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It’s a perennial story: An older student returns to the classroom education he’d long set aside, finally finishing his studies and graduating years later. Typically, that story includes detours like service in war or a family tragedy.

Bobby Ellerbee’s story, however, is not exactly typical. He took four decades to get his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia — but it wasn’t an obstacle that caused the delay. Instead, it was a successful — and remarkably diverse — career, which began even before he stepped foot in a college classroom.

“I started in radio when I was 16 years old, because my next-door neighbor owned a radio station,” he tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. “For 30 years, I did live shows every day.”

These days, he supplies the voice of the sheriff on the surreal adult cartoon Squidbillies, which features a family of squid in the hills of northern Georgia.

After A 40-Year Detour, ‘Squidbillies’ Star Takes Home His Diploma

Photo: Henry P. Taylor/Courtesy of The Red And Black