PHILADELPHIA — Jerry Blavat, the legendary disc jockey known as “The Geator with the Heater” and “The Boss with the Hot Sauce” has passed away, Action News has learned. He turned 82.
He died Friday at 3:45 a.m. in hospice at Jefferson-Methodist Hospital from complications of myasthenia gravis and related health problems.
He is survived by four daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and longtime partner Keely Stahl.
Blavat recently suffered from medical issues related to a shoulder injury and had to cancel an upcoming show at the Kimmel Cultural Campus due to his health, according to his website.
Born in South Philadelphia to a Jewish father and an Italian mother, music has flowed through his veins since childhood. “The Geator” was widely known as one of the early rock and roll DJs who revolutionized the profession and developed the “oldies” format.
Blavat has appeared in several TV shows and movies, including “The Monkees,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Baby, It’s You,” and “Cookie.”
In 1953 he debuted on the original bandstand at the age of 13. Producers of the Channel 6 show in Philly discovered that their popular dancer was under the age limit, but allowed him to stay to help pick records.
Years later, he hosted ‘The Discophonic Scene’, a dance show featuring some of the biggest stars of the time.
Blavat’s enthusiasm, talent and natural talent for knowing what would appeal to teens led first to a syndicated radio show and then to a TV show in the 1960s.
For decades he entertained crowds with shows in the Philadelphia area and spent his summers on the coast, where he owned the popular “Memories in Margate” dance club.
It was a career that led to many friendships with great entertainers like Sammy Davis Jr., Don Rickles and even Frank Sinatra.
“Everybody’s been there. My mom cooked for (Frank) Sinatra there. She also cooked for Sammy Davis, Jr. there. Chuck Berry appeared there,” Blavat said of “Memories” during a 2022 interview with the New Jersey Stage.
With his famously adopted nicknames “The Geator with the Heater” and “The Boss with the Hot Sauce,” he staged countless dances and helped break many acts, including the Four Seasons and the Isley Brothers, as well as giving Philadelphia- artists like Bobby Rydell a boost.
He performed regularly in Philadelphia’s Italian American Parade and was a guest on 6abc’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for many years.
In 1993, Blavat was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Hall of Fame. You can find his name on the Walk of Fame along the Avenue of the Arts in Center City.
Since 1998, he appears in permanent exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; he was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame in 2002.
When asked about his career as a disc jockey and his rise to fame, Blavat told the New Jersey Stage, “So my life revolves around great people. And if it ends tomorrow, I won’t regret it because I have people happy made, and by making people happy, it has fulfilled my life.”
Blavat never wanted to stop sharing his love for music and Philadelphia.
No matter what, that beat will always pulse through the veins of this city with the vibrancy and zest that only the “Boss with the Hot Sauce” can give off.
This story was updated to show that Jerry Blavat is part of permanent display in the Rock and Roll Hall Fame, but was not an inductee.
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