January 26, 2023
The memorial and funeral for Jerry Blavat, the popular Philadelphia DJ who died earlier this month, take place Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, at 1723 Race St. The services are open to the public; they also can be streamed live online.
There will be a viewing beginning at 9 a.m. at the church followed by a funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. The livestream broadcast begins at 11 a.m.
Blavat, known also by his nicknames "The Geator with the Heater" and "The Boss with the Hot Sauce," died Friday, Jan 20, at age 82. He had succumbed to myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disease.
In a Facebook post, family members said it was Blavat's wish that his memorial service be open to all comers.
"His love for Philadelphia only superseded his love of music," he family wrote. "He was proud of this great city, and nothing made him prouder than the impact the music from Philadelphia made on the world."
For anyone not attending in person, Blavat's funeral can be watched using the video embedded below or by via this link, once the proceedings have started.
Blavat born July 3, 1940, and he grew up on South Bancroft Street in South Philly. His career spanned seven decades, with plans to continue working at the time of his death. He had an oldies show scheduled at the Kimmel Center in Center City on Jan. 28 that he had postponed earlier this month due to his health issues. But as recently as last summer, Blavat was performing DJ sets at the bar he owned for 50 years at the Jersey Shore, Memories in Margate.
His father was Jewish and a bookie and his mother was an Italian Catholic and worked as a riveter in the Philadelphia Navy Yard during World War II. He credited his mother for his dancing ability and love of music.
Blavat's first big break as a performer occurred at 13, when he became a dancer on "American Bandstand." Since he was too young to dance on the show, Blavat said he had sneaked into the studio through a side door the first time he appeared. Bandstand's producers were impressed with his dancing and let him stay.
He converted the attention he got on "American Bandstand" into jobs as band manager, promoter, and even had acted in television shows and movies. But he was best known as a disc jockey with a knack for knowing the next hit song or hot act.
In 1993, Blavat was inducted into Philadelphia Music Alliance's Hall of Fame, and in 1998, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. He also has a plaque on Broad Street's Avenue of the Arts.