Terkel's1974 book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do was adapted by Stephen Schwartz into the Broadway musical Working, while his 1970 book Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression inspired Arthur Miller's play The American Clock, which bowed on Broadway in 1980.
While born in the Bronx, Louis Terkel moved to Chicago in 1923 with his family and eventually became an actor and playwright with the Chicago Repertory Theatre, where he adopted the name Studs. He returned to theater acting in later years, appearing in a national tour of Detective Story. He began his radio show at Chicago's WFMT in the 1950s, and was on the air for 45 years.
He is survived by his son, Dan Terkell.