line, a very bright line that divides our country."
On April 11, 2007, Steve Capus of NBC News, announced that MSNBC would no longer simulcast Imus in the Morning, effective immediately. While the decision came on the same day that a few advertisers left Imus, the network also said employee concerns played a role. Sen. (and at the time presidential candidate) Barack Obama, and several high-profile NBC black personalities, including Al Roker previously a friendly guest on the show, opposed Imus's return. The absence and silence from Imus's frequent NBC guests Brian Williams, Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, Chris Matthews and close friend Tim Russert was too obvious to ignore and foreshadowed NBC's future action.
In announcing the decision, Steve Capus, President of NBC News, said:
These comments were deeply hurtful to many, many people. And we've had any number of employee conversations, discussions, emails, phone calls. And when you listen to the passion and the people who come to the conclusion that there should not be any room for this sort of conversation and dialogue on our air, it was the only decision we could reach.
From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent. There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision.
The day before, CBS chairman Sumner Redstone said he trusted Moonves would "do the right thing," but didn't elaborate. Moonves had met with Sharpton and Jesse Jackson shortly before the announcement was made.
In an internal memo, Moonves said that employee concerns were a factor in the decision to cancel Imus's show, but also said that the decision was "about a lot more than Imus." Moonves said that CBS had to take Imus off the air in order to change "a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people."
Seven sponsors had either pulled their ads outright or suspended advertising on Imus's show to protest his remarks—General Motors (Imus's biggest advertiser), Staples Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Sprint Nextel, PetMeds, American Express and Procter & Gamble. One other advertiser, Bigelow Tea, expressed uncertainty at renewing their ads with Imus's show.
Just hours after the announcement of his firing, Imus met with Stringer and her team at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey governor's mansion. The three-hour meeting was arranged by Buster Soaries, the former New Jersey Secretary of State and Stringer's pastor. New Jersey governor Jon Corzine planned to attend the meeting but was injured in a car accident on the way to the meeting. Imus left without commenting, but Stringer said the meeting went well. She later commented that they had accepted Imus's apology, and "It would sadden me for anyone to lose their job, ... And he came [to the meeting] in spite of the fact that he lost his job. So let's give him credit for that." She also emphasized that the basketball team had not called for Imus to be fired.
CBS was criticized by some as being too harsh for canceling Imus's show. Senator John Kerry said a "long suspension" would be "appropriate to pay a price on the airwaves but I'm not sure that it was appropriate to say you're off forever."
By May 2, 2007, Imus had hired prominent attorney Martin Garbus to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit against CBS for the remaining $40 million on his five-year contract. The contract contained a clause indicating CBS hired and supported Imus to exhibit "irreverent" and "controversial" programming.
On August 14, 2007, CBS announced a settlement with Imus on his $40 million contract. On the same day, Rutgers basketball player Kia Vaughn, one of the women involved in the controversy, filed suit against Imus, NBC Universal, CBS Corporation, MSNBC, CBS Radio, Viacom, Westwood One Radio, and Bernard McGuirk, citing slander, libel, and defamation of character. Vaughn was the only player to pursue legal damages. Vaughn dropped the lawsuit against Imus on September 11, 2007, citing her desire to concentrate on her studies and basketball training.
Return to radio and television
On July 8, 2007, the Drudge Report indicated that Imus would return to the air before the 2008 presidential election. The New York Post reported on July 16, 2007, that Imus was in search of a black comedian to join the show upon its return to help cushion racially insensitive comments he might say on the air. The same paper reported on July 27, 2007, that CBS was close to a buyout of Imus's contract. The report also said Imus's representatives had contacted Buckley Broadcasting, Citadel Broadcasting, and Clear Channel Communications. On August 14, Imus reached a settlement with CBS Radio over his contract, leaving him free to pursue other media opportunities.
