John Francis "Jack" Cullen, 80, a madcap disc jockey who...

Deaths Elsewhere

May 03, 2002

John Francis "Jack" Cullen, 80, a madcap disc jockey who befriended Bob Hope and was blacklisted by Frank Sinatra for a bootleg recording, died Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Mr. Cullen was best known during five decades at CKNW as host of the late show Owl Prowl.

A nostalgia act in his last years, Cullen was taken off the air in a station shake-up in 1999.

A Vancouver native, Mr. Cullen served as a naval wireless operator in World War II and was hired at CKNW in 1949.

He interviewed virtually every entertainer who came to town, becoming friends with Hope, Sammy Davis Jr. and Henry Mancini.

He surreptitiously taped performances by Harry Belafonte, the Beatles and Sinatra to play on his show - in 1957 by hiding under the stage with a tape recorder hooked up to Mr. Sinatra's microphone, disc jockey Red Robinson said.

"For that, he was chastised and blackballed by the American Federation of Musicians," Mr. Robinson said. "That's why Frank would never do an interview with him."

However, Louis Armstrong was so charmed by Mr. Cullen that the jazz trumpeter authorized the official release of a bootleg recording Mr. Cullen made of him in 1951.

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