Don Pardo, whose voice was heard for 38 seasons on Saturday Night Live, died Monday. He was 96. The announcer did voiceover work for SNL's opening montage, and he also contributed to several sketches.
Pardo was born on Feb. 22, 1918, in Westfield, Mass., and grew up in Norwich, Conn.
After launching his broadcasting career at a small radio station in Providence, R.I., Pardo moved to New York City in 1944 to begin his six-decade tenure as a staff announcer at NBC. He was an announcer for radio shows such as "Front Page Farrell" and "Pepper Young's Family." He eventually transitioned into television, announcing for Caesar's Hour, Jackpot, Jeopardy!, The Kate Smith Evening Hour, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC Nightly News, The Price Is Right, Three on a Match and Winning Streak.
On Nov. 22, 1963, Pardo was tasked with delivering the audio news bulletin to NBC TV viewers, first locally in New York and then nationally, that President John F. Kennedy, Jr. had been shot in Dallas.
In addition to his work with NBC, Pardo did countless commercial work. He also made a cameo appearance in Weird Al Yankovic's 1984 music video "I Lost on Jeopardy" and had a bit part as the "Guess that Tune" host in Woody Allen's 1987 movie Radio Days. He also performed with Frank Zappa.
His wife, Kay, died in 1995. The Pardos are survived by their daughter, Dana.
Pardo retired from the network in 2004 but continued to work on SNL at Lorne Michael's request. He was the program's sole announcer except for one season (1981–1982). He relocated to Tuscon, Ariz., and in 2006, he began prerecording his announcements from home. Then, for a time, he made regular trips to New York to do the introductions live. He later went back to prerecording them from his home.
For his 90th birthday on Feb. 23, 2008, he appeared on SNL to blow out the candles on his birthday cake. Tina Fey gave him a kiss, and the following year, she cast him in an episode of NBC's hit sitcom 30 Rock.
Pardo was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2010.
Several SNL stars, alums and hosts have tweeted their memories of the late announcer:
RIP Don Pardo. A voice that meant so much. http://t.co/X4q9TeHVbO? Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) August 19, 2014
On Sept 13th 2008 I heard Don Pardo say my name for the first time. I cried until the 16th. Thanks Don. I owe you a coffee.? Bobby Moynihan (@bibbymoynihan) August 19, 2014
Goodbye Don Pardo. You worked from World War II until this May. You were cool as hell. I'm very lucky I got to talk to you those few times.? John Mulaney (@mulaney) August 19, 2014
Don Pardo said my name only 3 times but I guarantee those will be some of the first things I brag to my son about one day. RIPDonPardo? Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) August 19, 2014
.#RIPDonPardo - a model of talent, discipline and craftsmanship - your assuring voice will truly be missed— Ana Gasteyer (@AnaGasteyer) August 19, 2014
Don Pardo thank you for saying my name twice. Dream come true. RIP LEGEND!— christina applegate (@1capplegate) August 19, 2014
Very sad to hear of the passing of my old friend Don Pardo - truly one the all-time greats. #RIPDonPardo— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) August 19, 2014
1983, my 1st day on-air at WNBC, Don Pardo said my name in the Live @ Five open. He came up, smiled and said, "I punched it for you". Yes!!— Al Roker (@alroker) August 19, 2014
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