On November 1, Citadel announced they had agreed to what was reportedly a multi-year syndication contract with Imus. The new Imus in the Morning program would be distributed nationally by Citadel Media, and would be based at Citadel-owned WABC in New York City, beginning in December. On November 14, The New York Times reported that Imus had agreed to terms with cable network RFD-TV to air a video simulcast of the new radio program. Charles McCord and Bernard McGuirk have joined Imus in the new version of the show. On December 3, Imus returned to the airwaves on ABC Radio and RFD-TV. When asked about Imus's return to radio, Al Sharpton said in an interview, "We'll monitor him; I'm not saying I'm going to throw a banquet for him and say welcome home. He has the right to make a living, but because he has such a consistent pattern with this we are going to monitor him to make sure he doesn't do it again." On April 4, 2008, Jesse Jackson appeared on "Imus in the Morning" to discuss the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King—a booking that would have seemed impossible nearly a year before, when Jackson joined 50 demonstrators in Chicago demanding that "Imus Must Go." Many media commentators declared Don Imus's rehabilitation complete.
In 2008, Little Richard appeared as a guest artist on The Imus Ranch Record to help raise funds to benefit sick and dying children, as well as to attempt to debunk the notion that Imus was racist. In September of that year, Imus signed a multi-year deal with Fox Business Network to simulcast his radio show Imus in the Morning. The program airs Monday through Friday from 6–9 AM ET and was first broadcast on October 5, 2009.
Reaction from presidential candidates
On January 11, 2007, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), an occasional guest on Imus in the Morning, announced his candidacy in the 2008 presidential election while speaking with Imus. Less than three months later, Dodd publicly chastised Imus during the Rutgers controversy. Dodd later returned and appeared on-air for Imus' first broadcast following his return on WABC, though nothing was mentioned of his prior criticism of Imus.
In addition to Dodd, the first week of Imus' return to broadcasting saw the return of presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain, Governor Mike Huckabee, and Governor Bill Richardson to his show. 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry also appeared. Imus supported Harold Ford Jr. during his 2006 Senate campaign.
Adam "Pacman" Jones controversy
On June 23, 2008, controversy again surrounded Imus when he made the following statements regarding the suspension of Cowboys' cornerback, Adam Jones.
Warner Wolf: Defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys, here's a guy suspended all of 2007, following a shooting in a Vegas nightclub.
Don Imus: Well, stuff happens. You're in a nightclub, for God's sake. What do you think is gonna happen in a nightclub. People are drinking, and doing drugs. There are women there and people have guns. So there, go ahead.
Warner Wolf: Also, he's been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.
Don Imus: What color is he?
Warner Wolf: He's black.
Don Imus: Well there you go, now we know.
In response, Jones said, "I'm truly upset about the comments. Obviously Mr. Imus has problems with blacks. I'm upset, and I hope the station he works for handles it accordingly. I will pray for him."
Phil Boyce, vice president of WABC and Citadel Broadcasting Corp., said it was unlikely that disciplinary action would be pursued against Imus, and none was.
Imus has a long-standing rivalry with Howard Stern, dating back to when they both worked at WNBC. According to Stern, Imus would not even speak to or address Stern when he first started working there and would behave indifferently toward Stern and his crew (among the rest of the staff). Imus was then said to be apologetic after Stern's ratings began to soar and tried to restructure his show into a similar format. On the December 8, 2015 episode of The Howard Stern Show, Stern stated he "doesn't hate Imus," saying that he had run into Imus on the street and the interaction was friendly.
For two weeks in the Fall of 2006, Imus delivered ongoing 'rants' against Texas Congressman Joe Barton, describing him as "a lying fat little skunk from Texas", a "pipsqueak" and a "coward and a crybaby". Imus also called Barton a "congressional dirtbag", because Barton used his position as a committee chair to prevent passage of the Combating Autism Act, which would authorize funds for autism research. In the weeks before Congress recessed on September 29, 2006, Barton used his chairmanship to prevent the legislative proposal from coming to a vote in the House, rousing the ire of Imus and his wife, staunch supporters of autism research. The bill already had been passed unanimously by the Senate, but Barton opposed the Senate bill's stipulation that centers of excellence investigate environmental factors.
