Not many might recognise him on the street, but his voice just cannot be misplaced. Don Padro, owner of the iconic voice that announced, "Live from New York... It's Saturday Night," for 38 years, died in his sleep in Tucson, Arizona on 18 August.
Pardo's six-decade long career as a staff announcer at NBC in New York City began in 1994 as a war reporter during World War II and remained at the network his entire life.
During his illustrious career, he not only announced some popular radio shows such as "Front Page Farrell" and "Pepper Young's Family", he was also voice and soul of some of the most well-received television shows such as "Caesar's Hour", "The Kate Smith Evening Hour" and the original versions of "The Price is Right" and "Jeopardy!"
Moreover, President Kennedy's assassination was first delivered by Don Pardo in an NBC TV audio news bulletin on 22 November 1963.
His longest running career, where he literally introduced television viewers to some of America's biggest stars and most promising stars every week, on 11 October 1975, after about a decade with "Jeopardy!", when what was then called "NBC's Saturday Night," was launched.
The show was envisioned to be a live, 90-minute mix of comedy impertinent, unapologetic comedy and music. The show, which was renamed "Saturday Night Live" in 1977, became so much more; It is now considered a star-making success, a cult phenomenon.
As the show grew in popularity, so did Pardo's rich baritone. He even joined musical guest Frank Zappa in 1976 to recite part of the song "I'm the Slime", which led to Pardo providing the narration to two other Zappa songs.
Along with comedian Bob Hope, Pardo is one among the only two people to ever be awarded lifetime contracts with NBC.
A member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, Pardo retired as NBC staff announcer in 2004 and shifted base to Tuscon. However, on Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels' request, he continued to fly to New York to announce "Live From New York.." Michaels has said that he couldn't imagine the show without Pardo, LA Times reported.
"Every year the new cast couldn't wait to hear their name said by him," said Lorne Michaels, the show's creator, to New York Times.
Aidy Bryant one of the cast members of the current SNL ensamble tweeted, "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://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/nyregion/don-pardo-the-voice-of-saturday-night-live-dies-at-96.html?_r=0 ..."
During his speech after being inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2009, Pardo had announced his decision to retire from "Saturday Night Live", but later changed his mind. He had since been recording the announcements from his Arizona home.
When Padro missed two shows in 2013 as he broke his hip, "Saturday Night Live" star Darrell Hammond stepped in impersonating him.
Michaels told New York Times that SNL would definitely present a tribute to Pardo next season. "Whatever montage we did to open the show, whatever pictures we used it didn't really come alive till you heard him say it," Michaels said.
Many SNL cast members, alumni, hosts and fans have expressed their distress in Pardo's demise.
"Don Pardo said my name only 3 times but I guarantee those will be some of the first things I brag to my son about one day. RIPDonPardo," posted Tom Arnold, who has hosted Saturday Night Live thrice.
"Don Pardo thank you for saying my name twice. Dream come true. RIP LEGEND!" posted actress Christina Applegate.
Former SNL writer John Mulaney tweeted, "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."
Comedian and writer Kate Flannery posted, "RIP #DonPardo the legendary voice of #SNL He is Irreplaceable. Its the end if an era."
"Don Pardo, rest in peace. Saturday night will not be the same without you." posted Dylan.
Pardo is survived by his daughters, Paula, Dona and Katherine, and sons, David and Michael, as well as five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.