PHILADELPHIA (CelebrityAccess) — Jerry Blavat, the pioneering Philadelphia DJ, known “The Geator with the Heater,” has died. He was 82.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavat passed away at Jefferson-Methodist Hospital from myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease, but suffered from other health problems.
A native of South Philadelphia, Blavat first began to make a name for himself in the market when he appeared on WFIL-TV’s “Bandstand” with Bob Horn and Lee Stewart.
He went on to manage tours for artists such as Danny & The Juniors and hosted local dances in the Philadelphia area before landing a gig on the radio at WCAU in Camden, New Jersey.
The show was soon syndicated regionally and Blavat, who refused to follow playlists, helped to break black artists such as Little Richard and Fats Domino with white audiences.
Blavat was also a partner in record labels such as Lost Nite, Crimson and the Record Museum, a chain of record retailers in the Philadelphia region.
From 1965 to 1967, Blavat hosted The Discophonic Scene, a weekly television dance show that followed the trail blazed by American Bandstand. He also was the owner of Memories, a nightclub in Margate, New Jersey.
In 1981, Blavat was linked to organized crime in Philadelphia when he was present when Chelsais “Steve” Bouras, a reputed Philadelphia mob boss was gunned down in a South Philadelphia restaurant in 1981. According to the New York Times, Blavat was later linked to the Scarfo crime family during testimony by former mob member Thomas A. DelGiorno, who alleged that Blavat paid $500 a week in ‘street tax’ to operate his clubs and sometimes served as a driver to the notorious underworld boss Angelo Bruno.
Blavat was also alleged to have purchased a $40,000 yacht for notorious Atlantic City crime boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo and was one of several people alleged to have purchased a Florida condominium for Scarfo.
During testimony in front of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation in 1992, Blavat invoked his fifth amendment rights after previously answering questions during a closed-door session, the Times reported.
Blavat remained active up until his death and was a regular fixture on his Geator Gold Radio network, as well as WXPN-FM (88.5), where he hosted a weekly rhythm and blues show on Saturday nights.
In a statement provided to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavat’s family said: “Jerry proudly said, ‘Life is precious, and I am happy. And when I am happy, I want the world to be happy.’ … His love for Philadelphia only superseded his love of music. He was proud of this great city, and nothing made him prouder than the impact the music from Philadelphia made on the world.”