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PASSINGS: Harold 'Hal' Jackson, Janet Carroll

Harold 'Hal' Jackson, first African American voice on network radio, dies at 96; Janet Carroll, actress who played Tom Cruise character's mother in 'Risky Business,' dies at 71

May 26, 2012

Harold 'Hal' Jackson

Pioneering African American on network radio

Harold "Hal" Jackson, 96, the first African American voice on network radio, died Wednesday at a New York City hospital, said Deon Levingston, an executive at WBLS, a station owned by Inner City Broadcasting Corp., which Jackson co-founded. The cause was not given.

Jackson began his career in Washington, D.C,. as the first African American play-by-play sports announcer. After he moved to New York in the 1950s, he hosted three different radio shows, broadcasting a mix of music and conversation that included jazz and celebrities.

Jackson later co-founded Inner City, one of the first broadcasting companies wholly owned by African Americans. The company acquired WBLS, which pioneered the urban contemporary radio format. Jackson continued to host a program on WBLS until a few weeks before his death.

In 1995, Jackson became one of the first African Americans to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Paul Heine, senior editor at the trade publication Inside Radio, called Jackson "the godfather of black radio."

"His longevity and his breaking down the doors, breaking the color barrier, he really made it possible for African Americans who followed him to work in the medium," Heine said.

Jackson was born in Charleston, S.C., on Nov. 3, 1915, according to family records. After his father, a tailor, and his mother died when he was a child, he was raised by relatives in South Carolina, New York and Washington.

Janet Carroll

Actress played 'Risky Business' mother

Janet Carroll, 71, an actress who played the mother of Tom Cruise's character in the movie "Risky Business," died Tuesday in New York after a long illness, her family announced.

A Chicago native, Carroll had worked steadily since that breakthrough role in 1983. On television, she had recurring roles on such shows as "Murphy Brown," "Melrose Place" and "Married With Children."

—Times staff and wire reports

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