Studs Terkel, whose powerful oral histories endeared him to American readers and whose playful personality made him beloved in his adopted hometown of Chicago, died today at 96 after suffering from a variety of ailments, NBC5 reports. Born Louis Terkel, he hosted a daily interview and variety show on Chicago’s WFMT-FM for 45 years; his chronicles of Americana included Working and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good War.
“When Studs Terkel listens, everybody talks,” CBS newsman Charles Kuralt said of the man who took his nickname from the fictional Studs Lonigan, the LA Times notes. “He recognized the need to pay attention to the poor, the vulnerable, the ordinary people,” Harvard professor Robert Coles said. “I pray for the day when American universities will understand that Studs Terkel is worth many departments of sociology. He's an institution in himself.”