SNL Announcer Don Pardo Dies at 96
Longtime SNL announcer Don Pardo died on Monday, according to the Hollywood Reporter and other news outlets. He was 96.
With his deep, resounding voice, Pardo introduced to audiences many generations of casts and hosts of SNL for 38 seasons. From Chevy Chase to Tina Fey, it’s hard to imagine how many big names Pardo had the pleasure of introducing—or rather, how many stars had the honor of being introduced by him. In his many years on the job, Pardo only ever missed one season of the show, for which he was hired by SNL creator Lorne Michaels in 1975. (Technically, points out TVLine, since Michaels took off more seasons, Pardo actually had a longer tenure at the show than the show creator himself.)
Older generations will also remember Pardo for his pre-SNL jobs. Among them include announcing for the game shows The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!
Pardo was born in 1918 in Westfield, Mass., and was raised primarily in Connecticut. He attended Emerson College where, according to THR, “He wanted to be an actor but figured he wasn’t good-looking enough.” After graduating in 1942, he began his vocal career at radio station WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island.
Two years later, in 1944, the 26-year-old Pardo joined NBC as a radio announcer. In 1963, he read one of the first accounts of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Pardo retired from the network in 2004, but continued to do the introductions for SNL. In 2010, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Michaels told the New York Times, “It was a happy accident and in some great way our lives intertwined. … It was always exciting. Whatever montage we did to open the show, whatever pictures we used, it didn’t really come alive till you heard him say it.”