Don Pardo, 1918-2014
August 18, 2014 11:44 PM   Subscribe

Don Pardo, announcer for Saturday Night Live, The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!, has died.

Pardo also delivered the first announcement of the JFK assassination for NBC News, was the regular announcer for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade telecast until 1999, and played himself (in his role as announcer for The Price Is Right) in Weird Al's I Lost On Jeopardy.

Long-form Emmy interview
posted by kagredon (67 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

His voice has been with me, literally, my entire life. He'll be missed; not too many voices like his anymore.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:48 PM on August 18 [9 favorites]

Previously... (almost exactly a year ago)

Not many announcers could keep a voice like that working into their 90s.

Thank you, Don Pardo.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:51 PM on August 18 [6 favorites]

He is survived by his six daughters, all named Cathy.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:52 PM on August 18 [9 favorites]

In a way that's hard to explain I know I'll miss his voice.
posted by 26.2 at 12:07 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]

posted by SisterHavana at 12:38 AM on August 19

Wow. The voice of 60s game shows AND Saturday Night Live.

posted by kinnakeet at 12:51 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]

posted by lumensimus at 1:03 AM on August 19

posted by eye of newt at 1:06 AM on August 19

In a way that's hard to explain I know I'll miss his voice.

Me too, he was the voice of SNL… like Ed McMahon was for the Tonight show.
posted by jabo at 1:19 AM on August 19

posted by ob1quixote at 1:24 AM on August 19

posted by ogooglebar at 1:25 AM on August 19

SNL should bring in Darrell Hammond to do his Don Pardo impression every week. Any voice but Pardo's is just going to feel all wrong for that show.

Don Pardo's crazed narration during Frank Zappa's SNL performance of I Am the Slime is a beautiful thing. Man, Pardo went all the way back to the days of SNL when shit like that happened.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:01 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]

According to Make Evanier, when Michael O'Donahue came back to SNL in the early 1980s he was determined to shake up the show and make it dangerous again, and one of the ideas he kept pushing was to fire Pardo, without warning, live on the air. I think that idea says a lot about what a mad punk genius O'Donahue was, and what a profoundly messed-up guy he was too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:17 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

posted by Smart Dalek at 2:21 AM on August 19

As a eurodenizen, I only know of Don Pardo from his narration of Zappa's The Illinois Enema Bandit.
It's obvious he was some sort of National Treasure.
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 2:59 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

posted by jim in austin at 3:40 AM on August 19

posted by mikelieman at 3:41 AM on August 19

posted by donpardo at 3:58 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:05 AM on August 19

posted by Gelatin at 4:34 AM on August 19

(From the first link, the NYT obituary)

He started at NBC on June 15, 1944.

Jesus. 70 years with the same employer. A week and a half after D-Day he goes to work there, although his iconic status was still decades away.

There are few instantly recognizable voices in the world, and I am sorry to hear that there is one fewer this morning.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:39 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]

Live performance of "I Lost on Jeopardy" with an alternate take of Don's rant.

How many people would take themselves so non-seriously as to do that? Don Pardo, for one.

posted by SansPoint at 4:41 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]

posted by drezdn at 4:41 AM on August 19

I was just thinking about Don Pardo the other day while reading through the Studio 60 thread. (Pardo was the announcer for the fictional show within a show.) I recall thinking that his is one of those iconic voices like Phil Hartman where most people aren't going to realize how great he is or just how much his voice is everywhere until he's gone. I'm going to hate being right.

posted by dances with hamsters at 4:47 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

Such an icon. By merely speaking a single word, that unique voice instantly meant "television" for decades.

posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 AM on August 19

Tell us what we've lost, Don.
posted by Night_owl at 5:28 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]

posted by rahnefan at 5:35 AM on August 19


When June Foray dies, I think that will close the book on the voice-over/voice acting talent from the golden age.
posted by dr_dank at 5:57 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

I'm so glad the Emmy people keep doing those interview. SO glad. We need all the stories.

Oh, Don, of course I'm going to remember the cameo from "I Lost on Jeopardy". Also, as a child, I had to keep the TV in the living room turned down low enough so that his mellifluous tones wouldn't awaken my aunt and let her know I was up watching SNL instead of being in bed like I should have been at 10:30 on a Saturday night .


(BTW, dr_dank, Stan Freberg is still alive!)
posted by droplet at 6:04 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Don also lent his voice to Frank Zappa, providing a very funny introduction to "The Legend of the Illinois Enema Bandit".
posted by royals at 6:05 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]

It's OK, guys. They transplanted his voice box into a young tortoise back in 1990. :(
posted by sourwookie at 6:24 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

And so continues the Summer of Great People Dying.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:28 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]

Don Pardo's voice has been such a life-long institution I was convinced he was immortal. He will be missed.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:39 AM on August 19

A classic voice of my generation, now announcing the arrival of Robin Williams in Heaven.


posted by dbiedny at 6:54 AM on August 19

posted by Iridic at 6:54 AM on August 19

Thank you, Don Pardo.

posted by blurker at 7:20 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]

posted by Melismata at 7:30 AM on August 19

posted by condour75 at 7:36 AM on August 19

So about 12 years ago or so, my partner-at-the-time worked in development for the Museum of Broadcast Communications and they were having their 15th anniversary (I think), and as part of the "gala event", there were many celebrities (there was also a hall of fame induction) in attendance and they were all going to be introduced to the waiting crowd as they walked to their tables.

