Don Pardo, who introduced Saturday Night Live for nearly 40 years died today. He was 96. Pardo was NBC’s staff announcer for more than 60 years. On the original version of Jeopardy!, host Art Fleming would start the show with “Thank you, Don Pardo” and tease winners with, “Don Pardo, tell him what he’s won!” He began his career at NBC Radio as a war reporter during World War II and remained at the network his entire life. He is most famous for delivering the iconic line “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” before listing the night’s host and guests. A member of the TV Academy Hall of Fame, he and Bob Hope were the only people ever awarded a lifetime contract at NBC. He finally retired from NBC in 2004 and considered retiring from SNL too, but show creator Lorne Michaels successfully kept him on the show until last season’s finale. For the last decade, he recorded the guest host and band’s names in his Florida home. In a recent interview, Michaels was asked about Pardo’s longevity on the show.
“My lighting director, Phil Hyms is 91, and he’s out there every night for the warm-up, and he’s not lost a step. So, maybe there’s something healthy in the studio. I don’t think it’s Shangri-La, but maybe there’s something.”