Imus was sued by the wife of Boston Herald columnist and radio talk show host Howie Carr in 1998 after Imus made sexually explicit remarks about him and boxer Riddick Bowe. Imus reportedly made the remarks after being told that Carr had said that Imus "would die before his kid got out of high school"; Carr denies making those remarks. Carr, represented by Alan Dershowitz, received an out of court settlement from Imus.
Imus also attracted public attention due to two lawsuits. On November 29, 2004, a former nanny, Nichole Mallette, sued Imus for wrongful termination and defamation after a Thanksgiving 2003 incident in which she was allegedly fired and escorted off his property at 4:15 AM. Don and Deirdre Imus were allegedly upset over Mallette's possession of a cap-gun and pocket knife on ranch property.
On July 8, 2005, Dr. Howard Allen Pearson sued Imus for slander and civil assault. Pearson accused Imus of threatening him during a July 13, 2004 confrontation at the ranch, and Imus subsequently referred to him on air as "an arrogant fucking doctor who doesn't mind letting a child suffer".
1996 Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner speech
The dinner was attended by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. The initial line of Imus's speech was considered a direct reference to Hillary Clinton, who was at the time involved in a specific aspect of the Whitewater scandal concerning billing records that were discovered just a few weeks before on a table in the residence section of The White House.
(audience applause) Thank you very much.
Um ... this is kind of interesting, these don't appear to be my notes. [picking up papers from the lectern] You still have the folder I gave you? Where did this come from? [gesturing with the papers]
Well, nobody just leaves stuff like this just layin' around. [audience laughter, then slowly looks at Hillary, audience laughs]
Later on, Imus commented on the President saying "Go baby!" while doing radio play-by-play at an Orioles game, and added, "I remember commenting at the time, I bet that's not the first time he's said that."
Accusations of defamatory speech
As "shock jocks", Imus and his crew, mainly Bernard McGuirk, repeatedly made controversial remarks through skits and character impersonations in what they considered a comical format which critics[Like whom?] labeled as racist, misogynist, homophobic and anti-semitic xenophobia. He has also been accused of making offensive remarks off the air. Some examples include:
- In a 1984 interview, answering a question about Howard Stern, Don Imus said: "yes, Howard's a slut too, Lloyd ... Plus a Jew bastard, and should be castrated ... put in an oven." A clip of this interview was played by Howard Stern in the news section of his November 5, 2007, show.
- Imus referred to black sports columnist Bill Rhoden as a "The New York Times quota hire".
- In 1993, a voice actor on Imus in the Morning portraying Richard Nixon referred to PBS anchor Gwen Ifill (then with The New York Times) as a "cleaning lady."
- As reported by The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, in the course of a 1998 interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, Imus told a producer off-camera that McGuirk was hired to perform "nigger jokes."
- Robin Quivers claimed that when she worked with Imus at WNBC, he called her a "nigger" to her face. Both Howard Stern and Quivers have also claimed that he mumbled "Nigger!" at a black secretary named Brenda during their time at WNBC.
- Imus has also repeatedly referred to Arabs as "ragheads."
- After Contessa Brewer left the show, Imus went on a tirade, saying, "With that fat ass she's got, she wouldn't be one of 'em," [a news 'babe']. Imus said on the air, "That skank has to spend three hours with makeup in the morning." The tirade was allegedly tied to comments overheard from Brewer calling Imus "a cantankerous old fool" at a 2005 dinner in a restaurant when she was still a newsreader. During a show a producer also made fun of poet Maya Angelou.
- The show's routines sometimes contained derogatory epithets for homosexuals, including "faggot" and various terms describing homosexuality.
- Imus referred to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as "disgusting" and a "fat repulsive pig."
Don Imus was also a part owner of Autobody Express stores with his late brother, Fred (who was a frequent caller to the radio show, commenting on NASCAR races, the NFL and related pop culture matters). The Autobody Express stores were located in Santa Fe, and inside the Mohegan Sun Native American Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. In 2003, the company failed and both stores closed.