And since Don Pardo was there, obviously, he was going to do the announcing of their names because OF COURSE that's what you try to do if you have Don Pardo at your gala.

Keep in mind the stars ran the gamut from celebrities with a connection to the museum or Chicago and Chicago television "celebrities" as well -- Paul Harvey! John Mahoney! Casey Kasem! Horatio Sans! Larry Potash! Sonia "Maria from Sesame Street" Manzanoto!!!). I was one of the the volunteer celebrity wrangler assigned to keep the line moving at both end because that was a good use of my skill set (and also because being square in the middle of the alphabet meant I got even more face time with Sonia Manzanoto, who was just as lovely a person as you'd want her to be)

So they wanted to do a dress rehearsal where they did the introductions so everyone understood the timing and how to be escorted to the seat in a way that looked best, and though you'd think some of them might blanch at this, most either realized that was part of the life they'd chosen or really wanted to do it because they didn't want to look stupid in the moment.

The finest example of this was Mr. Pardo who did every announcement during rehearsal in full voice (which was awesome enough honestly -- if you grew up with his voice, it was actually kind of chilling to hear it in person) but also insistent that every name was pronounced correctly as the person being announced preferred. About half way through the many, many, many names, someone off-mic asked him, probably since he was already in his 80s at the time, if he wanted to have someone else say the names for the rest. He said, mostly on-mic, kindly but quite firmly, "This is the one thing I do. I make sure to do it right."

posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:11 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]

This is Don Pardo, saying: This is Don Pardo, saying... good night.

posted by Spatch at 8:31 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]

An awesome voice, generous spirit, and remarkable work ethic. He really was something special.

posted by bearwife at 8:55 AM on August 19

posted by doctor_negative at 8:59 AM on August 19

posted by jlbartosa at 9:08 AM on August 19

posted by frodisaur at 9:33 AM on August 19


Thank you, Don Pardo!

Jeopardy!'s current announcer is Johnny Gilbert, who recently turned 90.
posted by mogget at 10:32 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]

They honestly should retire the tradition of announcing the names of the SNL cast. Maybe have them say their own name as part of the montage, or something? I guess you need someone to intro the host, but I can't imagine trying to replace him.

posted by Rock Steady at 10:35 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]

posted by fremen at 10:37 AM on August 19

posted by Lynsey at 10:59 AM on August 19

I started watching SNL from the beginning recently, and it was so strange to realize that it's been the same announcer the whole time. And then to realize that he was already an established voice of television when SNL started.

posted by ckape at 11:02 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]

posted by Joey Michaels at 11:03 AM on August 19


I always loved it when they would bring him out and make it clear that that "voice" was a person.

I must be missing a George Foreman joke, because the first article makes it clear that he does not have 6 daughters named Cathy.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:19 AM on August 19

posted by sharp pointy objects at 11:24 AM on August 19

makes it clear that he does not have 6 daughters named Cathy.

In The Price is Right video at the top, Bill Cullen mentions that "Don is now the proud father of his sixth baby girl named Cathy."

posted by radwolf76 at 11:40 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]

posted by tonycpsu at 12:26 PM on August 19

posted by i_have_a_computer at 1:04 PM on August 19

posted by Splunge at 1:31 PM on August 19

Grew up on him with the original Jeopardy and all these decades of SNL.

If I could convince myself to totally believe in an afterlife, I would enjoy the idea of Bacall and Pardo, with their great Voices, having a nice little chat in heaven.
posted by NorthernLite at 1:59 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]

posted by Small Dollar at 2:02 PM on August 19

He really will be missed. There are lots of great voices out there, but very few iconic ones. His managed to be both.
posted by Mchelly at 3:03 PM on August 19

posted by KillaSeal at 3:17 PM on August 19

His voice is a component of my earliest memories, and I was born when Eisenhower was president.

I'm going to miss you, Don Pardo.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:40 PM on August 19

Nooooorah Dunnn!

Godspeed Mr. Pardo.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:31 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]

So, here in San Francisco, we had a long-running, massively beloved radio show called "Ten at Ten" - "Ten great songs from one great year." (There have been other, similar shows around the country since, but as I understand it, this was the first.)

It was an amazing show. The creator, master DJ Dave Morey (who has an awesome voice his own self), wove together intricate collages of time-travel-inducing music and news clips, with the music occasionally commenting on the news of the day (Richard Nixon followed by "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road").

For nearly the entire 20-some year run, the show was introduced* by Don Pardo. (There were brief stints when the radio station's management couldn't come to an agreement with Don's people, so the show used Monty Hall and Larry "Bud" Melman.)

* I'm nearly positive this was a selection of prerecorded vocal snippets. There were a few intro lines and a few outro lines, plus a handful of rarely-used extras, like Don saying "Uh-oh," and I'm pretty sure there was a snippet of him saying "Action, Jackson!"

So, while I definitely remember Don on Saturday Night Live, the Don Pardo I remember best is "Let's spin the big wheel and see which year we land on today, Dave!" and "But we'll do it again tomorrow! This is Don Pardo, inviting you to join us for Ten at Ten ..."

Every weekday. For decades.

Such an amazing voice. Such wonderful memories.
posted by kristi at 4:42 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]

posted by Renoroc at 5:11 PM on August 19

posted by evilDoug at 10:07 PM on August 19

posted by the sobsister at 6:33 PM on August 20

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