The former DJ who radio show served as the inspiration for Robin Williams' role in Good Morning, Vietnam has died. He was 79

By Alexia Fernández
July 19, 2018 08:11 PM
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The former DJ whose radio show served as the inspiration for Robin WilliamsGood Morning, Vietnam has died. He was 79.

Adrian Cronauer passed away on Wednesday morning in Troutville, Virginia, according to his obituary in The Roanoke Times.

He co-authored the original story for the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam, which starred Williams as a disc jockey during the Vietnam war who was loosely based on Cronauer.

The former U.S. Air Force sergeant died at his nursing home from an “age-related illness,” his daughter-in-law Mary Muse told CNN.

His family released a statement to the outlet remembering Cronauer as “warm and approachable.”

“He loved the service men and service women all over the world, and always made time to personally engage with them,” the statement said. “Although he was an only child, his military brothers and sisters became part of his family.”

According to his obituary, he worked as a DJ and host of the Dawn Buster radio show in Saigon from 1965 to 1966.

Cronauer developed his sign-off on the island of Crete where he instead yelled, “Good morning, Iraklion,” according to the New York Times.

“Do I want to do that?” He said about using such a loud opening line. “I said, ‘Yeah, I do because if there’s a certain amount of irony there, and if they pick up on that, they’ll know what I’m really saying.’”

While the film deviated from the true story of Cronauer’s time in Vietnam, Williams told Rolling Stone in a 1988 interview that certain key elements of his character came from Cronauer.

“He did play rock’n’roll, he did do characters to introduce standard Army announcements, and ‘Goooood morning, Vietnam’ really was his signature line,” Williams said at the time. “He says he learned whenever soldiers in the field heard his sign-on line, they’d shout back at there radios.”

Long after his military service, Cronauer continued to be involved in army causes close to his heart. He sat on the Board of Directors for the National D-Day Memorial and was a member of the Virginia Public Broadcasting Board, according to his obituary.

Cronauer also served two terms as a trustee of the Virginia War Memorial.

His funeral will be held on July 22.