Imus still owns a small coffee and pastry store also located in the Mohegan Sun casino. The Autobody Express became Imus Ranch Foods, which offered its signature chips and salsa via online sales and in Northeastern stores, prior to the discontinuation of the Imus Ranch Foods line in 2014. The proceeds from Imus Ranch Foods had helped fund the work of the Imus Ranch.
Imus was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America in Time magazine (April 21, 1997).
He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.
He was placed on the cover of Time Magazine in 2007.
Imus has married twice. Around 1965, he married his first wife Harriet Showalter who had two daughters from a previous marriage, Nadine and Toni. The couple had two of their own, Ashley and Elizabeth. They divorced in 1979. Imus married Deirdre Coleman on December 17, 1994. Their son Frederick Wyatt was born in 1998.
Imus resides in Brenham, Texas, at a ranch he acquired in 2013. He moved there full-time in 2015, after ending his Fox Business television simulcast in New York and from there started broadcasting his show solely on radio with the cast members broadcasting from the WABC radio studios. His former waterfront mansion in Westport, Connecticut was sold that same year for $14.4 million.
In 1999, Imus and Deirdre founded the Imus Ranch, a working 4,000-acre (16 km2) cattle ranch near Ribera, New Mexico, 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Santa Fe, for children with cancer and siblings of SIDS victims. Until its closing in 2014, the Imus family volunteered their time at the Imus Ranch between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year. Imus continued his broadcasts from a studio there, while the rest of his cast broadcast from New York.
On his September 9, 2014, broadcast, he announced that the New Mexico ranch would be sold, due to his belief that the ranch had "run its course" as well as "health and other issues" (he specifically noted that his breathing had been damaged by a rib injury, making it difficult to breathe in New Mexico's high altitude). Proceeds from the property's sale would go to a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that will donate to children's cancer causes. In October 2014, the ranch was offered for sale with an asking price of $32 million. The ranch failed to sell after repeated efforts to do so, leading Imus to put the property up for auction in May 2017. When sold, Imus has earmarked all proceeds from the sale for the foundation.
During his early years broadcasting in New York City, Imus battled with alcoholism. In 1983, he was persuaded by Michael Lynne, then his lawyer, to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Imus attended meetings and ceased to drink in public, but continued to in private. On July 17, 1987, after a nine-day vodka binge, he attended rehabilitation at a Hanley-Hazelden treatment center in West Palm Beach, Florida for six weeks and has remained sober. By 1991, Imus had adopted a vegetarian diet.
In 2000, Imus suffered serious injuries after a fall from a horse at his ranch and broadcast several shows from a hospital. The injuries resulted in chronic breathing problems, especially at higher altitudes, he has complained on his program.
- Awkward, Michael. Burying Don Imus. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
- What the furor surrounding Don Imus shows us about unresolved race relations in the United States.
- Imus, Donald. God's Other Son. Simon & Schuster, 1994. (ISBN 0-684-80166-3). (Originally published in 1981 (ISBN 0-671-22537-5).)
- Imus, Donald, and Imus, Fred. Two Guys Four Corners: Great Photographs, Great Times, and a Million Laughs. Villard, 1997. (ISBN 0-679-45307-5).
- Imus, Deirdre. The Imus Ranch: Cooking for Kids and Cowboys. Rodale Press, 2004. (ISBN 0-87596-919-4).
- Reed, Jim. Everything Imus: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Don Imus. Birch Lane Press, 1999. (ISBN 1-55972-504-4).
- Tracy, Kathleen. Imus: America's Cowboy. Carroll & Graf, 1999. (ISBN 0-7867-0608-2).
