Friday, September 10, 2021

R.I.P.: Big Daddy Graham, Former WIP Philly Personality, Comedian

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

The cause of death was heart failure, reports The Phily Inquirer.

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 — including eating snacks on air and describing the experience in depth.

“In the middle of the night doing insanely entertaining stuff, he developed a tremendous following of people that became absolutely addicted to him,” said fellow WIP host Angelo Cataldi, whose morning show often overlapped with Graham’s. “He just loved to get a reaction and make people laugh, and he was so good at it.”

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.

Graham made a name for himself performing in smoke-filled comedy clubs across the Philadelphia region. He borrowed his stage name from Graham Chapman of Monty Python, and kept the nickname “Big Daddy,” which was given to him on the neighborhood playground as a teenager.

In Philadelphia media circles, Mr. Graham was considered something of a renaissance man. Over the course of his career, he was an author, recording artist, playwright, actor, and radio host. His rock parodies made their way onto 93.3 WMMR’s popular Morning Zoo show, and even after landing at WIP he continued to perform as a comedian, starring as one of “Two Funny Philly Guys” alongside Conklin.

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