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Don Pardo, 'Saturday Night Live' announcer, dies at 96

By Veronica Linares Contact the Author   |   Updated Aug. 19, 2014 at 9:16 AM
TUCSON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Longtime Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo died Monday night in his Tucson, Arizona home. He was 96.

Pardo began working with NBC Radio in 1944, switched to television in the 1950s and semi-retired in 2004. He announced SNL's title, host, musical guest and cast members after the opening "Live from New York...." for 37 of the show's 38 seasons. Before becoming the voice of the late night comedy show, Pardo voiced The Price is Right from 1956 until 1963. He also voiced other game shows including Jeopardy!, Winning Streak and Jackpot!.

While on announcement duty on November 22, 1963, Pardo was the first to announce to viewers watching NBC that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

The announcer is best known, however, for his role on SNL, even after his semi-retirement. Pardo is said to have flown to New York weekly for his announcement duties on the show. He was sometimes impersonated by cast members, including expert mimic Darrell Hammond, when he couldn't make it.

Pardo was noticeably absent from the March 2, 2013 episode, which he missed after breaking his hip. In addition to introducing the show, Pardo also did the voiceover for SNL's commercials and game shows. He was eventually honored with a sketch of his own called "Don Pardo: The First Fifty Years."

SNL producer Lorne Michaels told the New York Times the show would prepare a tribute to Pardo to air this season, its 40th.

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