Prolific and long-lived broadcaster, best known for his work on "Jeopardy!
" and "Saturday Night Live
Fully named Dominick George Pardo (the middle name coming from his birthdate
), Don was born on February 22, 1918, in Westfield, Massachusetts
. Pardo started his broadcasting career in June 1944
as a newscaster and war
reporter for NBC
Radio. He continued working with the network after the end of the war, and would remain with NBC for the rest of his life. After doing some entertainment broadcasting for NBC (with soap opera
s and series such as 1950
's "The Magnificent Montague
"), he switched to television, earning his first big break as announcer for "The Price Is Right
" in 1956
. He continually made famous the "It can be yours...
" line and other phrases until the show was transferred to ABC
That year, Pardo earned a certain amount of fame by being the first to inform America of President Kennedy's assassination, at 1:32 PM on the 22nd of November. This period of time also saw him assist in announcing for early NBC game show hits, including the legendary "Concentration." He would also collaborate with "Wheel" host Bill Cullen later in his life with the shows "Eye Guess" and "Three On A Match."
But in 1964, Don Pardo began the role for which he is likely most famous for in the annals of TV trivia- "Jeopardy!" Opening each episode and listing the show's various sources and sponsors, Pardo worked and bantered alongside (figuratively) host Art Fleming until the series' end in 1975. He additionally spent the last years of the show's run working on the short-lived series "Winning Streak" and "Jackpot!"
Pardo's "Jeopardy!" role brought him into the semi-public spotlight once again in 1984, with up-and-coming parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic's single, "I Lost On Jeopardy." A parody of Greg Kihn's "Jeopardy," midway through the song Yankovic states that ("...Well, I'm givin' up/ Don Pardo/ Just tell me now what I didn't win, yeah, yeah..."), whereupon the actual Pardo proceeds to lambaste Weird Al for his trivial ineptitude. The music video for the song features a cameo appearance of Pardo reciting his lines, for those of you who wonder just what he actually looks like.
After starting a stint on "Wheel of Fortune," Pardo began work in his final great role, which he still continues to the time of this writeup: "Saturday Night Live!" He started introducing SNL in its first year of 1975 and has continued announcing for the late-night hit to this day, except for (thanks to caknuck for confirming on this) the 1981-1982 season. Yes, that's Don Pardo's rich voice reeling off the cast lineup every episode. Pardo has now been 'the voice of NBC' for nearly 60 years, and as far as I know has no plans to stop.
Pardo has also done voiceovers for various TV commercials, as well as for Frank Zappa's 1976 "Zappa In New York" album, and was an announcer for WNBC-TV's "Live at Five" from 1981 to 1988.
Don Pardo died in his sleep on August 18, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona at the age of 96. He remained the SNL announcer right up until his death. He was replaced by former SNL cast member Darrell Hammond.