Don Pardo, Voice of SNL, Dead at 96

Academy Of Televison's 19th Annual Hall Of Fame Induction Gala
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 20: Don Pardo attends the Academy of Televison’s 19th annual Hall of Fame induction gala at Beverly Hills Hotel on January 20, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Don Pardo, longtime announcer of Saturday Night Live, has died at age 96. From the NYT obituary:

Don Pardo, who literally introduced television viewers to some of America’s biggest stars and soon-to-be-stars as the longtime announcer for “Saturday Night Live,” died Monday in Tucson. He was 96.

Mr. Pardo’s death was confirmed by his daughter, Dona Pardo.

Mr. Pardo, whose career began in the radio age, continued through the end of the last season of “S.N.L.” in May, when he performed the introductions on the finale, hosted by Andy Samberg.

Mr. Pardo was with “S.N.L.” from the show’s first episode in October 1975, and performed the introductions for 38 seasons, missing only Season 7. For many viewers, the names of scores of stars — from Chevy Chase to Eddie Murphy to Tina Fey — were first heard in his sonorous baritone, which announced the cast each week at the end of the opening skit.

“Every year the new cast couldn’t wait to hear their name said by him,” said Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator, who hired Mr. Pardo in 1975.

Pardo was also the announcer for The Price is Right and Jeopardy. He began with NBC in New York in 1944. His first television gig was in 1946, announcing a trio of televised baseball games. He had a lifetime contract with NBC, retiring in 2004. However, he continued to announce SNL, even after moving to Arizona after his wife died in 1995. Initially, he flew to New York on the weekends. In recent years, he recorded his material in Tucson.

That familiar voice is going to be missed! RIP Don.

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  1. RIP, another little piece of Americana, gone. Definitely an institution even though few knew his face many knew that distinctive voice.

  2. I remember him originally from Jeopardy in 1964 – always thought that was why SNL hired him initially, in October of 1975 – that familiar voice – and they always referred to him by his full name –

    Jeopardy host Art Fleming introduced the pop-culture catchphrase, “Don Pardo, tell her what she’s won!”

    – so he was not an anonymous voice.

    I love the continuity he brought to to 38 seasons of SNL – 7 decades – and it’s rather disconcerting to realize it has been on for that long – he was 96!

    In the entertainment business, a lifetime contract is an impressive thing – and Don Pardo worked for SNL right up to the end of this last season:

    “I found out that only two people [at NBC] had ever had lifetime contracts,” he said, “Bob Hope and me.”

    – – at least NBC knew what they had there, in the iconic sound of that baritone voice, giving authority to everything he said… RIP, Don Pardo.

  3. Such a distinctive voice and style of announcing that became synonymous with SNL and Jeopardy. R.I.P.

  4. So glad I’m not the only one who remembers Don Pardo from Jeopardy! Best field trip I ever took as a kid was to see two episodes of Jeopardy taped- and I so vividly remember him being on the set.

    It’s good to know that such an ionic voice was appreciated for so many years and not put out to pasture because he was an “old man”. RIP Don.

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