Don Imus witnessed his career nearly implode when he made racist on-air comments in 2006, but the cadaver-faced shock jock has since returned to helm his nationally syndicated radio show Imus in the Morning.
Born in Riverside, California, Imus' first job was as a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad. He started his career on the radio as a DJ for local California radio stations, and while his proclivity for controversy started early—he was fired from one radio station for saying "hell" on the air—he became immensely popular from his on-air pranks, like calling a restaurant and ordering 1,200 hamburgers to go. He left California in the early ‘70s for a gig in Cleveland and moved to New York in 1971 for a show on WNBC radio. Even though he was popular enough to release "comedy" albums, Imus was briefly fired from WNBC for being publicly insubordinate but was re-hired in 1979. With his popular, controversial character "Billy Sol Haggis," Imus, particularly when paired off against fellow WNBC host and rival Howard Stern, maintained his bad-boy image and survived WNBC's sale to WFAN in 1988, where Imus in the Morning remains to this day while being simultaneously broadcast on, for a time, MSNBC.M
Yet few thought Imus would've survived the major controversy in 2006 about the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship, when Imus referred to members of the Rutgers Team as "nappy headed hoes." Although Imus tried to write it off, the damage was done: Imus publicly apologized and, after being publicly reprimanded by Reverend Al Sharpton, was suspended from his show. MSNBC withdrew support from Imus and called off its simultaneous broadcast of the radio show, and for a time Imus in the Morning was officially cancelled. Yet America, as always, is a forgiving place, and Imus in the Morning quietly returned to radio waves and televisions on the Fox Business Network in 2008. [Image via Getty]