Longtime Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo has passed away at the age of 96. He died of natural causes in Tucson, Arizona last night. His daughter, Dona Pardo, confirmed his death.
Don Pardo was born in Westfield, Massachusetts to Dominick, a bakery owner, and Viola. His parents were immigrants from Poland. He spent his childhood in Norwich, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Emerson College in 1942. He joined NBC as an in-house announcer in 1944, remaining on the network staff for 60 years.
He was best known for announcing Saturday Night Live, which he was a part of since its inception. His most famous quote is "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" Which has gone onto become the signature opening line of the show after the cold opening sketch.
During the show's first season, it was known simply as NBC's Night Live, due to the existence of an ABC show entitled Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. This is how the phrase received its wording. The phrase was kept intact even after ABC's SNL was canceled and NBC's Saturday Night adopted the SNL name for itself.
In that first season, Don Pardo would announce the show's title, then the names the cast members and musical guest in a voice-over during the opening montage. Don Pardo has introduced each season of the cast since 1975.
Saturday Night Live creator and producer Lorne Michaels once said.
""I can't imagine the show without him and as long as he's there, I stay young."
He was a 2010 Television Hall of Fame inductee and also lent his voice to numerous game shows including The Price Is Right, Jackpot and Jeopardy!. He is survived by his daughters, Paula, Dona and Katherine, and sons, David and Michael, along with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.