'Good Morning, Vietnam' DJ and Air Force Veteran Adrian Cronauer Dies at 79

Adrian Cronauer, famed Vietnam-era Air Force disc jockey, with white beard, celebrates during the U.S. Air Force Memorial's the 10th anniversary during a ceremony in Arlington, Va., Oct. 14, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Many things in Robin Williams' portrayal of DJ Adrian Cronauer in "Good Morning, Vietnam" weren't really based on Cronauer. But that drawn-out "goooooood morning, Vietnam" was all Cronauer.

Cronauer, the Air Force veteran played by Robin Williams in the 1987 movie, died Wednesday. He was 79.

The 1987 movie, which Cronauer co-wrote, was loosely based on his life as an Armed Forces Network disc jockey for a year in Vietnam. But, as he said, it is a movie and Williams' frenzied performance was not him.

"If I did half the things he did in that movie, I'd still be in Leavenworth and not England," Cronauer told Stars and Stripes during a stop at RAF Mildenhall in 2004.

"No, I was not thrown out of Vietnam," he said. "I did not have, as far as I knew, any friends who were Viet Cong."

After serving in the Air Force, he owned an ad agency, managed a radio station, was an anchorman and program director in TV news, and was a voice actor for TV and radio commercials, according to his obituary. Later in life, he was special assistant to the director of the prisoners of war/missing in action office in the Pentagon, raising awareness of the effort to account for America's missing. He lived in Troutville, Va.

His family asks that, in lieu of flowers, mourners make contributions to a veteran's organization of their choice.

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