Don Pardo

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Don Pardo
Born Dominick George Pardo
(1918-02-22)February 22, 1918
Westfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died August 18, 2014(2014-08-18) (aged 96)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Other names Dom Pardo
Alma mater Emerson College
Occupation Voice actor, announcer
Years active 1938–2014
Known for Announcer for Saturday Night Live
Spouse(s) Catherine Lyons (m. 1938–95) (her death)
Children 5
Awards Television Hall of Fame (member since 2010)
Signature DonPardo.png

Dominick George "Don" Pardo (February 22, 1918 – August 18, 2014) was an American radio and television announcer whose career spanned more than seven decades.

A member of the Television Hall of Fame, Pardo was noted for his 70-year tenure with NBC, working as the announcer for early incarnations of such notable shows as The Price Is Right, Jackpot, Jeopardy!, Three on a Match, Winning Streak and NBC Nightly News.[1] His longest, and best-known, announcing gig was for NBC's Saturday Night Live, a job he held for 39 seasons, from the show's debut in 1975 until his death in 2014.[2]

Early life[edit]

Pardo was born in Westfield, Massachusetts to Dominick and Viola Pardo, immigrants from Poland, who owned a bakery.[3] He spent his childhood in Norwich, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Emerson College in 1942.[4]

Career[edit]

Radio[edit]

Pardo was hired for his first radio position at NBC affiliate WJAR in Providence in 1938.[5]

He joined NBC full-time as an in-house announcer in 1944, remaining on the network staff for 60 years. Among the radio programs he worked on as an announcer were Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator,[6] the sci-fi shows X Minus One[7] and Dimension X[8] among others.

During World War II, Pardo worked as a war reporter for NBC Radio.[9][10]

For more than 30 years, Pardo was one of the rotating announcers on the KFOG San Francisco radio show "Ten at Ten", appearing at 10 a.m. and in syndication with Dave Morey on KFOG HD Radio.

Television[edit]

In the early 1950s, he served as announcer for many of RCA's and NBC's closed-circuit color television demonstrations.[citation needed]

Pardo made his mark on game shows for NBC as the 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. This early version was hosted by Art Fleming. The current syndicated version of Jeopardy has been hosted by Alex Trebek and since 1984 has been announced by prominent long time announcer, Johnny Gilbert. Pardo reprised his announcer role with a cameo voice-over 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 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),[citation needed] WNBC-TV's Live at Five and NBC Nightly News.

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 the first to announce to NBC viewers that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.[11]

His best known announcing work was for the television series Saturday Night Live. His was the fourth voice heard on the show's premiere episode in 1975, after the first cold open sketch featuring Michael O'Donoghue, John Belushi and Chevy Chase. Pardo remained the program's announcer except for one season (1981–1982), when it was announced by Mel Brandt or Bill Hanrahan. After "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!", which is cried out at the end of the cold open, 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,[citation needed] his Saturday Night Live announcing booth during his tenure at Studio 8-H was almost exactly where Arturo Toscanini stood when conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra in Rockefeller Center from 1937 to 1950.

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).

Pardo also participated in the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "I Lost on Jeopardy," from his second album, "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D, a parody of "Jeopardy" by The Greg Kihn Band, and its refrain "Our love's in jeopardy." The song became the fourth music video released by Yankovic, and featured a number of cameo appearances including Kihn, Fleming, Yankovic's mentor Dr. Demento, Pardo and Yankovic's parents.

In 1989 he participated in the recording by Canadian synthpop band Kon Kan of "I Beg Your Pardon", which was a hit in many territories around the world.

Last years[edit]

Pardo nominally retired from NBC in 2004. However, he continued to announce for Saturday Night Live at the behest of executive producer Lorne Michaels, initially under the assumption that a permanent replacement would be found quickly.[12] In 2006, he began prerecording his announcements from a studio in his Arizona home. 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.[13] On Saturday, February 23, 2008, Pardo appeared at the closing of Saturday Night Live to blow out the candles of his 90th birthday cake. During this period, Pardo missed approximately five episodes due to illness, in which case cast member Darrell Hammond (who would eventually be chosen as Pardo's successor) would fill in for him uncredited.[14]

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.[15] However, he subsequently returned for the show's 35th season. Starting with the 36th season, Pardo once again began pre-recording his parts from his home in Arizona instead of performing live in New York City.[13]

In 2010, Pardo was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Pardo married Catherine Lyons in 1938. The couple had five children; she died in 1995.[3]

Death[edit]

Pardo died in his sleep on August 18, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona at the age of 96.[3][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Don Pardo". TV.com. 2010-08-15. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  2. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' returns with three new members in its 39th season". OUDaily.com. 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  3. ^ a b c Genzlinger, Neil; Carter, Bill (August 19, 2014). "Don Pardo, the Voice of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Dies at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ Moore, Frazier (August 19, 2014). "Don Pardo, Iconic TV Announcer, Dies at 96". ABC News. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Levs, Josh; Leopold, Todd (August 19, 2014). "Don Pardo, voice of 'Saturday Night Live,' dead at 96". CNN.com. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ Goldin, J. David (April 24, 2014). "Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator". RadioGoldIndex.com. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Radio history of X Minus 1 (x-1) and Fred Collins". RadioHorrorHosts.com. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  8. ^ "The Definitive X Minus One Radio Log with Ernest Kinoy". DigitalDeliftp.com. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  9. ^ "Don Pardo Live From New York Still". ArtsBeat (blog). The New York Times (subscription required). February 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Don Pardo". The New York Times. January 18, 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  11. ^ "JFK Assassination Coverage". atvaudio.com. Collector's Choice Archival Television Audio. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Don Pardo, iconic TV, radio announcer, dead at 96". CBS News. cbsnews.com. August 18, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Schneider, Michael (September 17, 2010). "'SNL' retirement for announcing legend Don Pardo?". Variety. Variety.com. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  14. ^ Carter, Bill (September 18, 2014). Darrell Hammond to Replace Don Pardo as the Announcer for ‘Saturday Night Live’. The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "Blog Archive " Live, From Rhode Island!". NTS MediaOnline. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  16. ^ "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List". 
  17. ^ Barnes, Mike (August 18, 2014). "Don Pardo, the Booming Voice of 'Saturday Night Live,' Dies at 96". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Mel Brandt
Saturday Night Live announcer
1982–2014
Succeeded by
Darrell Hammond
Preceded by
None
Saturday Night Live announcer
1975–1981
Succeeded by
Mel Brandt
Preceded by
None
Jeopardy! announcer
1964–1975
Succeeded by
John Harlan
Preceded by
None
The Price Is Right (1956) announcer
November 26, 1956 – September 6, 1963
Succeeded by
Johnny Gilbert