*Image: Mediacorp Class 95
The New Paper
Jun 11, 2015
Pain and loss were radio DJ Mike Kasem's constant companions last year.
They kept him company when the 41-year-old broke up with his girlfriend of one-and-a-half years, Miss Mindy Chia.
They were by his side when his father, legendary US radio personality Casey Kasem, died.
The man behind hit radio series American Top 40, died at the age of 82 on June 15 after suffering from Lewy body disease, the most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease.
Before their father's death, Kasem and his two sisters – Casey's three children from his first marriage – were embroiled in a protracted legal battle with their stepmother Jean over his care.
She had allegedly denied them access to their father, who lived with her in a mansion near Hollywood.
But things are looking up for Kasem. He will make his feature film debut in local historical movie 1965, which opens in July 30.
Kasem plays a Pakistani journalist who reports on news events here in the 60s. He is also dating again and is still searching for that elusive soulmate.
Among other traits, he wants "someone who would laugh heartily when we watch (the 2011 hit comedy) Bridesmaids".
He admitted that the tumultuous period of his father's death and the legal battle with his stepmother made him less attentive to Miss Chia, 34. She declined to comment when contacted by The New Paper.
"We broke up a few weeks after his death," he said, adding that he has learnt a lot from this experience.
"If you are not 100 per cent sure about someone right away, it's not going to work in the long run. Mindy and I did not click right away and it showed about a year later.
"We didn't laugh at the same movies. We just had a different sense of humour."
The couple met through The New Paper's Date-a-Celeb series in 2013, where we invited single women to write in and win a Valentine's Day date with him.
He said: "I did love her, but we had to work really hard to make it work."
As his father's first year death anniversary approaches, Kasem said:
"I've been trying to grieve as I should, but I'm dealing with (my) stepmother and I've just been wrapped up in turmoil."
Late last year, he and his sisters filed criminal charges against Jean, 61, accusing her of elder abuse. But the Los Angeles County prosecutors announced last month that they would not file criminal charges against Jean.
There is also insufficient evidence that Jean was abusing her husband, said the district attorney.
Kasem said all these events have prevented him from actually feeling the loss of his father.
FEELING OF LOSS
"It has been a year, but it is only just starting to hit me that he's gone. Now that I'm finally starting to feel his loss, I just want to pick up the phone and call him - just for that one last time.
"I would give up everything just to have one hour with a 50-year-old Casey Kasem.
"I feel like when he was healthy, I took it for granted. I wasn't this successful then so I felt that there wasn't much I could talk to him about."
Kasem now hosts The Mike & Joe Xperiment morning show with Joe Augustin on Gold 90.5 and local prank show Sabo on Toggle. On his career upswing, Kasem said with a sigh:
"My dad and I could have compared stories and exchanged tips."
The last time father and son had a long conversation was almost nine years ago, when Kasem was still figuring out the ropes of the entertainment business in Los Angeles.
"Last year was a whirlwind, but this year is proving to be a great one. It's a dream come true."
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