Adrian Cronauer, the wartime radio presenter who inspired the movie Good Morning, Vietnam, died at age 79 at a nursing home in Virginia, his daughter-in-law told CNN.

The former U.S. airman was the inspiration for the character played by Robin Williams in Barry Levinson’s award-winning 1987 movie.

Cronauer was a co-writer of the original movie script, which had begun life as a sitcom pitch, and was very loosely based on his experience of working with the Armed Forces Radio Service (later the American Forces Network).

His real-life story was less extreme, he admitted later. “If I did half the things he did in that movie, I’d still be in Leavenworth [prison]," he said.

In a statement, his family described him as “warm and approachable." “He loved the service men and service women all over the world, and always made time to personally engage with them," they wrote. "Although he was an only child, his military brothers and sisters became part of his family.”

They argued that Good Morning, Vietnam had “helped to open dialogue and discussion that had long been avoided." “Of course, to us, he was a loving and devoted husband to his late wife Jeane, as well beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather," they concluded.

Cronauer received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exception Public Service for a career that went on to include law, broadcasting consultancy and acting as confidential adviser to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2009.



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