PITTSBURGH — Bill Cardille, the host of 'Chiller Theater', has died after a battle with cancer, according to a Facebook post by his daughter.
Lori Cardille wrote, "Our dear father, William Cardille, peacefully passed away early this morning in his home, with his family, where he wanted to be. My sister Marea, was reading him some of the letters that you all wrote to him. It meant so much to him. I knew it would. From the bottom of our hearts, my sister Marea, my brother Billy and our beautiful mother Louise, thank you. We will miss him terribly but take comfort in the fact that as he said, 'I am at peace. I had a wonderful life.' As he signed off on Chiller Theater he always said, 'Good night and sleep warm.' Sleep warm daddy."
Cardille was a Pittsburgh icon, a fixture on Channel 11 back when the call letters were WIIC.
“He is the very first voice anyone ever heard on our air when we signed on September 1, 1957,” said Ray Carter, WPXI general manager. “He is the fabric through all these decades. Sixty years of our history.”
Pittsburgh knew him best as “Chilly Billy”, the late-night host of Chiller Theater, who got families to stay up late on Saturday nights.
He would scare them with horror flicks and color commentary, always having a good time.
Cardille had his hands in everything at the television station. Before Chiller Theater, it was studio wresting. Wrestler Bruno Sammartino was Cardille’s friend for more than 50 years.
“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.”
For 37 years, Cardille did it all at Channel 11. He hosted the Muscular Dystrophy telethon for 24 straight hours, all live. He gave Pittsburghers their daily weather. Ron Jaye was on the anchor desk with Bill in the early 1990’s.
“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.”
The city of Pittsburgh named a day after him: September 10, 2010.
“I admire him as a husband, and father,” said Carter. “When he gave back to the community, volunteered more hours than anybody in the history of this city.”
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