When Saturday Night Live returns for its new season, it will have lost one of its most distinctive aspects. The show has cycled through dozens and dozens of cast members, but (with the exception of the 1981-82 season) there was always one voice to introduce them: Don Pardo. That voice is gone now. According to an NBC spokesman [via THR], Pardo passed away in his sleep yesterday.
Although Pardo made a rousing impact on Saturday Night Live, he left an indelible mark as an announcer through his entire career. He began to make a name for himself in the business as he worked as a game show announced for Winner Take All, Three on a Match, Call My Bluff, Jackpot, The Price is Right, and Jeopardy. Pardo was already a 31-year veteran at NBC when Lorne Michaels hired him to be the announcer for SNL. Pardo wanted to retire in 2004, but he was offered a lifetime contract. “I found out that only two people [at NBC] had ever had lifetime contracts,” Pardo said, “Bob Hope and me.” In 2010, Pardo became the first announcer to be inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. TV has truly lost an unforgettable voice and a legend of the industry. Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Pardo’s family and friends.