PHILADELPHIA -- Jerry Blavat, the legendary disc jockey known as "The Geator with the Heater" and "The Boss with the Hot Sauce" has died, Action News has learned. He was 82.
He passed away at 3:45 a.m. Friday at hospice at Jefferson-Methodist Hospital from the effects of myasthenia gravis, which is a condition that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles, and related health issues.
He leaves behind four daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and his longtime partner Keely Stahl.
His funeral will be held on Saturday, January 28 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 1723 Race Street in Philadelphia.
A viewing will begin at 9 a.m., with mass scheduled at 11:30 a.m.
The family tells 6abc that singer Dionne Warwick will deliver the eulogy.
"Jerry wished for a big celebration of life. A big one is planned, and all are welcome," his family said in a statement.
"The Boss with the Hot Sauce is with the Big Boss Now," the statement concluded.
Blavat was recently suffering 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 Italian mother, music ran through his veins from 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 appeared on several television shows and films 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 their popular dancer was below the age limit, but let him stay to help pick records.
Years later, he went on to host "The Discophonic Scene," a dance show that featured some of the biggest stars of the era.
Blavat's enthusiasm, talent and natural knack for knowing what would hit with teens led first to a syndicated radio show, then a TV show in the 1960s.
For decades, he entertained crowds with shows across the Philadelphia region and spent his summers down at the shore where he owned the popular dance club "Memories in Margate."
It was a career that led to many friendships with big 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 hosted countless dances and helped break many acts, including the Four Seasons and the Isley Brothers, also boosting Philadelphia artists like Bobby Rydell.
He appeared regularly in the Italian American Parade in Philadelphia and was a guest for many years in 6abc's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
In 1993, Blavat was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance's 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 a 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 rise to fame, Blavat told the New Jersey Stage, "So my life has been about wonderful people. And if it ends tomorrow, I'll have no regrets because I made people happy, and by making people happy, it fulfilled my life."
Blavat never wanted to stop sharing his love for music and Philadelphia.
No matter what, that beat will always pulse throughout this city's veins with the vibrancy and zest only the "Boss with the Hot Sauce" could spread.
This story has been updated to show that Jerry Blavat is part of a permanent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall Fame, but was not an inductee.