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Roddy on the 32nd season premiere of The Price is Right in 2003
|Born||Robert Ray Roddy
September 28, 1937
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
|Died||October 27, 2003
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Colon cancer
|Resting place||Greenwood Memorial Park, Fort Worth
|Other names||Rod Ray Roddy|
|Alma mater||Texas Christian University|
|Occupation||Announcer, television personality, actor, voice artist, comedian|
Robert Ray "Rod" Roddy (September 28, 1937 – October 27, 2003) was an American radio and television announcer. He was primarily known for his role as an offstage announcer on game shows. Among the shows that he announced are the CBS game shows Whew! and Press Your Luck. He is widely recognized by the signature line, "Come on down!" from The Price Is Right, and it appears on his grave marker, although the phrase was originated and made popular by his predecessor Johnny Olson. Roddy succeeded original announcer Johnny Olson on The Price is Right and held the role from 1986 until his death in 2003, and as of 2015, is the longest-serving announcer on the current incarnation of the show. On many episodes of Press Your Luck and The Price is Right, Roddy appeared on camera. Roddy was also the voice of Mike the microphone on Disney's House of Mouse from 2001 to 2003.
After graduating from Texas Christian University (TCU), Roddy began his professional broadcasting career as a disc jockey and talk show host on KLIF and KNUS-FM (Dallas, Texas). He also worked overnights and mid-days at the Buffalo, New York radio station WKBW AM, a big-signal station covering the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and at other high-profile stations. Returning to KLIF and KNUS during the 1970s, Roddy hosted a call-in program, "Rod Roddy's Hotline," whose controversial host and topics made him a frequent target of death threats. He conducted a long-running on-air feud with an elderly woman (dubbed "Granny Hate" by an earlier host), who claimed to represent the local Ku Klux Klan.
Roddy announced the sitcom Soap from 1977 to 1981, where he provided the opening and closing narration: "Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of Soap!". He replaced Casey Kasem who quit the series after the pilot due to the adult themes the series promoted.
His first work as a game show announcer was on Whew!, which aired from 1979 to 1980. From there, he went on to announce several other game shows, including Battlestars (1981–1982), Love Connection (1983–1985, 1986), Hit Man (1983) and the popular Press Your Luck (1983–1986). Roddy also voiced a number of national television commercials, including those for Pennzoil and Public Storage.
After Goodson-Todman announcer Johnny Olson died in October 1985, Roddy was chosen as one of several substitute announcers (along with Rich Jeffries, Bob Hilton, and Gene Wood) to announce The Price Is Right. According to former producer Roger Dobkowitz, he liked Roddy the best, who was also CBS's favorite. Despite only announcing for 6 episodes (the least of the four), on February 17, 1986, Roddy was announced as the show's regular announcer. Roddy also was the announcer on Tom Kennedy's Nighttime Price Is Right after Olson's death.
Roddy later adopted a rigorous diet and exercise program. Overweight for much of his adult life, the program resulted in Roddy's loss of close to 200 pounds. (It is interesting to note that after Roddy's death, current TPIR host Drew Carey, also an overweight figure, followed in Rod Roddy's footsteps and adopted his own diet and exercise program which resulted in him losing a considerable amount of weight himself). With his weight-loss regimen becoming a much-lauded success (frequently being mentioned by Bob Barker), he was frequently shown on-camera while he announced "the next contestant on The Price Is Right", and was occasionally featured in Showcase skits aiding the "Barker's Beauties", similar to Olson's frequent on-camera appearances.
Roddy was also noted for wearing brightly colored and sequined sport jackets, a practice he first adopted as a trademark when making personal appearances emceeing teen dances and concerts for WKBW in Buffalo in the 1960s. On Price he first wore pastel jackets made in Hong Kong, and with the encouragement of Bob Barker turned them into a staple of the show. Preferring Thai silk for its colorfulness, he traveled to Bangkok several times a year to have new clothing custom-made. He would also frequently travel to Thailand as the official ambassador to Chiang Mai.
Beginning in Season 31, Roddy's on-air camera appearances were eliminated from the show. FremantleMedia claimed that it was against its policy for announcers to appear on camera during any of its game shows. However, insiders speculated that a falling-out between Roddy and Barker was the real reason he only ever appeared once more, briefly, on the Season 32 premiere after his return from a lengthy absence. The policy was later claimed to be a fabrication in a 2009 interview by series model Holly Hallstrom, who was dismissed from the show in 1995 but remained friends with Roddy.
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Illness and death
On September 11, 2001, the same day of the September 11 attacks, Roddy was diagnosed with colon cancer. He took a leave of absence to undergo and recover from surgery and chemotherapy, and returned a month later. One year later, the colon cancer returned, and Roddy temporarily took another leave of absence to undergo and recover from surgery on September 20, 2002. Again, he recovered within a month. In March 2003, Roddy was diagnosed with male breast cancer. He underwent surgery and afterwards, experienced major complications. As a result, Roddy was unable to announce for The Price Is Right for the rest of Season 31. The diagnoses led to Roddy becoming a spokesperson for early detection of cancer in his last years. In an interview with CBS, Roddy commented to the general public:
|“||I could have prevented all this with a colonoscopy, and of course, that's the campaign I've been on since I had the first surgery. To everybody out there, get a mammogram! It can happen to men, too.||”|
Roddy continued to announce for The Price Is Right until his last hospitalization two months before his death on October 27, 2003. After his departure from the show, Burton Richardson and Randy West filled in. Roddy was replaced by Rich Fields in April 2004. Roddy's final episode aired on October 20, 2003, just one week before his death.
Roddy is interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth, Texas. He had "Come on Down" inscribed on his tombstone, a phrase popularized by Johnny Olson.
Roddy was given a short tribute recorded shortly afterwards as a segment that lasted eighteen seconds, narrated by Barker, which aired before the start of a later episode. Craig Kilborn, then in his final season as host of The Late Late Show, paid tribute to Roddy (a frequent guest and friend of Kilborn's) in a lengthy clip montage to end the October 28, 2003 show.
In a similar manner to the 18-second tribute, Roddy is mentioned a single time in Barker's autobiography, Priceless Memories, when Barker lists the series' announcers since 1972.
- "Rod Roddy". CBS. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
- "find-a-grave for Rod Roddy". Find A Grave. Retrieved 9 Feb 2013.
- "Rod Roddy - Interview". AVClub. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
- "Rod Roddy Medical Update". CBS. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
|Announcer of Love Connection
|Announcer of The Price Is Right