Tom Bodett

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Tom Bodett
Born Thomas Edward Bodett
(1955-02-23) February 23, 1955 (age 60)
Champaign, Illinois
Occupation Author, voice actor, radio host, selectman
Website Official site

Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett (/bˈdɛt/ boh-DET; born February 23, 1955) is an American author, voice actor, and radio host. Since 1986, he has been the spokesman for the hotel chain Motel 6, whose commercials end with the phrase, “I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for you.”

Personal background[edit]

Thomas Edward “Tom” Bodett was born on February 23, 1955, in Champaign, Illinois, and raised in Sturgis, Michigan.[1] As of 2013, he resided in Dummerston, Vermont, where he is a member of the town’s board of selectmen.[2]



Motel 6

In 1986, Bodett was both building houses in Homer, Alaska, and contributing content to NPR’s All Things Considered show. A creative director at the Richards Group ad agency heard him on NPR and hired him to record a commercial for Motel 6. Bodett ad-libbed the famous line, "We'll leave the light on for you", and has been the spokesperson for the chain ever since.[3] The director, David Fowler, hired him because Bodett "sound[ed] like the kind of person who stays there."[4] He thought, "Gosh, if I only had an account for a national budget motel brand with a sense of humor and humility, I could make a heck of an advertising campaign with this guy."[3]

In 2005, Motel 6 began using Bodett for their wake-up calls. The chain hoped to bring a more personal touch to people's day by using their spokesperson's voice.[5] Bodett was also featured on the first Motel 6 podcast, released for the holidays.


From 1993 to 1994, Tom Bodett was also the spokesperson for Jamesway department stores with stores in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and performed voice over radio commercials advertising the chain. Jamesway, a discount chain selling lower end merchandise for less money than some of its competitors, filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the fall of 1995 and closed up shop at the end of the year.

Media appearances[edit]


As a broadcaster, Bodett hosted two radio programs, The End of the Road (1988 to 1990) and Bodett & Company (1993).

In 1999, Bodett started The Loose Leaf Book Company, a radio program that centered on author and book interviews, discussions, and dramatizations.

As of 2013, he is a contributor to The Bob Edwards Show on XMPR and a member of the stable of panelists on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, a National Public Radio news quiz show.


Bodett hosted the public television program, Travels on America's Historic Trails (1997).[3][6]

He also did the voiceover for "Mime Time" and the "Good Idea/Bad Idea" segments featuring Mr. Skullhead on Animaniacs, had a brief cameo in Pinky and the Brain, as well as narrated the direct to video Animaniacs movie Wakko's Wish (1999).


Bodett was a regular columnist for the webzine Mr. Showbiz.


In 1999, Bodett published his first children's book, titled Williwaw![7]

Published works[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The Dungeons & Dragons-themed podcast The Adventure Zone features the fictional town of Rockport, which is populated entirely of Tom Bodetts.[8]


  1. ^ Gross, Ken (August 1, 1988). "Alaska's Tom Bodett Is the Folksy Voice of Motel 6, but for Him There's No Place Like Homer". People Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Tom Bodett of East Dummerston appointed to Governor's Energy Generation Siting Policy Commission". November 14, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Who is Tom Bodett?". Motel 6. Retrieved June 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Williams, Kimberly D. "Actually, you can get the light", Advertising Age 78, no. 35 (September 3, 2007): 8–8.
  5. ^ Jayne Clark. "This is a new recording: Souped-up wake-up calls", USA Today, December 30, 2005.
  6. ^ Stump, Julia, and Bette-Lee Fox. "Video reviews", Library Journal 122, no. 19 (November 15, 1997): 87.
  7. ^ Maughan, Shannon. "Bodett Brings Kids' Books to the Airwaves", Publishers Weekly 246, no. 51 (December 20, 1999): 29.
  8. ^

External links[edit]