Jerry Marshall, D.J. on New York Radio
New York Times-October, 2010
James J. Kriegsmann
Jerry Marshall, who lent a velvet voice to the AM airwaves of the New York metropolitan area in the heydays of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Judy Garland, died on Wednesday at a hospice near his home in Delray Beach, Fla. He was 91.His daughter, Carolyn, confirmed his death.
During more than 30 years on the air, Mr. Marshall hosted hit shows like “Music Hall” and “The Make-Believe Ballroom” on WNEW and “Record Room” on WMGM, as well as shows on WINS, WNBC and WCBS. His “Jerry Marshall Show” was eventually syndicated in cities along the East Coast.
In 1948, while hosting “Music Hall,” Mr. Marshall gave a major boost to the career of Nat King Cole when he was the first D.J. to play Cole’s version of “Nature Boy,” with its eerie minor melody about a “strange enchanted boy” whose wandering led him to conclude that “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn/Is just to love and be loved in return.” The song was an overnight sensation.
Jerome Saul Jaffe (he chose Marshall as his last name after becoming a radio host) was born in Far Rockaway, N.Y., on April 15, 1919. Besides his daughter, Carolyn, he is survived by his wife of 65 years, the former Geraldine Schwartz; a son, Michael; a sister, Ruth Berg; and two grandsons.
Mr. Marshall graduated from Cornellin 1942 with a degree in political science. While at Cornell, he worked on the school radio station and at stations in Ithaca, N.Y., and Kingston, N.Y. A law school accepted him, but he could not afford the tuition. Instead, he went to Newark and was hired as an announcer at WAAT.
“I just had to be a mouthpiece one way or another,” he said in 1954.
A version of this article appeared in print on October 15, 2010, on page A23 of the New York edition.