Dark Star form WCCO radio dies at 66‎

A longtime Twin Cities radio personality and race track fixture who went by the name “Dark Star” has died.
KFAN Radio program director Chad Abbott says Minnetonka police told him Friday that officers found George Chapple (who worked at the station) dead in his apartment. Police say they’re investigating a non-suspicious death.
Chapple worked for 25 years at WCCO-AM before taking a buyout in 2010. He then joined KFAN.
WCCO-AM program director Bob Shomper, SHAHM’-pur, says the 66-year-old Chapple “could be a little off-color, one of those people who got away with it and still have respect.”
Chapple also had worked at Canterbury Park since the Shakopee, SHAHK’-uh-pee, track opened in 1985. He had hosted a nightly replay show and was a media relations consultant for the track.

Dark Star form WCCO radio dies at 66
Dark Star.

Twin Cities sports radio personality “Dark Star,” a fixture on the airwaves of WCCO-AM for 25 years until leaving the station two years ago, was found dead Friday, June 1, in his apartment in Minnetonka. He was 66.
The circumstances of his death were not immediately known, but police said it was not deemed suspicious.
Born George Chapple, the Twin Cities transplant first gained local renown in 1983, when he called into Pioneer Press columnist Joe Soucheray’s KSTP-AM show and accurately predicted that Bud Grant would resign as coach of the Minnesota Vikings the next day.
“We later learned he’d been having drinks with (then-Vikings general manager) Mike Lynn’s brother at the Lafayette Club in Minnetonka” – Soucheray said. “We got terribly impressed that he had the ability to surround himself with the movers and shakers.
“He called the next day and said: ‘See? You can always trust the Dark Man.’ From that moment on, he was always called Dark Star.”
Dark Star was the name of the horse that won the 1953 Kentucky Derby, and Chapple originally acquired the moniker while handicapping horse races in California.
After his 1983 call to KSTP, he soon went to work at the station as a substitute host. He also handicapped horses for the Pioneer Press. In 1986, he landed a job filing horse-racing reports for WCCO from the newly opened Canterbury Downs – now Canterbury Park.
Eventually, he became widely known in Minnesota for his “Sports Night With Dark Star” program, which began airing on WCCO in 1995 in the 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. slot.

For 25 years, Star was best known for his nightly radio show on WCCO where he seemed to love his critics almost as much as his fans. He left ‘CCO in 2010, but continued his other love, horse racing.
Randy Sampson owns Canterbury Downs – Star’s second home. Star worked there since 1985, most recently as the host of the Race Replay Show.
His picture is seen in the Canterbury hallways, inducted in their hall of fame. But his presence will be missed most in the press box where his favorite seat sits empty.
“It’s not going to be the same. We always talked about that was his living room up there and he talked about having to get his mail delivered there because he was in the press box more than he was at home” – said Sampson.
Allen who has known Star since 1995 was the race announcer.
“Canterbury is so special to me and was so special to him that I can’t believe when I go there tonight, he’s not going to be sitting in that chair” – he said.
While friends are coming to terms with the loss, they’re wondering how Star died. Investigators have not released the cause of death, but they are not calling it suspicious.
“He’s had his ups and downs in his health a little bit over the years, but it still comes as a surprise because we all saw him out here last Saturday” – said Jon Mikkelson who worked with Star at Canterbury Downs.
Star, who had no formal training in broadcasting, practically willed his career to its well known heights. His friends say he did things his way, laughing and making jokes every step of the way.
“He wasn’t afraid to be himself and do it the way he wanted to do it” – said Allen.

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