Don Pardo, 'Saturday Night Live' Announcer, Dead at 96

Pardo's booming voice introduced generations of the show's cast, guests.

— -- Longtime announcer Don Pardo, the booming voice of “Saturday Night Live,” died Monday at 96, an NBC spokesman confirmed.

Pardo, born in 1918, joined NBC Radio in 1944. He gained the job after visiting 30 Rockefeller Plaza for a tour: He said “hello” to a supervisor, and that’s all it took, according to a 1994 NPR profile.

Pardo gained popularity for news coverage, including war updates and early reports about the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting of John F. Kennedy. Pardo made the successful switch to television, his baritone voice becoming omnipresent on game shows such as “Jeopardy!” and “The Price is Right.”

By 1975, NBC needed an announcer for a late-night sketch comedy show, "NBC's Saturday Night," later known as "Saturday Night Live." Pardo was selected, and he served in that role for all but one of the show’s seasons, introducing generations of the show’s cast and guests – from Chevy Chase and John Belushi to Gilda Radner and Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey and Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig.

And each week: “It’s Saturday Night Live!”

Pardo retired from NBC in 2004 but continued with “SNL,” which first aired in 1975, only missing a few weeks because of health problems such as a broken hip last year.

Pardo was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2010.