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Don Pardo, who served as the voice of Saturday Night Live for nearly four decades, died in his sleep on Monday at his home in Arizona, according to The Associated Press. He was 96.

Pardo's booming baritone is instantly recognizable as the voice that introduced cast members, hosts, and musical guests on the NBC sketch show. He was also the addressee in the catchphrase of the original, Art Fleming-hosted Jeopardy!— "Tell 'em what they've won, Don!"

Born Dominick Pardo in Westfield, Mass., he graduated from Emerson College in Boston and began doing voiceover work at WJAR in Providence, R.I. In 1944, Pardo moved to New York and began working at the local NBC affiliate, where he delivered news updates on the radio during World War II. He later worked as an announcer for shows, including The Colgate Comedy Hour, Winner Takes All, The Price is Right, and Jeopardy!.

Pardo was the first person to relay the news to NBC viewers that President John F. Kennedy had been shot on Nov. 22, 1963.

SNL debuted in 1975 with Pardo as its announcer, a role he retained every year with the exception of Season 7, from 1981 to 1982. During his SNL tenure, he also did voice work for NBC Nightly News, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and local news broadcasts on NBC's New York affiliate.


Pardo officially retired from NBC in 2004 and moved to Tucson, Ariz. But SNL producer Lorne Michaels convinced him to continue doing the show's voiceovers, so Pardo would commute from Tucson to the legendary Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center to announce the show. In 2008, Tina Fey and other cast members presented him with a cake during the show's closing credits to celebrate his 90th birthday.

In recent years, Pardo began recording only the show's intro, which he did from his home in Tucson.

Pardo also made cameos in several movies, including Woody Allen's Radio Days, and guest-starred on Fey's sitcom 30 Rock in 2009. He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 2010.

Pardo is survived by five children.


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AIRED ON 11/22/2014

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