Happy Birthday, Don Pardo!

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If you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live then you’re already familiar with the work of Don Pardo, whose iconic voice has been belting out the names of cast members since the show premiered in 1975. But to celebrate his 93rd birthday (today), here are a few things you might not know about him.

1. He’s a Company Man

Therefore, as recently as SNL’s 2009-2010 season, Pardo had a weekly habit of flying from his home in Tucson to New York each Friday, performing in the live show on Saturday and flying back home the next day. At the start of the current season, Pardo began to record his SNL voiceovers from his home.

2. He Was the Bearer of Bad News

On Friday, November 22, 1963, Pardo was the first person at NBC to announce the shooting of President Kennedy. Breaking into the John Forsythe sitcom Bachelor Father, Pardo made the following announcement:

3. He’s A Trailblazer

Long before Johnny Gilbert was introducing Alex Trebek or Rod Roddy was asking a new contestant to come on down, Pardo was the original announcer for both The Price Is Right and Jeopardy! (That was back when questions in the Jeopardy! round ranged from $10 – $50). Because of his notable contributions to those shows, as well as SNL and NBC News, Pardo marked another first in 2009 — he became the first announcer inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

4. He Branches Out

While his career was mostly confined to announcing news and the names of TV stars, Pardo had one notable foray into the world of music — contributing his vocal stylings to the Frank Zappa song “I’m the Slime” during a December 1976 episode of SNL and on the album Zappa in New York.

5. He Makes Mistakes

Former Saturday Night Live cast member Jimmy Fallon once remarked that “nothing is like the moment when Don Pardo says your name.” That’s probably true, even if he doesn’t get your name right. That was the case on SNL’s first show on October 11, 1975, when Pardo mistakenly introduced the show’s fresh-faced cast as The Not for Ready Primetime Players, rather than The Not Ready for Primetime Players. But seeing as he’s been pretty solid in the 35-plus years since, we should probably let that one slide.

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February 22, 2011 - 5:33am
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