Tuesday, August 19, 2014

'Saturday Night Live' Announcer Don Pardo Has Died at 96

Don Pardo
Longtime Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo died Monday at the age of 96.

Pardo died peacefully at his home in Tucson, Arizona, where he moved after retiring from SNL in 2006, said his daughter, Dona Pardo.

Those introductions and his voice were so distinctive that longtime fans of the late-night sketch comedy series immediately noticed when he missed the opening of the March 2, 2013 episode; it was later reported that he had suffered a broken hip.

Pardo, who began his career at NBC Radio in 1940 and switched to television in the 1950s, worked as an announcer on numerous game shows including The Price is Right and the original Jeopardy! in the mid-1960s.

He was Jeopardy!'s announcer from 1964 until the original version, with host Art Fleming, ended in 1975. A decade later, in 1975, he turned to late night work, becoming the voice over announcer for the hit comedy series Saturday Night Live.

The program's sole announcer except for one season (1981–1982), Pardo's famous SNL voice-over boomed over microphones after one of the participants in the show's opening sketch cried out, "Live, from New York ..." Pardo then announced the show's title, names of cast members and musical guests.

In August 1983, Pardo was the announcer when NBC daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow went live after the master tape of a pre-recorded episode went missing: "Live from New York...Search for Tomorrow!" Pardo became the regular announcer in the show's final year (1986).

He also worked on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (until 1999),NBC Nightly News and Wheel of Fortune. On November 22, 1963, he made NBC's first on-air announcement that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

In 2004, after some 30 years as SNL's voice, Pardo announced his official retirement from NBC and moved from Demarest, New Jersey, to Tucson. But SNL's producers pleaded with him to continue announcing introductions for the show.

In 2006, he began prerecording his announcements from a home studio in Arizona; then, for a while, he made regular trips to back New York to record the introductions live. He later went back to prerecording them from his home.

He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 2010, the only announcer to be so honored.

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