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The iconic voice of Saturday Night Live has passed away. News broke last night that Don Pardo, who worked as SNL's announcer since the show's debut in 1975, died in his home of Tucson, Arizona at the age of 96. Pardo's voice is synonymous with SNL's opening credit sequence, and Lorne Michaels told the New York Times that "every year the new cast couldn't wait to hear their name said by him." When asked what SNL will do without Pardo, Michaels said: "I don't know what I'll do. It won't be the first time I've thought of it, and I've never had an answer."
Earlier in his career Pardo also worked as the announcer for The Price Is Right, Jeopardy, Three on a Match, and NBC Nightly News, and he was the first announcer to be inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2010. He first joined NBC in 1944 and served as SNL's announcer for a total of 38 seasons, skipping only season 7 and several episodes last year. Michaels told the New York Times that SNL will prepare a tribute to Pardo to air sometime this season and looked back on working with the legendary announcer: "It was a happy accident and in some great way our lives intertwined. It was always exciting. Whatever montage we did to open the show, whatever pictures we used it didn't really come alive till you heard him say it."
Click here to watch a clip from Tina Fey's 2008 SNL episode in which Pardo blows out his 90th birthday candles on the 8H stage, then click through to read some present and former SNLers' tributes to Pardo on Twitter.
Our condolences to the family of Don Pardo. He was a legend & a gentleman whose voice will never be forgotten. We're lucky to have known him
— SNL Weekend Update (@SNLUpdate) August 19, 2014
So sad this day has come. We'
;ve lost not only a dear sweet man, but someone who was essential to SNL. RIP Don Pardo. pic.twitter.com/72HA5knIrG
— Laraine Newman (@larainenewman) August 19, 2014
RIP Don Pardo. A voice that meant so much. http://t.co/X4q9TeHVbO
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) August 19, 2014
St. Peter is probably keeping Don Pardo at the gates, making him say "Saint Peter" over and over.
— Alex Baze (@bazecraze) August 19, 2014
God bless Don Pardo's sweet and legendary voice and soul. He will be deeply missed.
— Paula Pell (@perlapell) August 19, 2014
When I was drowning in panic, completely lost+struggling… Don Pardo was very kind and gentle and quiet with me. Such a beautiful man. RIP
— Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) August 19, 2014
For most of my 22 SNL years, Pardo did the announce live from a booth under the seats, swinging his arms like a conductor & giving it life.
— Mike Shoemaker (@shoemakermike) August 19, 2014
Goodbye Don Pardo. You worked from World War II until this May. You were cool as hell. I'm very lucky I got to talk to you those few times.
— John Mulaney (@mulaney) August 19, 2014
Any SNL actor will tell u:the ultimate moment of your career was hearing Don Pardo say your name. Each week he represented a dream come true
— Rachel Dratch (@TheRealDratch) August 19, 2014
one of the greatest joys of my life was hearing don pardo call my name for the first time. this is a great article: http://t.co/h2ity6YpyF
— Aidy Bryant (@aidybryant) August 19, 2014
On Sept 13th 2008 I heard Don Pardo say my name for the first time. I cried until the 16th. Thanks Don. I owe you a coffee.
— Bobby Moynihan (@bibbymoynihan) August 19, 2014