Tom Magliozzi, who teamed with his younger brother Ray as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” on NPR’s Car Talk for a quarter-century, died Monday of Alzheimer’s complications, the radio pubcaster said. He was 77. The brothers’ local Boston show went national in 1987, and they were a hit with their banter, humor and advice for callers with car troubles. “His laugh is the working definition of infectious laughter,” longtime Car Talk producer Doug Berman told NPR.
Tom Magliozzi was born June 28, 1937, in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and Ray both graduated from MIT and opened a do-it-yourself repair shop in the early 1970s and later opened a more traditional garage. NPR said the Magliozzis got into radio by accident: In 1977, local Boston station WBUR was getting mechanics together to do a talk show. Berman said someone called Ray, who “thought it was a dumb idea” and sent Tom instead. When he arrived, he was the only one who showed up. Berman said the station liked what Tom did and asked him to come back the next week — and this time he brought Ray. Although the Magliozzis haven’t done their weekly show live in two years, NPR still airs old archived shows. Here is a message from Ray Magliozzi to fans on NPR’s website: