Bill Cardille, known to affectionately to Pittsburgh as “Chilly Billy,” has died. Cardille’s daughter, Lori Cardille, posted on her Facebook page this morning of her father’s passing.
A Pittsburgh icon, Cardille started on channel 11 back when, the now WPXI, call letters were WIIC.
Ray Carter, WPXI’s General Manager, commented on what “Chilly Billy” meant to his station’s history.
— WPXI (@WPXI) July 21, 2016
“He is the very first voice anyone ever heard on our air when we signed on September 1, 1957,” said Ray Carter. “He is the fabric through all these decades. Sixty years of our history.”
Pittsburgh fell in love with Cardille in the 1960’s for hosting the late Saturday night show, Chiller Theater. This was a program Cardille delivered horror flicks and color commentary, always having a good time with his audience. Before that, he hosted Studio Wrestling, a show covering professional wrestling. During this time Cardille developed a close friendship with a fellow Pittsburgh icon, WWE Hall Of Famer Bruno Sammartino.
Sammartino described his friend as a great person above all else.
“I’m going to tell you something,” said Sammartino. “Nobody was better than Bill. This guy could do everything. I love him like a brother. You can’t help it.”
Studio Wrestling and Chiller Theater weren’t the only reason Cardille became a Pittsburgh legend. Spanning 37 years at Channel 11, he did it all, including hosting the Muscular Dystrophy telethon for 24 straight hours. He spent time as a meteorologist. He anchored with Ron Jaye in the early 1990’s.
Jaye spoke about his former partner.
“He was a delight to be around,” said Jaye. “Anytime people were around him, they tended to be happy. He’d walk in a room and everyone was happy. That was Bill Cardille.”
RIP, Bill Cardille. Chilly Billy–a true Pittsburgh tv legend and pioneer. An honor to have worked w him. pic.twitter.com/56k2pDW0Ha
— David Johnson WPXI (@DavidWPXI) July 21, 2016
Cardille also excelled in radio where he was a popular DJ on WJAS-AM, hosting the mid-day show for nearly 20 years until signing off in 2014.
Bill “Chilly Billy” Cardille was awarded a day in his honor by the city of Pittsburgh on September 10, 2010.
Bill Cardille was 87-years-old.