Yuri Rasovsky, Renowned Audio Dramatist, Dies at 67

He worked on scores of radio programs and audio books and co-founded the National Radio Theater in Chicago.

Yuri Rasovsky, a leading writer, producer and dramatist for radio and audio books who earned two Peabody Awards and a Grammy, died Wednesday of esophageal cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 67.

Rasovsky in 1972 co-founded the National Radio Theater in his native Chicago, where he created hundreds of radio productions heard on commercial and public outlets around the world. In 1993, he established the Hollywood Theater of the Ear to focus on audio books.

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Rasovsky crafted audio productions of such classics as The Maltese Falcon (with Michael Madsen and Sandra Oh), Saint Joan (with Amy Irving), A Tale of Two Cities, AristophanesThe Frogs, Uncle Vanya, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Sea Wolf and several Sherlock Holmes pieces.

He recently wrote, produced and directed an audio dramatization of The Mask of Zorro with Val Kilmer as the swashbuckling hero. In November, it received a Grammy nomination for spoken-word album of the year.

Rasovsky kept working despite his illness; just a few weeks ago, he wrapped the recording of his final adaptation, Die, Snow White! Die, Damn You!

On Friday, the Audio Book Publishers Association praised Rasovsky, a winner of nine APA Audie Awards, for his “humor, irreverence and unique lexicon.” Craig Black, the founder and CEO of Blackstone Audio, which distributes many of Rasovsky’s works, called him “the greatest audio dramatist of our modern age.”

Survivors include actress Lorna Raver, his longtime partner in work and in life.