Happy 95th birthday to Don Pardo

Don Pardo is one of the iconic voices of television and today is his 95th (gasp!) birthday.

According to his Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame bio, in December of 2004, after an incredible sixty years and six months of continuous employment as a staff announcer at NBC, Don Pardo informed the network that he was retiring.

“I was told after I quit that I had a lifetime contract if I wanted it,” he says. “I found out that only two people had ever had lifetime contracts — Bob Hope and me.”

And Pardo is still working. From Saturday Night Live’s 1975 debut to the present, Pardo has announced every season of the show but one. When Lorne Michaels first hired him, Pardo was already a thirty-year veteran having worked on numerous radio shows and a long list of game shows, including the original versions of The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!

Pardo was born in Westfield, Massachusetts and grew up primarily in Norwich, Connecticut. After graduating high school, he moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he honed his speech and diction at Boston’s Emerson College, and acted in local theater groups.

In 1944, as a 26-year old, Pardo started at NBC, still largely a radio company. But over the next several years, he made a smooth transition into the new medium of television.

An early highlight came in the summer of 1946, when he was assigned to announce portions of three baseball games — a Giants game at the Polo Grounds, a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium and a Dodgers game at Ebbets Field — for a New York City television audience that, at the time, was made up of about sixty TV sets.

Happy birthday, Don.

It always comes back to baseball.