Don Pardo

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Don Pardo
BornDominick George Pardo
(1918-02-22) February 22, 1918 (age 95)
Westfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Other namesDom Pardo
OccupationVoice actor, announcer
Years active1938–present
 
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Don Pardo
BornDominick George Pardo
(1918-02-22) February 22, 1918 (age 95)
Westfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Other namesDom Pardo
OccupationVoice actor, announcer
Years active1938–present

Dominick George "Don" Pardo (born February 22, 1918) is an American radio and television announcer. He is known as the voice of the long-running late night sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.[1]

Pardo is noted for his long association with NBC, working as the announcer for early incarnations of such notable shows as The Price Is Right, Jeopardy!, and NBC Nightly News.[2] He has been the announcer of Saturday Night Live for all but one of its seasons. He continues to provide voiceover services during the program's opening montage, several years after his official retirement from NBC.

Radio career[edit]

Pardo was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, and spent his childhood in Norwich, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island. He was hired for his first radio position at WJAR-AM in Providence in 1938. Pardo joined NBC as an in-house announcer in 1944, remaining on the network staff for the next 60 years. Among the radio programs he worked on as an announcer were Barrie Craig Confidential Investigator,[3] the sci-fi show X-1 [4] and Dimension X [5] among many others. During World War II, he worked as a war reporter for NBC radio.[6][7]

NBC television[edit]

In the early 1950s, he served as announcer for many of RCA's and NBC's closed-circuit color television demonstrations. He eventually became one of the top game-show announcers for the network.

Pardo made his mark on game shows for NBC as the booming voice of the original The Price Is Right from 1956 until it moved to ABC in 1963. Pardo's next show was Jeopardy!, which he announced from 1964 until the original version of the series ended in 1975.[8] Pardo reprised that role with a cameo voiceover in "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1984 song "I Lost on Jeopardy" (a parody of The Greg Kihn Band's 1983 hit song "Jeopardy"). He also announced numerous other New York–based NBC game shows, such as Three on a Match, Winning Streak, and Jackpot!, all three of which were Bob Stewart productions.

Pardo squeezed in many other assignments at NBC, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (until 1999), WNBC-TV's Live at Five news program, NBC Nightly News, and Wheel of Fortune (during two special on-location weeks in 1988, when the show originated from New York and was using substitute announcers after Jack Clark's death).

Pardo was the on-duty live booth announcer for WNBC-TV in New York and the NBC network on November 22, 1963, and he was first to announce to NBC viewers that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. (His first bulletin interrupted a local WNBC-TV broadcast of Bachelor Father before the NBC network went live with the story.) Because NBC waited eleven minutes to begin videotaping the coverage, it was believed for decades that Pardo's historic bulletins were lost; but, almost 40 years later, an audio tape of the bulletins was discovered in a private collection.

In January 1986, Don Pardo replaced Hal Simms as announcer on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, four years after it had moved from CBS to NBC. He was the announcer until the final episode, on December 26, 1986.

Saturday Night Live[edit]

His best known announcing work is for the television series Saturday Night Live. His was the first voice heard on the show's premiere episode in 1975.

He has remained the program's announcer except for one season (1981–1982), when it was announced by Mel Brandt (except for the episodes performed on December 5 and December 12, 1981, when veteran announcer Bill Hanrahan briefly substituted for Brandt). After "Live, from New York...", which is cried out at the end of the opening sketch, Don Pardo announces the show's title, then names the cast members and musical guest(s) in a voice-over during the opening montage. According to Pardo, his announcing booth in Studio 8-H, from which Saturday Night Live is telecast, is almost exactly where Arturo Toscanini stood when conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in Rockefeller Center from 1937 to 1950. (Toscanini's broadcasts later moved to Carnegie Hall.)

In December 1976 Pardo participated in a musical performance by Frank Zappa, reciting a verse of the song "I'm the Slime". Pardo subsequently reprised this role on the live-recorded version of the song for the Zappa in New York album (it was not featured on the first release in 1978, but it appears on the 1993 CD re-release). He also provided narration for the songs "The Illinois Enema Bandit" and "Punky's Whips" (a business dispute between Zappa and his record company of the time led to "Punky's Whips" being removed from the 1978 album, but the song was reinstated on the 1993 CD).

Retirement[edit]

Although Pardo officially retired from NBC in 2004 and moved from Demarest, New Jersey to Tucson, Arizona, the producers of Saturday Night Live persuaded him to continue providing the introductions for their show. In 2006, he began prerecording his announcements from a home studio in Arizona. That arrangement lasted only a few episodes before producers insisted that they needed him in Studio 8H, and he resumed weekly flights to New York to do the show.[9] On Saturday, February 23, 2008, Pardo appeared at the closing of SNL to blow out the candles of his 90th birthday cake. Upon his induction into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame on May 14, 2009, Pardo suggested that the May 16, 2009, episode of Saturday Night Live would be his last.[10] However, he did subsequently return for the show's 35th season.

Starting with the 36th season, Pardo once again began pre-recording his parts from his home in Arizona rather than performing live in New York City.[9]

Pardo missed two shows during 2013 due to a broken hip.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Mel Brandt
Announcer on Saturday Night Live
1982–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
None
Announcer on Saturday Night Live
1975–1981
Succeeded by
Mel Brandt
Preceded by
None
Announcer on Jeopardy!
1964–1975
Succeeded by
John Harlan
Preceded by
None
Announcer on The Price Is Right (1956)
November 26, 1956 – September 6, 1963
Succeeded by
Johnny Gilbert