- Katz, Sam, Ask Me How This Happens, a script, a scrapbook, a memoir (A Marcus Group printers, New York City, 2018) -- In 2018, Sam Katz, a former Entertainment Marketing Coordinator of WNBC AM Radio 66, published a massive coffee table book called Ask Me How This Happens, a script, a scrapbook, a memoir, chronicling the nervous breakdown she suffered in 2010 over the sexual harassment and abuse she endured at WNBC Radio in 1981 when she was turning 26 years old. Katz, previously an employee of Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting, wrote that she was sexually solicited by WNBC Radio’s Vice President and General Manager Bob Sherman for Imus as part of a plan concocted by Imus and Sherman for Katz to “take care of" the alcoholic and cocaine-addicted disc jockey in exchange for professional “partnership” and mentorship. Katz wrote that her dream was to become a disc jockey and perform radio comedy, and that she “idolized” and “adored” the troubled Imus, but his abusive, erratic behavior made it impossible to get close to him in any way. The more she “failed” at her given assignment, the more abusive Imus and Sherman became. Eventually the two men clandestinely ordered Katz’s Promotion Department boss, Michelle "Mikey" Kimmelman, to falsify her job record and fire her, an experience that caused Katz to develop "trauma avoidance" of radio, bury her broadcasting career and squelch her performing aspirations for decades. According to the author, she never told anyone what really happened, and, after bottling it up and burying it for 29 years, she “imploded” in 2010, 12 days after a Group W reunion. She wrote that by 2011, she was able, finally, to start confessing on social media and by 2018 had a created a massive, 480-page, nine-pound, expensive art book, which includes a graphic scrapbook of “fair use” press clips, NBC memos, and other personal archival materials which prove and document her claims. The book also illustrates that Imus spent much of his career lying to the press which rarely vetted anything he said. Her book also concludes that Imus spent so much time abusing other people and propping up his second wife’s follies and his donation-squandering ranch that he never fulfilled his own creative, earlier-stated ambitions to take over Johnny Carson's slot in late night television, write "lots of" books and make films in Hollywood with Charles McCord.
- 1200 Hamburgers to Go
- One Sacred Chicken to Go with Anthrax
- This Honky's Nuts
- Spiegelman, Arthur (April 12, 2007). ""Shock jock" Imus finally faces music". Reuters.
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- Reminiscinces upon the death of Johnny Otis, Imus in the Morning, 20 January 2012
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- Brenda Payton (April 12, 2007). "Imus' remarks demean women of all colors". Inside Bay Area (ANG Newspapers). Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Daniel Trotta (April 12, 2007). "Furor over Imus puts heat on other broadcasters". Reuters. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- CBS: CBS Fires Don Imus Over Racial Slur. February 11, 2009.
- "Don Imus Calls a Group of Women 'Nappy Headed'". Howard Stern.
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- McShane, Larry (April 7, 2007). "Despite apology, critics want Imus out". Yahoo! News. Retrieved April 7, 2007.[dead link]
- Hill, Jemele (April 6, 2007). "Imus should be fired". ESPN.com: Page 2. Retrieved April 7, 2007.[permanent dead link]
- Hill, Simona J. And Dave Ramsaran. Hip Hop and Inequality: Searching for the "Real" Slim Shady. Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-60497-651-9, p. 85.
- Don Imus quoted in Cultural Codes: Makings of a Black Music Philosophy: An Interpretive History from Spirituals to Hip Hop, William C. Banfield, Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8108-7286-8, p. 41.
- "Imus takes his lumps on Sharpton's show". Associated Press. April 9, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007.[dead link]
- "Transcript of Scarborough Country April 10, 2007". MSNBC. April 10, 2007.
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- "Al Sharpton, Don Imus & A Distracted Nation". The Washington Post. April 14, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008.
- "Rutgers team to meet with Imus; Stringer calls comments 'deplorable'". The Herald Standard, PA. April 11, 2007.
- David Heuschkel (April 11, 2007). "Imus' remark Despicable". The Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013.
- NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "Clarence Page of the ''Chicago Tribune'' on PBS' NewsHour April 9,007". Pbs.org. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "MSNBC pulls 'Imus in the Morning'". CNN. April 11, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2007.
- Cliff Kincaid (April 12, 2007). "Tim Russert Abandons Don Imus: Leads the Cowardly Suits at NBC". The National Ledger. Archived from the original on August 23, 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2007.
- "NBC News: 'Only decision we could reach'". MSNBC. April 11, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2007.
