Cannon was part of a 1950s singing group called "The Dreamers" before he landed a handful of gigs at radio stations in New York, according to a website for WDRC, a Connecticut radio station that Cannon called home just before he landed at WIBG in Philadelphia in 1969.
Former colleagues said Cannon's irreverent, conversational approach was instantly recognizable and proved to be a template that's been widely copied by many of today's morning-radio hosts.
He earned a vocal cameo in the first "Rocky" movie, riffing over the radio in the background while actor Sylvester Stallone guzzled a morning cocktail of raw eggs.
"Don always used to joke, 'That was my big cameo, and everyone was so grossed out by that scene, they couldn't hear me!' " said Cindy Webster, marketing director for CBS Radio Philadelphia.
The "Cannon in the Morning" show migrated from WIBG to four other Philly stations before landing at 98.1 WOGL-FM in 1990.
Webster said she worked with Cannon from 1992 until he retired from WOGL in 2004.
"Don was larger than life," she said. "When you walked into the studio, he was always dressed like a million bucks. He looked like a movie star."
Cannon was known as the "Dean of Philadelphia Morning Radio," according to the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
He was, of course, a member of the Broadcast Pioneers. The organization's website said Cannon worked with hundreds of charities in the region, and was awarded the the March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
"Don was the kind of guy who, when he walked into a room, just took it over," WOGL music director Tommy McCarthy said.
The two men were friends for 34 years.
"A lot of people, their persona on the radio is sometimes nothing what they're like in person," McCarthy said. "But Don was the same person you heard on the air that you met in public. He always had a smile on his face, and always had his hand out to shake your hand."
Cannon is survived by his wife, Terri, two sons and two granddaughters. Funeral services are public and will be held tomorrow at Joseph Levine & Sons in Trevose.
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