Music legend and longtime philanthropist Kal Rudman dead at 91

Rudman was a pillar of charity in and around Philadelphia for decades, not to mention being a music and show business legend.

ByChristie Ileto and Heather Grubola via WPVI logo
Friday, December 3, 2021
Music legend and longtime philanthropist Kal Rudman dead at 91
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Kal Rudman was a pillar of charity in and around Philadelphia for decades, not to mention being a music and show business legend.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A local man who has been called an "angel" to many; has given countless scholarships and awards for students of the arts; supported police and firefighter training; and helped children in need died Wednesday.

Kal Rudman was 91.

He was a pillar of charity in and around Philadelphia for decades, not to mention being a music and show business legend. He's also been a longtime friend of Action News.

Then Thursday morning we received the sad news that Kal's wife and fellow philanthropist Lucille also passed away.

Kal Rudman began his music and radio career as a Top 40 radio jock in 1959.

"I've been on the air in Philadelphia from the time I was 15 years of age," Rudman said in a 2017 interview.

In 1968, he founded and published the trade magazine "The Friday Morning Quarterback," which became the pop music Bible locally and nationally.

Rudman had an unparalleled track record for picking hits and forecasting trends.

Although he's a legend in music and show business, Rudman started as a teacher. So when he and his wife started The Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation, education was a key focus.

Philanthropy became a top priority for them and the couple donated millions of dollars to local colleges, universities and police departments, including the Philadelphia Police Department.

Asked why charity meant so much to them, Rudman said simply, "Because I can, and because that's what I wanted to do with my money, and that's the way I was born and raised by my parents."

Rudman is the son of a North Philadelphia grocer who funded his college education by earning scholarships and fellowships.

"We both had a lot of help along the way from other people, and we felt that we would like to give others the opportunity that we had," said Lucille Rudman.

And by giving back, they hoped to inspire others to do the same.

"One of the best things that we get out of it is the thank you from young people who have been through the program and they are motivating for us to want to keep doing this," she said.

In 1998, Rudman was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia "Hall of Fame" and was honored as their "Person of the Year" in November 2007.

The Rudmans had been married for 63 years.

Kal Rudman also has a plaque on the Walk of Fame on Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts and has been the recipient of the Radio Milestone Award to Philadelphia Radio Legends presented by the area March of Dimes.