Big Daddy Graham has died. He had been facing several health problems for the past few years. He beat cancer, but a blood clot in his spine landed him in a wheelchair, and he never fully recovered. He was 68 years old.
Born Edward Gudonis, Big Daddy grew up in Southwest Philadelphia, went to West Catholic, and talked about it a lot in his stand up comedy act, and on his overnight sports show on Philadelphia's WIP, a show he hosted for years. Big Daddy wasn't just a sports guy, though. He was a funny comedian, and he could talk about music and movies for days. He was so knowledgeable about the arts! I used to listen to him driving in to work to the morning show gig I had back then. He incorporated his well rounded self into his show, and could talk about anything. We worked for the same company in the same building and I would see him leaving on the elevator as I was arriving to work, and we always had a lively chat. I remember when he his daughters were small, I used to bring them stuff from the radio station I was working at back then, at their doting father's request.
Here's a picture from a show we hosted together at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA a few years ago. (The guy in the middle was the Keswick announcer). It was a fun night, as usual when Big Daddy was around.
He was a real Renaissance man, and I think he would like me saying that. He will surely be missed by many. He is survived by his wife and 2 daughters. RIP Big Daddy Graham.
Photo: Valerie Knight