Laverne Holliday is truly one of the saddest stories we’ve ever written in Radio Facts and a lesson to radio DJs to never leave their fate in the hands of others. Time is of the essence. RIP LaVerne.
When she didn’t have any peanuts she would pretend to be a guest and eat at the local hotel buffets until she was busted by employees and thrown out when trying to stuff food in her purse.
Laverne Holliday, 60, died penniless and sick from an aggressive form of breast cancer on June 3, 2015. She lost her job as a popular host of a jazz show on WSIE at Southern Illinois University in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she had to take care of her mom who died in 2005.
Holiday lost her health insurance and was then diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She fought cancer while trying to get back on the air. She was very eager to get back on the air friends stated but she could not. “Nobody was hiring her,” recalled a friend, Robin Boyce. Radio is a hard business, she said, “especially for African-Americans.”
Holiday hit her radio peak in the late 90s and early 2000s. She was raised in the old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in north St. Louis. She, her sister, and three brothers lived with their mother, who was a housekeeper and evangelist.
The family moved to Pagedale, and LaVerne graduated from Normandy High School before studying speech and acting at Tennessee State University.
She went on to earn a psychology degree at Washington University before studying for several semesters at St. Louis University School of Law. Her love for radio outweighed her options with a degree in Psychology. No information on services provided.
This story sadly reminds us of another urban Radio DJ who was murdered this year after he fell on hard times.