Don Pardo, Voice of ‘Saturday Night Live’ Passes Away at 96

2007 Summer TCA Tour - Day 7

The man behind Saturday Night Live’s familiar voice, Don Pardo, has passed away. Pardo who was 96 year,s old died in his sleep at his Tucson, Arizona home, and while many fans of the popular comedy sketch show, Saturday Night Live, may not recognize Pardo’s face, they will all more than likely recognize his voice.  Pardo worked on the show since its premiere episode in 1975, announcing the show’s title, cast members, and musical guests.  While his role on Saturday Night Live is what Pardo is best known for – he had an impressive career before joining the show.

Born Dominick George Pardo, he joined the NBC company in 1944 as a radio announcer and reporter during the second World War.  When he moved to television productions in the 1950’s he became the host of the original versions of the popular game shows The Price is Right and Jeopardy and Pardo was the first person on NBC’s network to announce that former President John F. Kennedy had been shot in 1963.

When Pardo joined the Saturday Night Live crew in 1975 he also became somewhat of a cast member as his role on the show was not always limited to announcing.  Throughout his tenure Pardo also performed with musician Frank Zappa and did the voice overs for some of the show’s game show and commercial spoofs.  After more than 60 years with NBC Pardo announced his retirement from the network; however, the producers at Saturday Night Live asked him to stay on as the shows announcer- and he did.  After retiring from ABC Pardo continued to record his Saturday Night Live introduction from a home studio; however, he soon resumed weekly flights to New York City at producers insistence.  Pardo worked with Saturday Night Live for a total of 38 seasons, missing the 1981-82 season because the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, took a break from the show and two episodes in during the 2013 season due to a broken hip.  In 2010 Pardo was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame; he is the only announcer to receive such an honor.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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