The Voice Behind Saturday Night Live Fades to Silence

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Yes, the show will go on when Saturday Night Live begins another television season in September, but the voice of SNL has been silenced. 

Don Pardo, the man who opened Saturday Night Live in September 1975 and continued to announce the history-making show through all of its peaks and valleys, died Monday at the age of 96. 

Baby boomers knew Pardo long before he introduced John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Gilda Radneer on that first October 1975 broadcast. For years, Pardo was the main staff announcer on NBC, introducing the original Price Is Right and Jeopardy. And in November 1963, he was among the first to tell a national television audience about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The network was broadcasting a rerun of Bacheor Father, when Pardo broke into the broadcast to announce, "President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, 'Oh, no.'"

But it was in 1975 that producer Loren Michaels, looking to replace old reruns of the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson on Saturdays, first asked Pardo to step into the broadcast booth and introduce some unknown comics, then known as the Not Ready for Primetime Players.

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