A pioneering radio shock jock who consistently courted controversy, Imus was, unsurprisingly, a wild child. A high-school dropout who did a stint in the Marines, he returned to civilian life and worked a variety of odd blue-collar jobs until the mid-'60s. After hearing a local California DJ on the radio, Imus went down to the station and insisted he could do a better job. He was soon putting his mouth to work as an outrageous on-air personality. Throughout the decade, he bumped around from station to station, but in 1971 he landed in New York at WNBC. Despite struggling with alcoholism and an out-of-control attitude, the '70s was his decade: He released a series of popular albums, honed his offensive shtick and won myriad fans. Although WNBC fired him in 1977, they rehired him two years later, and from 1982 to '85, he and up-and-comer Howard Stern were paired as the bad boys of the airwaves. The two did not get along, however, and Stern — whose career skyrocketed well beyond Imus' — spent the rest of his career making merciless fun of him. Despite his bombastic persona, in real life he runs the Imus Ranch, a nonprofit ranch for children with cancer.Don Imus Fast Facts:
- Started out as a disc jockey in 1968 in Sacramento, CA.
- Worked at WNBC in New York at the same time as fellow shock jock Howard Stern (Imus is portrayed in Stern's 1997 film Private Parts by actor Luke Reilly).
- Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.
- Runs the Imus Ranch in New Mexico, a nonprofit cattle ranch for children with cancer.
- Don Imus Relationships:
- John Donald Imus - Father
- Fred Imus - Brother
- Deirdre Imus - Wife
- Frederick Wyatt Imus - Son