Longtime WIP host Big Daddy Graham has died

by 24USATVSept. 9, 2021, 5 p.m. 18
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Edward Gudonis, known to WIP listeners as Big Daddy Graham, and his wife Debbie celebrate the Phillies 2008 World Series championship at Citizens Bank Park. Graham died on Wednesday night. Read more

Edward Gudonis, the fun-loving Philadelphia radio icon and longtime 94.1 WIP sports talker, better known to listeners as Big Daddy Graham, has died. He was 68.

Graham joined WIP in 1997 and spent two decades as the station’s overnight host, where he became known for quirky segments and eccentric callers, veering into just about every subject imaginable. He was also known for performing wild stunts to open Wing Bowl, alongside morning show host Angelo Cataldi.

“WIP lost one of its best people, and this city lost one of its cherished, most talented entertainers,” Cataldi said to open his show Thursday morning. ‘We all here at WIP are devastated by the news … we lost one of the greats.”

The news of Graham’s death led to an outpouring of support from longtime listeners and radio personalities across the city.

“Big Daddy Graham was a truly great guy who will forever be an enormous part of our lives and WIP,” former program director Spike Eskin wrote on Twitter.

Prior to joining WIP, Graham cohosted The Sports Attack alongside Scott Graham and Neil Hartman on 1210 AM, which at the time broadcast a largely syndicated all-sports format as WGMP The Game.

Graham was something of a renaissance man. Over the course of his career, he was a well-known comedian, recording artist, and author, most recently cowriter of a revised edition of The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists with fellow WIP host Glen Macnow.

“A gem of a man. A diamond in the rough,” Macnow wrote on Facebook. “A funny, hardworking and quirky sweetheart of a guy with no filter. My pal, my coauthor. We will all miss him.”

Graham was born and raised in Southwest Philadelphia and graduated from West Catholic High School. He eventually settled in Mullica Hill, N.J. where he and his wife, Debbie, raised two daughters — Keely and Ava. Ava has continued in the family business as part of WIP’s morning show alongside Cataldi.

Since 2019, Graham had been paralyzed from the waist down following a spinal cord injury, and never fully recovered. But that didn’t keep the notorious hustler away from the microphone. He continued to host his own podcast, Big Daddy Graham’s Countdown, which went through the 100 greatest albums of all time.

“It’s something I just have to do. I miss it too much not to,” Graham told the Inquirer back in 2019. “Plus, believe me. I got a lot to say.”

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