Don Pardo (1918–2014), Voice of Saturday Night Live, Suggests Using Short Words

Don Par­do voiced the intro­duc­tions of Sat­ur­day Night Live for 38 sea­sons. He began call­ing out the names of the S.N.L. cast mem­bers dur­ing the first episode in Octo­ber, 1975, and (except for the 1981–82 sea­son) he kept call­ing out those names straight through last May. Chevy Chase, Gil­da Rad­ner, John Belushi, Bill Mur­ray, Eddie Mur­phy, Tina Fey — he called them all. Thanks to an imper­son­ator, you can hear a com­pi­la­tion of Par­do’s call for every cast mem­ber.

Don Par­do died yes­ter­day at 96 years of age. Ear­li­er in his career, he was the announc­er for a num­ber of Amer­i­can TV shows, includ­ing The Price Is Right, Jack­pot, and Jeop­ardy!. But his voice became part of the fab­ric of Amer­i­ca’s great­est com­e­dy show, Sat­ur­day Night Live. And he con­tin­ued voic­ing the intro long after his for­mal retire­ment from NBC in 2004. Not lack­ing ener­gy (watch him blow out his can­dles on his 90th birth­day), Par­do flew from Tuc­son to New York week­ly to get S.N.L. start­ed. Above, we have a short video that fea­tures Par­do, then 88, show­ing off, his sheer lin­guis­tic awe­some­ness.

Some­how, I’m now hop­ing that when­ev­er my day comes, Don Par­do’s voice will intro­duce me on the oth­er side.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Stunt That Got Elvis Costel­lo Banned From Sat­ur­day Night Live

William S. Bur­roughs on Sat­ur­day Night Live, 1981

Lorne Michaels Intro­duces Sat­ur­day Night Live and Its Bril­liant First Cast for the Very First Time (1975)

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