- on YouTube[dead link] (From YouTube)
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- "CBS fires Don Imus from radio show". Associated Press. April 13, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
- Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg (April 13, 2007). "Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus". The New York Times.
- David Bauder (April 12, 2007). "Racist remarks cost Imus CBS radio job". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 16, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
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- Mary Jane Credeur and Don Jeffrey (April 10, 2007). "Staples, P&G Halt Advertising Over Imus's Remarks (Update3)". Bloomberg News.
- Jon Hurdle (April 13, 2007). "N.J. Gov. Corzine in car accident, leg broken". Reuters. Retrieved April 13, 2007.[dead link]
- Adam Nichols and Corky Siemaszko (April 13, 2007). "Host meets with players he insulted, but it's not enough to save program". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
- "John Kerry Says Don Imus Shouldn't Have Been Fired". NY1 (tv channel). April 18, 2007.
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- "Imus Plots January Comeback" Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, The Drudge Report, July 8, 2007
- Not Done Yet Archived 2009-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, New York Post, July 16, 2007
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- Interview with Al Sharpton, David Shankbone, Wikinews, December 3, 2007.
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- "Don Imus Snuck a Major Announcement About His Future Into His Monday Radio Show". 28 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2018-08-16. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
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- Watkins, Calvin. Dallas Cowboys' Adam Jones upset with Imus' comments. Dallas Morning News. 2008-06-24.
- Gross, Samantha. Imus faces new questions over on-air race remarks. The Washington Times. 2008-06-24.
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- Some have been compiled at Philip Nobile's "Imus Watch". See: "Imus Watch I". TomPaine.com. May 16, 2000. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007. Samples include:
- Imus: We're poised to support this bogus tennis [team] thing of yours.
- McEnroe: That's hurtful. That's hurtful.
- Imus: The new Hampton Homos or whatever. [laughter]
- Imus: How about best actress?
- O'Brien: I think that's going to be Annette Bening, although Hilary Swank, it's a very tight race. I know you like Jane[t] McTeer, but I like Annette Bening or Hilary Swank.
- Imus: Hilary Swank's the lesbo in Boys Don't Cry?
- O'Brien: She's getting married to Chad Lowe.
- Imus: Beard deal. [laughter]
- O'Brien: What a nightmare.
- Imus: It sounds like another one of these deals of his [i.e. Dietl's]. We'll hear about two weeks from now the guy suddenly is a fagatation situation ...
- Bo Dietl: You don't do that with Russert. You listen to these fagaloons talking to you, 'O Donnie, Donnie, Donnie.
- Lavender, Paige (November 22, 2011). "Don Imus: Newt Gingrich Is 'Disgusting' And 'A Fat Repulsive Pig'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2012. Retrieved on February 9, 2012.
- "1990 Marconi Radio Award Winners". Nab.org. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "1992 Marconi Radio Award Winners". Nab.org. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "1997 Marconi Radio Award Winners". Nab.org. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "1994 Marconi Radio Award Winners". Nab.org. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- "The 25 greatest radio talk show hosts of all time". Talkers Magazine. September 2002. Retrieved September 27, 2006.
- "Getting to the 'meat' of the matter: Is eating meat good for you?". Fox News. May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- Gosselm, Kenneth R. (April 12, 2013). "Don Imus's Westport Home Sells For $14.4 Million". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- "Don Imus has prostate cancer". Associated Press. March 16, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- Gerew, Gary (October 21, 2014). "Imus Ranch for sale with $32 M price tag". Albuquerque Business First. Retrieved 2014-11-03.
- "Don Imus' ranch in New Mexico headed for the auction block". 2 May 2017.
- Associated Press (April 14, 2007). "Don Imus still sober after 21 years". ABC News.
- Siemaszko, Corky (March 16, 2009). "Imus cancer diagnosis". Daily News. New York.
- Huff, Richard; Siemaszko, Corky (March 16, 2009). "Radio host Don Imus announces on morning show he has stage 2 prostate cancer". Daily News. New York.
- Shea, Danny (March 16, 2009). "huffingtonpost.com". Huffington Post.
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